New rules will help tame errant golfers

By Vincent Wang'ombe: Friday, December 7th 2018 at 09:10 GMT +3 | Golf

The spirit of the etiquette of the game of golf is encapsulated in the word “respect”.

Respect for the Rules of Golf; one must know and play by the Rules.

Respect for fellow golfers; one must not act in a way that will distract others.

Respect for the course; one must take care of the course and leave it in a way that they would like to find it.

There is a story told at Limuru Country Club of the late James Kanyotu, who while playing a round of golf, had the misfortune of falling off the front edge of the 12th tee-box in an attempt to pick up his tee-peg after a tee shot.

While the drop from the front edge of the 12th tee box is probably three to four meters from top to bottom, he may as well have been falling from the top of Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

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His horrified playing partners ran down the gentle slope on the side of the tee-box only to find their friend walking with a spring in his step, holding up the tee peg, without a care in the world like absolutely nothing had happened.

“What!”, asked Kanyotu when he saw the surprise on his friend’s faces.

“GSU training... it never leaves you… Just tuck and roll!”.

The story serves to illustrate the age-old principle that those that learn to roll with the punches have more chances of success when playing a round of golf.

The golfers who are drawn to play at the grand finale of Standard County Classic at Limuru Country Club tomorrow will need to bear this in mind.

The golf course, which is currently in very good shape, “a slice of heaven” as some have referred to it, has some of the worst rough in the country.

Should a golfer find his shot encumbered by the tall grass or trees in the rough, they should learn from the late Kanyotu; just find the safest way out of the situation.

One of the attractions of the game of golf, I have found, is being out in the great outdoors.

The full enjoyment of the game can be marred by being in the company of golfers with poor etiquette.

One bad habit that golf committees in various clubs have tried to stop is the use of phones while on the course.

Apart from slowing down play, it can be a great distraction to fellow golfers.

A few clubs have erroneously put a ban on the use of phones on the course as a Local Rule.

This ban is erroneous because it has never been one of the allowable Local Rules.

With the new Rules of Golf that take effect in January 2019, a club will be allowed to set a Code of Conduct Policy that can be adopted as a Local Rule.

The Code of Conduct can cover the use of mobile phones, failure to care for the course, dress code, disrespect and other transgressions that can hinder the full enjoyment of the game by fellow golfers.

After the club’s committee has set their code of conduct, they can then set the sanctions aimed at deterring such practices.

With the new Rules of Golf coming into effect at the beginning of January, club committees will need to meet and update their Local Rules to conform the new dispensation.

Some of the current Local Rules will be rendered obsolete and must be removed from the cards come 2019.

While at it, it will be worth the committee’s time to come up with a Code of Conduct.