1. Signing the Scorecard
After every round of every tournament, golfers are expected and required to head to the clubhouse, where they’ll finish the tournament by signing the scorecard. Here’s the catch: if you don’t sign the scorecard, you’re disqualified from the tournament! Nobody learned this lesson quite as hard as Doug Sanders, in 1966. Sanders was at the Pensacola Open, and had earned himself a four shot lead, after the second round. After the round, however, Sanders forgot to sign the scorecard and was disqualified from the tournament. Poor guy.
2. No Women at Augusta National
Arguably the most well known golf course in the United States, Augusta National Golf Club, won’t allow women to be members of the club. Seriously. Obtaining membership at Augusta has never been an easy task. In order to become a member, you have to be nominated by a current member. Augusta didn’t even let in African-American members until 1990.
3. World War II
The rulemakers really had golf figured out, during World War 2. There were some crazy rules, at the time, that aren’t in the game, anymore. Our favorite, though, was the rule that made golfers tee the ball within a club length of the hole. It appears that the greens, in World War 2, also served as the tee box for the course’s next hole. Yeah, we don’t get it, either.
4. USGA Certified Golf Balls
The USGA has to certify and stamp every single golf ball that could be used, by every golfer in every tournament. If your golf balls aren’t certified by the USGA, you guessed it: disqualification. Greg Norman learned this all too well. The Shark was disqualified from the ‘96 Cannon Greater Hartford Open, because he didn’t have the USGA stamp and certify his golf balls. It didn’t matter that he was the co-leader after the first round, Norman was booted from the tournament.
5. Building a Stance
According to PGA rule 13-2, golfers aren’t allowed to “build a stance”. For example, you couldn’t grab a 2X4 and stand on it, in order to hit your shot. Craig Stadler would have liked to know that, prior to the 1987 San Diego Open. Stadler’s ball lied in such a spot, that he had to kneel down in order to hit it. In an attempt to keep his slacks clean, Stadler kneeled down on a towel. The Walrus was DQ’d for “building a stance”. Because, ya know, kneeling on a towel helps you strike the ball so much better than if you were kneeling on the ground. This kid could probably use something to help him build his stance, though.
6. No Talking
This is an unwritten rule, but I still think it’s very strange. Golfers get very upset if you speak, cough, sneeze, blink or do anything that could possibly make the smallest noise. The way I see it, if a football kicker is expected to make a field goal with the game on the line, and 80,000 people screaming for his head and talking smack on his mama, there is no reason why a golfer can’t tee-off on the 3rd hole, with a few people clapping. I realize that it’s the gentleman’s game, but wouldn’t it be more fun and entertaining to see a crowd that’s able to cheer whenever they want?
7. Unlimited Clubs
This rule was done away with in 1939. Prior to then, you could carry as many clubs as you wanted onto a golf course. Caddies across the globe thank the maker of this rule.
8. Masters Caddies
I realize that I’m picking on Augusta and the Masters, but it’s a great place with crazy rules. Every caddy at Augusta has to wear a white jumpsuit. Why? Nobody knows. There doesn’t seem to be a purpose to it, but a rule’s a rule, right?
9. Cleaning Your Ball
Did you know that you can’t clean your golf ball on the grass? If you do that, you’re considered to be breaking rule 7-2, which claims that you’d be testing the surface. Don’t get it? You’re not the only one.
10. Hitting Another Ball
If your ball strikes another ball that’s on the green, you are forced to take a two stroke penalty. Even if you weren’t aiming for it and had no intent to hit the other ball, you have to take the penalty. Hit another ball, and this is what happens.
Golf is an awesome sport. It helps relax your mind, exercise the body and entertain you. Take time to learn the laws of the sport and you won’t be surprised by any strange rules. Practice hard, make sure to find the best discount golf tee times (those fees can pile up) and have fun!