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New Golf Rules! Esp 10.2b(4)!! If it wasn’t an ass, the law was made to look a bit of a lame donkey in a sport of thoroughbreds.

Some of my golfing heroes are not happy. Justin Thomas, Eddie Pepperell, Richie Ramsay, not happy at all. At least not according to their twitter feeds, where it is clear they are all up in arms about the penalties handed out to a couple of their fellow professionals for getting their caddies to line up shots.

Li Haotong left Dubai E100k lighter as a result of the 2-shot hit he took for the split second his trusty bagman lingered behind him to offer a second opinion on his final putt. Then, Denny McCarthy had 2 strokes added to his total after his caddie took a rear view of his practice swings for a shot to the 15th green in Phoenix.

Both were cruelly marginal calls. The precise letter of the new laws may have given the Tour police just about enough licence to hand out tickets but they were the kind of judgments a good barrister would have appealed with relish.

If it wasn’t an ass, the law was made to look a bit of a lame donkey in a sport of thoroughbreds.

So why was I not as outraged by these decisions as so many golfers on social media? Why did my eyes begin to glaze over when I started to read the small print of Rule 10.2b(4)? Maybe McCarthy fell asleep halfway through the rules briefing too.

The difference between Li, McCarthy and me – well, one of the differences – is that if anyone stands behind me from the very moment I first take a club out of the bag, I brusquely invite them to retake their stance in a neighbouring county.

Caddies and I have an uneasy relationship at best. Funnily enough, they always cost me quite a bit of money too. In fees! The returns on my investment in places as far apart as Thailand, South Africa and St Andrews have been mixed. I usually end up blaming them more than praising them. I prefer to misread my putts alone.

In both of the headline cases of the last few days, the caddies’ contributions to the incidents appear to me to have slowed their men down more than anything. At my level of the game, pace of play is the real stuff of Twitter rants.

I can think of no other sport in which the participants stick to the rules anything like as strictly as golfers. And yet the professional players that I admire so much for their skill and power are the first ones to push the spirit of the rules to the limits.

When Brooks Koepka’s ball briefly lost its way around a Saudi desert last week, he felt entitled to recruit half-a-dozen passers-by to move a boulder the size of Fred Flintstone’s house rather than take a penalty drop.

The rules didn’t say the boulder was a loose impediment, but they didn’t say it wasn’t. So Koepka stopped the tournament to get his odd job men in to test its looseness.

It turned out to be even looser than Tiger Woods’ even bigger boulder in Phoenix all those years ago. That one was so large it was visible from space. They had to evacuate tourists taking photographs from the summit before an army of fans managed to move the inconvenient obstruction to his next million.

It took forever.

Guys, the planet is a loose impediment in the universal scheme of things but you can’t move it just because you’ve hit a duck hook.

There is a wall of timber sleepers protecting the front of the 16th green at our club. It has been sturdily constructed to force an aerial approach shot but if a crack team of building workers began to wrap their Samson hands around the wooden stakes, I feel sure they could loosen them sufficiently to clear my way to play a bump and run next time I’m stymied.

I’m just not sure that the old boys I roll up with would be happy to wait for John Paramor to buggy out from wherever he happens to be to make a ruling in my favour.

The essence of the new revisions has been to simplify and speed up play. They have removed a number of nonsenses. No more need for David Attenborough to be summoned to identify the scrapings of a burrowing animal, no more Red Indian trackers required to distinguish footprints from ball marks. Once everybody has finished debating the Brexit-like complexity of whether or not to leave the flag in, we can all get round in the time it takes Bryson DeChambeau to work out if the Moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter is aligned with Uranus.

Ah Bryson! I’m sorry but he would get a hefty kick up that very planet if he started measuring air density and trajectory in our Sunday morning meeting of minds. No grip it and rip it for him. DeChambeau selects it, then checks it, then inspects it, then dissects it, then reflects it, then projects it, then corrects it, then perfects it, then and only then connects with it.

He has tried to justify his endless scientific theorising by pointing out that he earns his living on the golf course. My taxi driver earns his living on the road but I wouldn’t take too kindly to him delaying my commute to the station in order to assess tarmac texture on tyre tread every time the lights turn green.

