Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rules of golf workshop – day one

Yesterday was the beginning of the PGA/USGA Workshop n the Rules of Golf. The PGA and USGA have been conducting these workshops since 1975 so you can imagine that they are pretty good at it. Of course, a good workshop or seminar depends on the instructor and the mechanics of presentation – primarily on the instructor. And when it comes to the instructor it comes down to two factors: how well does he/she know the material and what is the quality of the presentation. Our lecturers are Jeff Hall of the USGA and Larry Startzel of the PGA. Quite frankly, they get an A on both counts. The sessions are lively and both of these gentlemen have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Rules of Golf. Hall is the Director of Rules and Competition Standards for the USGA and Startzel is the chief rules official for the PGA.

There are approximately 150 attendees, the largest number ever for any workshop. They have come from virtually very part of the country - New York, Alaska, Minnesota, and several other states of the Midwest. Their positions within the world of golf are as varied as the architecture of golf courses – club professionals, state golf association members and the like. At least twenty have attended ten or more of these rules laboratories. Yes, you read that correctly; they are in double digits on attendance. Rules junkies! But if you're running a golf tournament of sitting in your office as a club professional, you will be bombarded with questions on the rules. It's the nature of the job and you had better be prepared.

The format is quite simple – you go through The Rules of Golf with assistance from the Decision Book and learn the meaning of each and every rule. Tedious – of course, necessary – most definitely. There are a few classroom rules: no talking; no questions until question time (and you're allowed just three questions per day); don't ask what you already know; and, try not to bother the instructors during break time. No one really keeps count of questions and Jeff and Larry while answer any question during break.

Going through the Rules one-by-one may seem a bit unimaginative or uncreative, but, frankly, there is no other way to do it. That's they way you would have to look them up in the book, so it's way to learn them. With that said, the method is not chronological order and then the Appendices. While the order of the rules has been carefully thought out, the rules require constant cross referencing. In application here's the order it went yesterday: the Definitions, Rule 1, 2, 3, 9, 34, 4, 5, 6, 33, 7. If you spend just a few minutes examining these rules, you will understand the logic behind the sequence.

More tomorrow on Day Two.


Barry Rhodes said...


I would like to send you a review copy of my book, '999 Questions on the Rules of Golf'. Could you please email me with your address (

You might also be interested in checking out my blog on the Rules at



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