According to the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews Scotland.
Rule 1. The Game
The Game of Golf consists of playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.
Golf is not broken. There are only three parts; 1. Begin at the starting line; 2. Continue golfing until your ball goes in the hole and 3. Low score wins.
Golf is so simple that 6 and under is now the youngest age group in tournament golf. Kindergartners understand it, go out and have fun.
I remember in the 70’s seeing a riding cart two fairways over. My Dad was entertained by the sighting and commented, “Look. Those people are riding!” Golf is so uncomplicated that you could walk 9 holes with just a few clubs in an hour and a half. No sweat.
Leaving the quest for more distance aside, play the forward tees and see if you can shoot the round of your life. Play with a softer graphite shaft and enjoy effortless power. Have the family go to the range. Send a few. Laugh at Dad when he misbehaves and slams his club.
I have one student who keeps track of the wildlife. Not her number of strokes. That might not be most people’s idea of a good time, but you get the idea.
Holing out is a good thing. Might as well unless you are playing Match Play and the stroke is conceded.
Practice chipping and putting. It’ll help you with part 3 above. There is nothing wrong with golf. I enjoyed my fifth trip to Scotland recently with my delightful traveling companion Jack Gibbard. The Forgan family of Nairn took wonderful care of us as we played 12 rounds in 10 days. Never really did keep score. Played semi-intense Four-Ball Match Play, walked, talked, marveled at the surroundings then ate and drank and laughed when we were done.
Now, if you want to get a whiff of “how golf lost its way” refer to Geoff Shackelford’s book The Future of Golf which I highly recommend. The book is well written and filled with significant and valid points backed up by extremely reliable opinion.
I just wanted to share my own two cents and not be all doom and gloom.
The Game is mostly just fine. And if we ALL actually fixed an extra ball mark or two our obvious capability of messing it up would be slightly less obvious.
Bob Madsen, PGA
Sycuan Golf Academy