For as long as I can remember playing the game golf has always had the undertones of being a stuffy, old man’s game that is difficult, and every rule in the book must be adhered to, to the letter!! As I take a step back and look at the game from a far, I can see why sometimes it has that appearance. Although at the highest level the rules make the game playable and challenging, it can also make it complicated and intimidating for beginner golfers. Walking back to the tee to hit another ball after losing it from the tee, or struggling to get out of those pesky bunkers can add a severe amount of unnecessary time to your typical round of golf, and let’s face it 4 hours is long enough to be away from normal life! So why does everyone need to stick to the same rules of golf, when so many people who are starting the game only want to get out on the golf course and enjoy hitting the ball around the course with some friends.
With that in mind my suggestion is to make up your own version of modified rules based on your level of play. During a playing lesson with a group of ladies the other day we made our own rules up, simple changes to the rules that make the game easier, faster and more enjoyable! The rule changes were as follows:
- Each person has 3 mulligans they can use from the tee
- If the ball ends up in the desert (we are in Dubai so elsewhere in the world you can think long rough or trees) you can simply bring the ball back onto the grass
- If you hit the ball in a bunker, try once to get the ball out and if you do not succeed you get to throw the ball out as close to the flag as you like, but counting the throw as one shot.
- All putts inside 1 club length are gimmes
The playing lesson turned out to be a huge hit with the ladies. They felt like there was less pressure on them throughout the round, it was fast moving throughout and we managed to get around 9 holes in an hour and forty minutes. These simple rule amendments make the game far more enjoyable for beginner golfers and should be encouraged by more established golfers rather than discouraged. So next time you are out with some friends, or even if you are an advanced golfer introducing a friend to the game, try some of the above rules or even make up your own, but try to give them a chance to play the game and an opportunity to fall in love with the sport like we all have.