1.) SILENCE PLEASE – Golf is a social game AND it is a game of concentrations. Your voice is both a distraction and an excuse if the person hitting does not hit a well shot.
2.) LEAVE THE COURSE LIKE YOU FOUND IT - (or in better condition): Fill your divots, fix your ball marks, rake your bunker, and, on the greens fix your ball marks. Blackstone/Black Bear has the Adopt A Hole. See below for list:
Holes will be divided by the member's last name.
Hole 1 = A Hole 2 = B Hole 3 = C Hole 4 = D Hole 5 = E&F Hole 6 = G
Hole 7 = H Hole 8 = I,J,&K Hole 9 = L Hole 10 = M Hole 11 = N&O Hole 12 = P
Hole 13 = Q&R Hole 14 = S Hole 15 = T Hole 16 = U&V Hole 17 = W Hole 18= X,Y,&Z
3.) WATCH YOUR SHADOW – while playing with someone make sure your shadow is not in their line of sight. Example would be on the putting green. You may be standing far enough away but your shadow maybe in their line to the putting green.
4.) GOOD SPORTMANSHIP – treat other players the way you would want to be treated. Quiet while everyone is hitting, not only while putting. Control your temper if you are having a bad game. Stop walking if you are next to someone who is about to hit their ball. Compliment and encourage players! Pick up a club or two when you are done on the putting green, tend the pin on the putting green. Not everyone on the course needs to know you had a bad shot. It would be great to know of that Hole in One, but remember, that scream of excitement, the cursing out loud can disrupt another player on another fairway close by!
5.) RETURN LOST ITEMS – found a golf club, electronic devices, glove, club head covers, give to the course Marshall or return it to the club house.
6.) MAINTAIN THAT GHIN – if you have a GHIN (pronounce gin) make sure you record all your golf games THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY! Don’t become a sandbagger.
7.) ACCURACY of YOUR SCORE – accuracy of counting your strokes is a constant complaint with a quick accusation of cheating. If you aren’t sure how many strokes you took ask your partner. If you get questioned, don’t get on the defensive, count those strokes with your opponent/partner. If you are having trouble, use a string with beads (some are exquisitely designed), count by remembering the clubs you use, or the strokes taken. I get tired close to the end of 18, so I ask someone because I cannot remember.
8.) PACE OF PLAY – can’t say enough about pace of play – Examples: if there is a group behind you who is a single and you are a foursome, let them play through. If you are having a bad game, and the group behind you is always waiting as well as the group in front, you have not seen for a few holes, let them play through or pick up and go to the next hole. ALWAYS try to keep up with the group in front of you!
9.) TIPPING – Please tip the caddie, the beverage cart, the bag boy. This is their job and if they do it well, tip them accordingly.
There are a lot more. If you can think of them, list them in response to this blog!
How to improve pace of play? This has become an issue with most golf courses. There is research being done to improve pace of play by the USGA: such as looking at the design of courses, finding bottle necks, scheduling of players, and observing players. For Blackstone and Black Bear, 18 Holes should be played in 4 hours in the early morning; and 4 hours 30 minutes in the afternoon when 4 people are playing.
The USGA has some tips to improve pace of play. I have listed them below along with other points I have learned through my time of playing golf.
Time per Blackstone/Black Bear
6:30am-9:30am – 4 hours = 13 minutes per hole (understanding that a par 3 will play a shorter time then a par 5)
9:30am-12:30pm – 4 hours 15 minutes = 14 minutes per hole
12:30pm – closing – 4 hours 30 minutes = 15 minutes per hole
This seems like a lot to remember. We do most of this already without really thinking about it. We may just need to tweak a few things to pick up pace of play.
Those pesky creatures on a golf course can cause havoc for golfers. But if you know Rule 18, 19, & 25 and the variations of them, then golf becomes a little easier. Did you know there is a rule for a dog interference!
What if there is a critter on the course and this critter starts to mess with your golf ball. Such as moves your ball, picks it up and or fly’s away with it, or chews on it. Or what if you hit a bird or duck gracefully flying by, on what would have been an amazing shot; or hit a coyote as it runs through the fairway. Better yet, have a moose lay down in the middle of the fairway and your ball rolls right up to this critter! Yes, that happened to me while playing the Evergreen Golf Course. What is the ruling?
There are several depending on the details:
Rule 18.1 - Ball at Rest moved by Outside Agency - If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced. NOTE: YOU must know that it is your ball, the ball was at rest, and moved by an outside agency (animal). Then there is no penalty.
However (there is always a ‘however’ in golf).
Under RULE 19 - Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped by
Now what if your ball lands in a hole created by a snake, or animal. Yes there is a rule for that as well.
