Sunday, January 24, 2010

Impressions of a golf rules workshop

If you have read a couple of the past entries, you know that we attended a PGA/USGA Rules Workshop last weekend in Scottsdale. We thought we would pass along a few of our impressions.

It was intensive. The workshop consisted of three eight-hours days totally immersed in the Rules of Golf and the Decisions. (There was a fourth day which consisted of an optional test.) Word-by-word we were guided through each of the 34 rules and a multitude of applicable decisions. Each rule was dissected and explained. There were slides and videos to aid in the explanation and understanding of certain rule situations. As you can imagine there was no time to let your focus wander.

The plan of attack on dissecting the rules was simple – rule by rule, word by word. However, it was not Rule 1 through 34 in chronological order. Rather, there was a fair amount of jumping around to accommodate the learning sequence. The next time you decide to study the rule book cover to cover, try this sequence Definitions, 1-3, 9 34, 4-6, 33, 7, 8, 20, 10-19, 21-32.

If you think you have a good working knowledge of the rules, think again! Those who were attending one of these sessions for the first time (about 40) quickly discovered that our knowledge was actually rudimentary. There is always something to learn about the rules. The majority of the attendees were there for a repeat performance.

There was one overriding point that the instructors tried to drive home: It’s all about the Definitions, stupid. Everything in the rules is predicated on the Definitions. If you do not know the Definitions, you will never be able to make a proper judgment.

What did we learn? Well, here’s our take. We are certain we learned a lot, we’re just not sure how much we know – yet. One skill we did enhance was the ability to manipulate in, around and through the Rules Book and the Decisions. Even if you don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules, you can still get to a proper conclusion for any situation if you know you way around the Rules Book.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on the rules.


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Bob said...

I am a recreational golfer but I really would like to learn more about the rules. Would you recommend that I attend one of the 3-day seminars? What level of expertise do I need before I attend the seminar?