Factor a few fines into Bryson’s calculations and see if he still does the math quite so conscientiously.

Li seems to be as good a man as he is a player. He took his punishment without complaint and has come back stronger. McCarthy has pretty much admitted that he didn’t read the T’s and C’s carefully enough. As golfers we are constantly humbled by this glorious game and that humility appears to exist in the respect the best players show to the vagaries of the rules.

Sergio Garcia got a red card this weekend but golf doesn’t need sin bins just yet.

The only request I would make to Bryson and co on behalf of those of us that don’t earn our livings from golf is to respect the reasons for the rules as readily as the text. I’m no longer of an impressionable age but I do try to watch and learn from the best. The pros not only set the bar, they set the standards and the example.

Unfortunately, they set the pace for some weekend hackers too.

Li and McCarthy may have been nabbed on technicalities but the whole idea behind the R and A reforms is to cut down on the stoppages and get on with the golfing. There are always some early casualty scapegoats when rules are revised. It’s a price worth paying for speedier, simpler golf.

Has Scotty Cameron met its nemesis in Bettinardi?

 Molinari crowned Europe’s top golfer and win number 10 comes at the LPGA’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship –

According to its founder, the premium Bettinardi putter brand has been taken to a new level this year – thanks to a record collection of wins on the European, PGA, and LPGA Tours.

Robert Bettinardi, the master craftsman of putters, has overseen a total of 10 victories this season, plus numerous top-10 finishes across four elite professional Tours, earning its brand ambassadors more than $15million in prize money.

No player benefitted more from his Bettinardi putter than Francesco Molinari, winner of the Claret Jug in July who capped off his record year yesterday after being crowned Europe’s No.1 player at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. The Italian’s success was backed up by standout performances from another new signing for 2018, China’s top ranked player Haotong Li, plus long-term brand ambassadors Matt Kuchar and Fred Couples.

“The investment we made in Tour players at the start of the year has been validated with Bettinardi being the putter brand on everybody’s lips,” said Robert, who founded the brand nearly 20 years ago. “We sat down as a team around this time last year and said we really wanted to make an impact on all Tours and we couldn’t have wished for a better outcome.

“We work incredibly closely with our Tour department to ensure that our players have the best putter to suit their game week in, week out. We invited Francesco to our factory just outside of Chicago following his Open Championship victory as we wanted to show our appreciation to him and what it means to have him as a brand ambassador. We’re delighted that he secured the Race to Dubai title, as he’s been the best player on the European Tour this year and made an important breakthrough in the States too,” he added.

Using a custom DASS BBZero model, Francesco won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May and shortly after claimed his first PGA Tour victory at the Quicken Loans National in June, before his first Major title at Carnoustie. The glory didn’t stop there though for the World Number Six as the Italian became the first-ever player to win five-out-of-five matches at the Ryder Cup in September.

Win number ten for the brand came this weekend at the LPGA’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship using a Tour Dept.Queen B #6 with a special PVD finish and triple sight line.

The eye-catching Queen B #6 putter is back in the Bettinardi line-up for 2019. For the player seeking an elegant crossover between a blade and mallet, the QB6 features soft carbon steel head features a high toe topline, wide body and flange, plus a newly crafted offset shaft for ideal balance and superior visualisation at address.

Kuchar was back in the winner’s circle recently by claiming the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico, using the ever-reliable ArmLock method (Tour Dept. DASS KM-Model) created with Robert in 2011. Haotong Li has also recorded his best-ever season that’s seen him jump into the world’s top-40 for the first time. Using a custom Studio Stock 3 Tour Edition putter, he won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in January, before switching to his custom Tour Soft Carbon BBZero and registering four top-10 finishes in his last six starts to end 9th in the Race to Dubai rankings.

Other Bettinardi victories on the European Tour this year included the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in February, with the same player and his Studio Stock #8 putter also winning the British Masters in October. Two more victories have come on the Mackenzie Tour (PGA Canadian Tour).

Since the brand was established in 1998, Bettinardi putters have secured more than 80 victories around the world across all professional Tours.