RULE 25-19 - BURROWING ANIMAL, REPTILE OR BIRD (AND HOLES MADE BY THEM)
Abnormal ground conditions (casual water, ground under repair or hole, cast of runway on the course made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird) occur when a ball lies in or touches the condition or when the condition interferes with the player’s stance or the area of his intended swing. If the player’s ball lies on the putting green, intervenes on his line of putt. Otherwise intervention on the line of play is not, of itself, interference under the Rule.
A "burrowing animal" is an animal (other than a worm, insect or the like) that makes a hole for habitation or shelter, such as a rabbit, mole, groundhog, gopher or salamander.
HOWEVER a hole made by a non-burrowing animal, such as a dog, is not an abnormal ground condition unless marked or declared as ground under repair.
NOTE: After doing some reading, bees, fire ants, snakes, alligators, etc. are considered dangerous and therefore the player can take a free drop. I considered the moose to be a dangerous animal and with agreement of all parties playing that day, I took a free drop!
A player asked me a question regarding her trouble in the sand trap.
#2 at Black Bear. Hit her ball into the right-side of the fairway sand trap, landing on the high edge of the sand trap. She saw a rake, which was above her ball, on the edge of the trap. The trap was steep. She walked above where her ball lay and moved the rake so as not to hit the rake. Then walked the 3 steps back to her ball. She then hit her ball, which hit the lip of the trap, rolling back into the trap, landing in her footprint that she made when moving the rake.
Could she have raked the foot print before hitting her first shot attempt out of the sand trap?
From USGA RULE BOOK, Number 13-4 Discuss Ball In Hazard. Rule 13-4a prohibits a player from testing the condition of the hazard in which his ball lies or a similar hazard, however Exception 2 to Rule 13-4 allows a player to rake an area of the bunker for the sole purpose of caring for the course as long as nothing is done to breach Rule 13-2 for his next stroke. A player would be in breach of Rule 13-2 for his next stroke if he improved the lie of his ball, the area of his intended swing, stance, his line of play or a reasonable extension of it beyond the hole or any area where he is to place or drop a ball.
TO BE SAFE: If the rake is in your way you can move it with as little disruption to the bunker prior to hitting your ball. This means avoid stepping into the bunker unless necessary to remove a rake. If the rake is in your way, and you can remove it prior to stepping into the bunker, do this first. Then approach into the bunker to hit your ball. I use the method: Stop - analyze your approach to the hole - enter with all necessary equipment.
She took an unplayable lie.
IF YOU CAN SEE IT – LIGHTNING – FLEE IT; IF YOU CAN HEAR IT – THUNDER – CLEAR IT
Ever wonder what to do when you see a storm coming while out playing golf? GET OFF THE COURSE! Don’t think, “I can beat it!” “Just one more hole!” This is a losing game with Mother Nature!
Did you know that LIGHTNING RODS are often made of graphite? Did you know golf clubs are made of GRAPHITE material? Now go ahead and take that back swing in a thunderstorm! Bet that will screw up your game!
Did you know the USGA has a rule for Lightning on the golf course? Rule 6-8 which allows players to discontinue play if they believe there is a danger from lightning.
By the numbers:
30/30 Lightning Rule: Only if you are near a substantial building. If thunderstorms develop, count the seconds between the flash of lightning and the bang of the thunder to estimate the distance between you and the lightning strike. It is recommended that you seek shelter if the time between the lightning flash and the rumble of thunder is 30 seconds or less (6 miles). Once inside shelter, you should not resume activities until 30 minutes after the last audible thunder. Open-sided buildings do not provide protection from lightning even if they have a lightning rod). By National Lightning Safety Institute.
“Lightning is the #2 storm killer in the U.S; killing more than hurricanes or tornadoes on average.” By National Lightning Safety Institute
WAITED TOO LONG safety precautions!
Blackstone Flex Tee: why we have them, when to tee up from them. The information I have gathered about Flex Tees at Blackstone was created for the purpose of Ladies Interclub A Team Match play to bring the total distance up to other clubs between 5500-5700 yards. Did you know there is a difference of only 11 yards total between the Flex Tee and White Tees? Did you know the average yardage to each hole is 34 yards/hole when you move to the Flex from the Red? For me that means I am using a club I do not used as frequently as when I play off the Red Tee..
As your course handicap decreases it will move you from the Red Tee box to the Flex Tee box! This gives you more challenge. Does it change the course? Yes, by 520 yards total, and the location of the tee box will change as well. Will this affect your course handicap? Yes, but with time playing from the Flex tees, you will eventually settle into a comfort zone playing from those tees! You have earned the skill level to play from the Flex tees! I have played from the Flex tees and I have played from the White. Believe me, the course does change, the clubs used changes, and the game changes, When recording your score, make sure you change your tee box, and your handicap index will change. Just remember, GHIN does take all this into account!
So get out there and try those Flex tees!