The USGA “saved” golf several years ago by banning anchored putting strokes. Personally, I don’t care if you anchor your putter. You can anchor your driver, if you want to.
But now the USGA is saying, beginning in 2016 you cannot post rounds for your handicap if you played alone. No witnesses, not post.
This decision is making people quite upset.
Golf Canada said they will not adhere to the new policy.
Golf publications are up in arms about this. Ryan Herrington, in the November 30, 2015 GolfWorld, said the decision “makes this solitary journey feel a little more like a good walk spoiled.”
Actually, it does the opposite. It liberates us from golf having to be a competition every time we go out, always having to play our very best because every shot has implications.
Handicaps were designed to level out competitions. But just because you might compete at sometime in the future doesn’t mean that every stroke you play has to be hit with that uncertain future in mind.
This new policy gets us one step closer to a recreational game in which we go out to the course, bat the ball around, and have fun in a beautiful, relaxing environment, and nothing more.
And you can do that now if you play alone. (Of course, you don’t have to post any of your rounds if you dump your handicap, but that’s another blog post.)
The point is, many golfers enjoy playing alone, and then there are times you just want to run out, grab a quick nine, enjoy yourself, and then get back to your life.
When you’re out there and you want to hit a do-over, go ahead! If you want to bend the rules or (horrors!) ignore one, go ahead, because you won’t be posting your score.
So go enjoy yourself. You won’t have to worry about the USGA’s handicap gods spoiling your good walk anymore.
Whether they know it or not, the USGA just made recreational golf a better game. I doubt that’s what they intended, though, so let’s just keep this our little secret.