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In Golf Rules Weren't Made To Be Broken

Wade Pearse

It's been my experience that the majority of golfers look at the rules of golf as being something that works against them. And that they cost them more strokes than they save them. I disagree with this assertion and so should you.

A rule is a rule. A set of guidelines that provide a framework to play an equitable game within. Fairness is the intent, not punishment. It's this perception of being the victim that makes players bend the rules to suit them, at times. If you look at ALL of your rounds of golf (ok, this isn't possible but for the sake of conversation) you'd find an equal number of instances where the rules, if in fact you knew them, actually helped you. The notion that rules "cost you strokes" causes people to break the very rules that provide fairness, equity and integrity to the game of golf.

While in most other sports players actively manipulate the rules to gain an advantage and believe that if you ain't cheatin' you ain't tryin', golf stands almost on its own in valuing rules as almost sacred. Without question the integrity of the game rests in our self-regulation and of holding rules in such high regard. We develop a respect for the rules and play within them.

First off, you must know the rules if you want to play the game. If you know them they will help you just as much as they cost you. I recall hitting a ball way left toward the O.B. It was definitely heading O.B. yet hit the O.B. stake head on and kicked the ball back in play. Not only back in play but it also landed on a cart path. Hmm…I'm not required to stand on a cart path. So I took a relief, dropped my ball and was left with a perfect lie.

You can easily be like Sergio Garcia and focus on how the golfing gods are against you and that you, and just you, get all the bad bounces. This is your choice, of course. But ask yourself if this empowers you or disempowers you? You get loads of good bounces and good breaks. You just need to pay attention to them more.

The rules will help you especially if you look at things this way. I am serious. Just by stating to yourself "the rules of golf are designed to support me in shooting the best score I am capable of", you are putting yourself in a truly positive frame of mind. One based in a positive expectancy. Not "expectations", expectancy. There's big difference.

Look at Rules as Your Ally

By looking at rules in this way you will make an effort to read them and really get an understanding of them. You will find that there are rules that can save your bacon in a tournament if you know them. Just like in Phoenix years ago when Tiger enlisted the fans to help him move a huge boulder out of the way of his iron shot. It was a movable obstruction so he moved it. Nowhere did the rules say only "he" could move the obstruction.

Now I want you to notice the conversation that is going on in your head right now. How do you feel about what Tiger did? What are you saying to yourself? This is an insight into your attitude around rules. Have an attitude that every rule is there for your benefit. Will a rule cost you strokes once in a while? Of course. But it isn't the "rule" that cost you the stroke, it was your shot!

So no matter what occurs during a round of golf treat it with a curious, almost excited state of mind. You might say to yourself after hitting O.B., "Ok, how cool will it be when I get a bogie on this hole even after hitting O.B.?" I teach players to keep the exact same perspective on a birdie or a quad. After a bad hole where a rule seemed to cost a stroke my players know it had nothing to do with the rules.

They immediately gather their attention and double their focus. Unlike the majority of players who turn an already bad hole into a nightmare and let the round get away from them.

Think about it. What feels better then taking a 5 on a hole where you were O.B. off the tee? And then calmly making a birdie on the very next hole… You're even par for the two holes. This is the attitude to have. The bounce back stat is one of the most telling stats you can monitor on your game in my opinion. True mental toughness.

Have the attitude that rules are your friend and that ANY result from a ruling will work in your favor. This way no matter what happens your mind and emotions remain relaxed and centered on the shot at hand. You'll be amazed at how things seem to go in your favor when you take this approach.

Wade Pearse is a Peak Performance Coach who practices what he preaches. He only teaches what he himself uses in his own golf game. Using these strategies he has helped clients lower their handicaps dramatically. He has taken his own handicap from a 26 down to a 3 without lessons or training aids.
Wade Pearse
Keeping you on target
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