Who Plays By The Rules

I have never played in a casual golf game where all players played by the rules. I play with different groups during the week and here are my observations. A mulligan off the first tee only if needed A mulligan used any where if not used on the first tee Rolling the ball anywhere Rolling the ball if it lands in a divot Moving a ball off of tree roots or rocks but not improving the ball position Not putting out if the ball is inside the leather Not putting out when playing as a team and your putt will not help the team score Hitting a ball out of bounds and throwing a ball down in bounds in the area and taking a one stroke penalty Loosing a ball and throwing down another ball in the general area and in the summer take a one stroke penalty or if it's winter take none as the "leaf rule" is invoked. Picking up on a hole when you are having a golf meltdown Loosing a ball, throw down another and strike it, then find original ball and play it with no penalty Hit a ball out of bounds from the tee box and not re-tee another ball but go to the general area of where the tee ball went out of bounds and play from there with a one stroke penalty Give advice to another player on what club to use Hitting a ball in a water hazard and not taking the right line of where the ball entered the hazard in regard to the pin The list goes on but I see the above situations play out every week. Does it bother me ? No. In my opinion there are two kinds of golf. Casual golf and tournament golf. The two mix like oil and water. Does anyone who plays this great game honestly play by the book every time they tee it up ?

Depends upon what's at stake: money, friendship, pride? If I let you kick a ball back in bounds, then I expect you to let me do the same. It will be our dirty little secret which will make us closer friends. If you are playing to take my money, then no, and you can take that ball and (expletive expletive expletive)

Beside, if everyone played by the book every time, then slow play will become worse than it already is. 

In a word : YOU...What I mean is when we play, all You can do is play your game... I know some dont like to here it but honestly there are three types of golf.... 1: Tournament golf 2: Serious golf with buddies and strangers 3 : whatever golf I live in Vegas so trust me when I tell you that if you can keep your head when you play a round with a group of guys in town for a good time , it only makes you better come tournament time...Carl embrace the challenge of playing by the rules when everyone else is taking liberties......MADGOLFER

Carl,

I used to play the same way until I started playing competitive golf. Playing thy way makes golf a lot more fun

Agree that casual is a different animal. Some of the deviations can be attributed to pace of play, like playing all shots OOB as lateral hazards and only taking the stroke penalty. Moving the ball from a rock field or tree root just spares equipment. I don't think conceding putts is against the rules, but does help pace of play. So long as everyone agrees to the rules and the score is not used for handicap calculation, have a good time. My wife is now playing her first full year. She knows she isn't competitive but she gets do-overs to enjoy the game while learning.
When posting scores for handicap purposes, I will play USGA rules except for the following: 1. Lift, clean and place in my own fairway/closely mown areas. 2. If I hit a really bad shot in play and there is nobody behind me, I will hit a second ball from the same spot. I pick up the second ball then finish and score the original ball. The golf league I am in is governed by USGA match play rules with the following exceptions: 1. Ball lost in the woods/bushes/tall fescue (not O.B.) play as lateral water hazard. 2. Lost ball (in play but not found) we apply a "neighborhood rule" where we think the ball ended up, take a drop and one stroke penalty. League modifications were made as a means to speed up play. -Tom
I couldn't agree more, all the guys I play rounds with take certain liberties with the rules of golf. I'm not going to risk damaging a club or injuring myself because of a tree root or rock. We all play best ball tournaments, in those who places their ball in the exact spot where the best ball landed (no one). If I had a trainer, sports psych, equipt trailer and 20 sponsors following me to the golf course each week. If I was allowed the pleasure of playing on pool table fairways and greens I would be more diligent with the rules. As is we have to play behind thoughtless want a be pro's who leave divots in the fairways without filling them in or walk off greens without doing anything for ball marks or shoe scuffs. Playing 4 hour rounds, losing $3.00 balls is penalty enough. I'll take my drop and play on unless in a tournament. You don't even want to get me started on those guys playing a 5 some who think they have to plumb bob every putt and make a slow game even slower. The PGA has been hammering us for two years to speed up play at our level. They want us to play forward tees, play ready golf and the list goes on. Come on people pick up the place and move on the game will still be just as fun, so far the golf Gods of old Scotland haven't stuck me dead yet for my transgressions.
I can never understand why players make up their own rules to suit their game, they are only fooling themselves in thinking that they are better than they really are. " The Beast "

