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Amen corner: These fixes should make you a happy golfer

  • The author is a much happier camper now that he can ground his club while in the hazard on the left side of first fairway at JP Larkin Golf Course in Windsor. (Courtesy photograph)

Special to the Valley News
Published: 5/8/2019 7:39:34 PM
Modified: 5/8/2019 7:39:26 PM

Do you play by the rules? Knowing the new changes to the rules of golf can help you save strokes and save time on the golf course. And they may, just may, lessen the frustration if you think a rules infraction took place.

Last week, we talked about the flagstick and how we are now allowed to keep it in while putting. It’s just as likely to help as hurt us, plus it saves time.

Other rules changes that you need to know and can help us out big time, are:

■ You are now allowed to touch the ground behind the ball — as well as touch and remove sticks and rocks and turtles and whatever you might find behind or around your ball — in a water hazard. This is great, as the same rules now apply as in the fairways or rough. Go ahead take practice swings and move stuff; just don’t touch or move the ball.

■ You can also remove loose impediments in a sand trap now, but a major difference from the water hazard is you still cannot touch the sand with your club.

Two rules that broke hearts and took major championship chances away from professional golfers are there is no penalty for a double hit or if you accidentally move a ball. Hitting the ball twice with the same swing, or double hit, is deemed so difficult to do; it must be accidental, and there is no way to predict the outcome of the ball for it to benefit the player. The accidental-moving-of-the-ball change is now more fair. Makes sense.

Finally, you may have a nemesis hole at your home golf course where the out-of-bounds turns into a magnet for your golf ball. Your local golf course is now allowing you to drop a ball at an equal distance from the spot the ball went out, and you then can drop on the edge of the fairway. What a deal! No more pressure of having to hit the ball again in the fairway only to slice it the other direction.

So there you have it. A few more rules to know that may help you help the pace of play and help your mental fortitude.

Peter Harris is the director of Golf at the Fore-U Golf Center in West Lebanon. His column appears weekly in the Recreation page during the golf season.

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