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Make the new rule changes work in your favour
What makes Jim great!
The rules of golf have had a makeover this year and the R&A are hoping that the changes will bring benefits to the golfers and the game itself, seeing a swifter and fairer game as a result. Here’s hoping and here are a few examples of how some of the changes will help you in your games.
What is a perfect swing? What defines a perfect swing? Does a swing that looks great necessarily mean that it is effective?
Rule 13.1d No worries if you accidentally move your ball on the green (during your backswing, whilst marking the ball or accidentally kicking it) as there is now no penalty as long as you return it to it’s original position. Rule 7.4 Lost ball? You can now have a really good rummage without worrying about moving your ball making searching faster. But remember you only get 3minutes to look for it instead of the old 5mins. You are always allowed to substitute a ball or to use the original ball when taking relief under penalty or taking free relief. (14.3) Dropping a ball back into play is now from knee height not shoulder, reducing the risk of poor bounces and having to redrop. A local rules change (which you won’t see in professional or high level, competitive amateur competitions) regarding Out of bounds sees you being able to drop your ball anywhere between where the original ball was believed to come to rest (or went OB) and just into the edge of the fairway for a 2shot penalty. Banishing the need for 3/5 off the tee! This will help with corporate days and fun competitions speeding the pace of play up and keeping the smiles on golfers faces. This rule will help those who are new to the game or occasional golfers massively. Double hitting your chip shot will no longer cost you, neither will hitting yourself with your own ball. Like we do these things intentionally! (11.1) Another fair change. You can now repair any damage made by golfers on the green. Spike marks etc can now be sorted before rolling your putts in. (13.1d2)
I would define a perfect swing as one that is able to repeatedly hit solid shots, even when the pressure is on. I would certainly put Jim Furyk in this category. Anyone seeing his finish in the Players Championship recently will know what I’m talking about. I’m sure you have seen or played with a golfer who has a quirky looking swing but hits the ball consistently. In contrast, I’m sure you’ve seen or played with someone who has a nice looking swing but struggles to keep the ball on the fairway! One of the Tour Professionals that commentators rave about is Adam Scott. Watching him in practice or on the course playing in an event, commentators rave about his swing – “the ideal swing”. Indeed his overall action does look great. You’d think with a swing that looks so good he would be ranked right at the top in the “tee to green” category on the PGA Tour. He is actually ranked forty forth. Like all of us, his swing isn’t always the same and sometimes it will be better than others. No one seems to comment on how well Jim Furyk swings the club. Indeed, compared to Adam Scott, Jim’s swing looks like an octopus falling down a drain pipe. This is where you can’t judge a book by its cover. Jim is ninth in the “tee to green” category on the PGA Tour. So who has the better swing? The pictures that accompany this article are the before and after impact positions of Adam Scott and Jim Furyk. Look closely at Adam’s swing, notice how the clubface is quite open before impact and quite closed after. In contrast, Jim’s club is much squarer before and after impact. In other words, Adam Scott’s shaft is rotating through impact and Jim’s isn’t. Timing is very important in Adam’s swing and he has to shape the ball to be consistent. Jim just has to aim and fire. After looking at these pictures, which swing would you prefer?
Hazards are all change, no longer do we have water hazards (this will take some getting used to) these have been redefined as a penalty area. You can now also touch or move loose impediments in the hazard and touch the ground with your hand or your club in a practice swing. Same applies in bunkers you can touch or move loose impediments. But as in all hazards you are still not allowed to test conditions and ground the club. You can also take relief (with penalty) outside of the bunker if your ball is unplayable within it. (19.3b) You will get free relief anywhere on the course EXCEPT the bunkers if your ball is plugged. Also making winter golf a lot fairer. Probably my favourite rule change is the fact you can leave the flagstick in whilst putting. This will speed up play hugely and lends a bit of perspective for the distance of your mid to long putts. For information on all rules changes visit www.randa.org and get your head around them. They can save you shots! I’m back teaching and will be at Highpost every Tuesday available for lessons. This time of year is the perfect time to get your game in shape for the new season. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website www.katiedawkinsgolf.co.uk for video hints and tips on improving yourself as well as your golf.
22 TEE TIMES | April 2019
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