You're correct, there are two kinds of golf.  Not that casual golf can't be competitive, but it is usually played to just have a good time.  Typically, we play by the rules of golf plus whatever local rules are enforced.  On our Monday vagabond trips, we do allow you to rake and re-drop your ball in a trap, IF the ball landed in someone's unraked footprints or shot.  Fried egg - too bad, but if your lying in a hole because someone else was inconsiderate, we feel you shouldn't be penalized.

Sunday league rounds though, strict rules of golf plus local rules.

When I play I play by the rules

The group I play with always has something on the line.  So we play by the rules of golf.  Play it down and putt it out.  That is the only way to truly set a valid handicap.

TT

I started this topic more out of curiosity than anything. The main group I play with a couple of times a week, we play for a small sum of money and more for pride than anything. We do take a mulligan on the first tee only if needed. We play the ball down and play by the rules of golf with the following exception of moving a ball sitting on a tree root or rocks. When in this position we do not improve the position e.g., on a root behind a tree, you move the ball off of the root but still have the tree blocking your forward progress, etc. Other than the above mentioned we play by the rules of golf. This is a case of when in Rome do as the Romans. The other group I play with is at a public muni and there is no money on the line and this group does everything I mentioned at introduction topic and more. I still play as in the first scenario and have no issues doing it. My point is I would say that 90% of golfers that play this game do not play strictly by the rules. The Team Titleist members who have responded so far proves this point. We all hate slow play and we do bend rules on occasion to keep ahead of that group behind us. We all hate that some person left his foot prints in a bunker, did not use a rake and our ball is sitting down in his heel mark. We all play for fun and to say to those that you play strictly by the rules, I give you two thumbs up. But really, those that play strictly by the rules, when you loose a ball do you really go all the way back to the last spot you hit that ball from and hit another ball as the foursome behind you wonders what the heck you are doing ? 

T.Tiger

The group I play with always has something on the line.  So we play by the rules of golf.  Play it down and putt it out.  That is the only way to truly set a valid handicap.

TT

Just curious but on situations where there is a rule controversy, how do you proceed ? Have you ever been in a situation where one of your group should be disqualified for a rule violation but that player continued to play ? My point is that when one is playing casual golf whether money is involved or not most players I know "bend" the rules at one time or another for the sake of speeding up the game or not creating a scene on the golf course.

Personally, I believe you should play by the USGA rules when you are playing the game, tournament or not, because all of these rounds go into your handicap calculation.  When taking liberties on the course, you are only cheating yourself.  If you improve your lier, are given putts, etc., how will you be able to execute these shots when it matters?

Regarding slow play, I do not believe playing by the rules hinders fast play at all.  If you think there is a chance a ball may be lost or out of bounds, simply hit a provisional shot from where you made your original shot before you leave to look for the original ball.  I can play as fast as anybody wants to play and playing by the rules does not damper that ability.

Mike I see your side of the problem, and I must admit I too are sometimes on the fence about this. I don't play tournaments that require a handicap, in fact in 10 years of playing I've never registered a handicap. I practice bad lies on the range and work on perfect lies too. I think an argument can be made on this matter for either way. As for slow play, I'll give you an example three weeks ago on a Friday I played alone and Tee Time of 1:30, at 6:30 I was walking off the #9 green. Five hours for a half a round. NO one offered to let me play through and everyone of the players in front of me played out the hole til the end I watched as they looked for balls, read greens and putted out even the shortest putts. If you think looking for a ball and failing to find then walking back to the tee for a second shot is not going to hold up play then I guess I'm missing something.