Friday, December 22, 2017

The Best Round of The Year
by Bill Cromwell
December 2017 
Pondering The Best Round of Golf During 2017
                  Pondering The Best Round of Golf During 2017

Ending the golf year is never a good thing, but before moving on to a new year of great golf, remembering your best round of the year will certainly ignite enthusiasm for playing more golf during 2018.

This past November on one of those perfect Indian summer days, the golf course was calling my name. Arriving early enough to warm up on the range to loosen these old bones after a week or so of non-golfing days — cold, rainy and seemed like the sun did not exist for weeks. Range time was encouraging, as I noticed my brief layoff must have alleviated my bad swing habits, and I’d returned to a proper swing plane. Off to the first tee with a positive attitude — it was going to be a great round.

Stripped the first tee shot down the middle landing about 110 yards from the green. It’s a short hole. Nevertheless, I dropped the approach shot three feet from the pin and knocked down a birdie. Oh ya!

Shot after shot was down the middle off the tee and then on the green in regulation. Who is this guy? Par after par. Sure there were few bogeys mixed in, but right back with a birdie and even an eagle mixed in. It was amazing. My swing was on, and my mind knew it. I was positive this was the round of the year in the making. I didn’t want to add the score after the front nine in fear of jinxing the round.

The back nine started with a par 5 hole and wouldn’t you know it, I bogeyed. Uh oh — did I lose that edge I had on the front nine? Evidently not, I birdied the par-3 11th. Game on, I was back on track — fairways and greens with one or two putts and onto the next hole. I even dropped several 40-foot putts. This was no doubt going to be my best round of the year.

It all came down to the last hole. A par 4 and all I needed to do was relax a hit one more fairway off the tee, get on the green in regulation and two-putt for yet another par. The approach landed 30 feet from the hole. Okay, not bad, I can two-putt from there. Carefully reading the break, I figured it’s slight left-to-right, snuggle it up close, maybe to two feet, and I’d have a tap-in par. No snuggling that day — drained it!

The round of the year, I carded a 69. Best round of putting all year, I just couldn’t miss. Man, I love those 8-inch cups!

With all the craziness in the world, thank goodness, we have golf. We all make plenty of really bad shots, but it’s the great ones we remember.

Merry Christmas! See you next year!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Should You Carry a 15th Club — a Battery-Operated Leaf Blower During The Fall and Winter?


Should You Carry a 15th Club — a Battery-Operated Leaf Blower In Your Bag During The Fall and Winter?

You may have been playing golf in the fall when a fellow golfer announces, “I can’t find it, so I’m going to invoke the leaf rule.” So, what’s up with this “leaf rule” thing and is it legal?

No, there is no such thing as the “leaf rule,” according to the USGA. The “leaf rule” was simply invented by an unknown golfer to keep the pace of play moving.

The Rules of Golf consider the seasons, including the time of year when leaves are dropping faster than the Health Care Plan Coverage.

If a “course” has a local rule allowing the natural accumulation of leaves to be treated as ground under repair, and you’re sure that your ball is lost under leaves, you may find the nearest point of relief and take a drop without penalty within one club-length from the spot where the ball crossed into the leaves, but no closer to the hole, (Rule 25-1, Decision 33-8/31). However, if your shot went out-of-bounds, then you must re-tee (or drop nearest last stroke) and take one penalty stroke as stated in the USGA’s rules of golf.

Without a local rule, leaves are loose impediments. You can’t move your ball when removing leaves or it’s a one-stroke penalty, and the ball must be replaced. The same is true if you’re searching through leaves and the ball moves. But if your ball is covered by leaves in a bunker or a water hazard, there’s no penalty if the ball moves during a search. Just replace the ball and cover it with leaves, if necessary, so only part of the ball is visible (Rule 18-2, 12-1). If you find your ball in leaves piled for removal, see Rule 25-1b.

Golf purists feel the “Leaf Rule” is a cop-out to allow golfers to “cheat” with a free drop for hitting a bad shot that landed in leaves — an area that would have been a lost ball without leaves. Further stating that golfers don’t request the “leaf rule” when their ball is in the fairway or on the green.

We should always adhere to the rules of golf. However, it could be said, that fall and winter golf should be played for fun and to keep our game/swing tuned-up for the regular season, but for the sake of those golfers following you — don’t spend all day looking for a golf ball in the leaves or weeds. Buy some of those cheaper priced bright orange or yellow golf balls rather than pricey Pro V1’s. When you lose the cheaper balls, you won’t feel like it’s such a big deal. 

Lastly, remember the second-most-complained-about annoyance — cart paths only. If you want to play on nice fairways next spring and summer, then stay on paths when courses request it. There is a reason courses request paths only, and it’s not to annoy you; it’s to save the turf. Fall can offer great golf weather, and rates are at their lowest now, so when the mood strikes, tee-it-up and enjoy the day.

Hope to see you on the course this fall.
Bill Cromwell
Publisher, TEE TIMES GOLF GUIDE Magazine
Kansas City Golf News