For more information on the Bettinardi 2019 putters and wedges visit www.bettinardi.com.

 

Golf Monthly Blog: Golf Millenials

Why Mothers of Millennials Are The Key To Getting Youngsters Into Golf

 

Golf is guilty of contributing to the plastic bottle moutain

I hope many of you are as shocked as me at the global crisis of plastic poulltion and the damage plastic is doing to the environment.   Only last night I was watching a documentary about the Volvo Ocean Race research that chilled me: microplastic particles have been found even in the Southern Ocean close to the Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone. This made me think back to how many plastic bottles we golfers consume. On a holiday to Belek in Antalya last year I was horrified to see pallet upon pallet of plastic bottles stored up ready to hand out to us golfers. It seems to be the norm in golf, with no one really making a stand! We should be able to be creative and think of ways we can get our water without having new water bottles for every round. Maybe instead our club shops should sell Keep Bottles and have a filtered water station instead of offering bottled water for sale? If you want water and haven’t brought your own, you have to buy a Keep Bottle and fill it up.  Rather like plastic bags and supermarkets…once you know you can’t get them you (eventually) remember to always bring your own!

With this theme in mind,  I hail the news from Sentosa Golf Club which reached me yesterday. It will be taking the lead and moving away from bottled water – see full story below:

SENTOSA GOLF CLUB LOSES ITS BOTTLE AND STRENGTHENS COMMITMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT

Singapore’s leading venue Keeps it Green by installing a number of drinks stations in move away from plastic water bottles on course

Sentosa Island, Singapore, Tuesday 26th June 2018: Sentosa Golf Club is reaffirming its commitment to the environment and its ‘Keep it Green’ agenda by announcing that it will no longer permit the use of plastic water bottles on its golf carts, instead favouring the installation of a number of water stations (see photo above) on course.

The reduction of its plastic footprint, which is expected to equate to 150,000 water bottles each year, is a continuation of the world Top 100 club’s pioneering efforts to drive environmental awareness and build upon already established eco-friendly agronomic and operational practices.

“Every little helps,” commented Andy Johnston, General Manager and Director of Agronomy. “We are continually monitoring every aspect of our agronomy programs and operations to ensure we are doing all we can to work in harmony with the environment. The decision to remove all plastic bottles from golf carts will allow us to considerably reduce our plastic usage and take another positive step in demonstrating what is possible if golf clubs commit to simple measures.”

Sentosa’s agronomic practice has long been considered at the forefront of the golf industry. Continual efforts have been made in developing the most sustainable methodologies and maintenance programmes, demonstrated best in the reconstruction of the New Tanjong course.

Over the course of an extensive redesign, Sentosa took a number of steps to reduce the environmental impact, including the creation of a temporary nursery to facilitate the relocation and replanting of more than 260 palm trees, the installation of six reservoirs-cum-water features to ensure self-sufficient irrigation and the re-use of concrete from old cart paths as the basis of all new paths.

“The future of the golf industry requires clubs, owners and managers to understand more about what can be done to neutralise and enhance the environment,” continued Johnston. “I hope that Sentosa serves as inspiration in this respect as we continue to find new ways to benefit the environment. From taking food wastage and working it back into the ecosystem to introducing bees into the community, there is a long list of small changes we are implementing and we hope other clubs can make that, when combined, can have a lasting and sustainable impact.”

Sentosa introduced its ‘Keep it Green’ campaign at the SMBC Singapore Open, where stars of world golf voiced their praise of Sentosa’s approach to sustainability. Further activity at the inaugural Women’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and the LPGA Tour’s HSBC Women’s Champions provided opportunities for the club to promote its practice to a global audience and campaign messaging has so far been viewed by over 500,000 golfers.

The golf club is home to the renowned Serapong Course and the New Tanjong Course, and will host the 10th Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in October 2018; the culmination of a landmark year of major events.

Sentosa Golf Club lies at the heart of the Singapore golf and leisure community. Located on the famed Sentosa Island, which attracts millions of visitors each year, the club is home to the R&A’s Asia Pacific office and is the Official Headquarters of the Asian Tour.

For more information on Sentosa Golf Club, visit www.sentosagolf.com

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