Looking back on the initial months of the new year, every person in golfing has had something to mention about throng way-accomplishing adjustments to the Rules of Golf. But what in those new regulations, beyond the unseemly social media tiffs about dropping or alignment, has to do with structure and route layout yet which nobody seems to be speaking approximately? The modernization efforts by using the U.S. Golf Association and R&A had been lauded and criticized, relying whom you ask, however, little interest has been paid to the fact that on Jan. 1, for the first time since the unique guidelines have been installed play on April 2, 1744, by The Gentlemen Golfers at Leith Links near Edinburgh, Scotland, the word “danger” not seems in golf’s rulebook.
By the way, that changed into Rules 5 and 13 of the authentic Thirteen Articles, with which I gained’t trouble you other than to mention it had some thing to do with “watery filth” and “Scholar’s Holes or the Soldier’s Lines.” The great and ancient danger has an undeniably romantic, literary ring to it but finds itself forged out in the desire of the rather anodyne, bureaucratic sounding “penalty vicinity.” But worry now not, these new penalty regions are available in both pink and yellow! I’m no longer searching forward this April to the first time a participant takes on the corner of the thirteenth hollow at Augusta National, with its famous tributary lying in wait to capture the carelessly performed shot, handiest to have the tv commentator propose the fate of the Masters may hinge on whether the ball reveals the meandering “penalty area” to the left of the fairway or now not. What would Herbert Warren Wind say about his beloved Amen Corner being described every year no longer via the gamers who fell sufferer to the confounding threat that is Rae’s Creek but as substitute folks that cautiously negotiated the yellow penalty regions on their way to victory? “Hazards – how properly selected the call!” wrote Robert Hunter in “The Links” in 1926, an e-book that genuinely inspired his position within the improvement of Cypress Point and its global-well-known penalty location to the proper of the 15th, sixteenth and seventeenth holes. “Without well-positioned dangers, golfing would fail to arouse and to meet man’s sporting instincts,” wrote Hunter, adding, “They are risks, and penalties ought to come to folks that take dangers and fail.” Perhaps the much-maligned committees in St. Andrews and Liberty Corner, N.J., should have known as these newly designated zones “failure regions” alternatively? Who wouldn’t want to see Twitter’s response to that? Fair isn’t always higher. The regulations have far-attaining and unintentional effects in terms of the architecture and design of guides. The irregular shapes of natural bunkers from years beyond too regularly have been formalised and reshaped by tournament committees in an attempt to make it simpler to decide whether the ball become in the bunker or now not. Though possibly the brand new range within the guidelines will permit for amazing creativity. At least the phrase “bunker” survived this regulations exchange intact. I worry if the banishment of one among golfing’s greatest literary contributions will have an impact unexpected by directors searching for to make golfing a sport “greater without problems understood and implemented with the aid of all” and one this is “greater regular, simple, and fair.” Are those objectives at odds, in truth, with “reinforcing the game’s longstanding ideas and person,” all principles that come without delay from the USGA and R&A’s key standards for the policies modernisation mission? Let me percentage some other old fashioned concept so one can bite on: “The spirit of golf is to dare a risk, and via negotiating it obtain praise, even as he who fears or declines the difficulty of delivery, has a longer or more difficult shot for his subsequent play.” At least this turned into the case for George C. Thomas Jr. In his designs of Riviera, Bel-Air, and Los Angeles (North), amongst others. Those folks who grew up in golfing during the last 275 years, which might be all of us (N.B., the 275th anniversary of golf’s first definitely formalized opposition occurs this April, and not in Georgia), had been delivered to a sport wherein the risk offered by using a threat constitutes the essential project of the game. Each person who involves golf for the primary time in 2019 or later will come upon a game whose language is described via penalty regions to keep away from, no longer risks daring. Within a technology or the idea of the danger as something critical to the spirit of the sport becomes as dated because of the stymie or gutta-percha. Furthermore, the semantic implication is that in case you hit your ball in a penalty region you’ll mechanically get a penalty – not true! Does this software of newspeak without a doubt make golf a better sport and strengthen its longstanding concepts and character? The new guidelines take design purpose a step similarly and outline the purpose of a bunker as “a particularly organised vicinity designed to check your potential to play a ball from the sand.” I think if you asked the designers of the sector’s maximum compelling courses, alive or dead, they might say that the reason of a bunker is to test your capacity to avoid gambling from the sand, no longer play from it. There’s a cause why Tiger Woods’ victory at St. Andrews inside the 2000 British Open is well known not for his report winning score (so you do not forget?) or that he gained the profession Grand Slam (changed into he the youngest?), however due to the fact he played all seventy-two holes and by no means once went in a bunker. Try doing that with only a putter, not to mention all 14 clubs. When bunkers have been bunkers Before that millennial British Open, Hugh Campbell, then chairman of the R&A championship committee, stated of the bunkers, “They’re intended to be real hazards. If you don’t have a fear of setting the ball in a bunker at St. Andrews, it will take loads of tooth out of the path.” In any occasion the word threat has had a long and outstanding history it has defined the spirit of the game itself – and to peer it come to an inglorious end without a shot fired is a bit unhappy. It strikes a chord in my memory for the second time on this little letter of Herb Wind, who wrote in 1956, “One of the commanding frustrations in existence is that each one too often the matters one likes first-class and respects the maximum by some means get is-evolved or misplaced through a loss of appreciation of their real worth, or some supposedly progressive fashion popularizes all of the attraction and pride out of them.” Imagine a global wherein Aleck Bauer wrote a popular e-book of golfing architecture in 1913 referred to as “Penalty Areas: Those Essential Elements in a Golf Course Without Which the Game Would Be Tame and Uninteresting.”