In a perfect world, we would all play golf completely by the Rules. All of them. All the time. Every time.
However, in my experience, outside of tournament play, very rarely do I find that golfers follow every rule, every time, myself included.
I don’t throw this generalization out for consumption to impugn the integrity of all golfers as a class of cheaters. For the casual golfer, in most cases of loose adherence to the Rules of Golf, I suspect that expediency or local custom lie at the root of noncompliance.
For years, unless a wager of sufficient size was involved, I played with a group of guys that played all water hazards and out-of-bounds as lateral hazards. None of us kept an official handicap, and the idea of losing additional golf balls or precious moments of fleeting daylight seemed like an unnecessary waste (if we couldn’t hit the shot the first time, there was no guarantee we could do it the second try either).
The little socially acceptable rules infringements that have become common even have names that make them more palatable. Mulligan. Breakfast ball. Lunch ball.
Sure, there are golfers among us that might occasionally foot-wedge that ball from behind the tree. And “Lift, clean, and cheat” is incredibly tempting even on the second day after it’s rained if the course is still soggy.
But I would suspect that most rules violations aren’t even acknowledged, and may even be understood and accepted (a violation of Rule 1-3 in and of itself) amongst friends and golfers.
One of my favorites is the 30-second shot clock that I think Jim or Brian mentioned last year: When you top your tee shot, if you can retrieve it and re-tee it within 30 seconds, it never happened. Clearly not allowable under the Rules of Golf, but a helluva a lot more fun than trying to play out the hole from the downslope of the tee box in front of you.
He who has the fastest cart never has the worst lie.
So for the May Question of the Month, I put it to you, Dear Readers: what Rule of Golf do you most frequently or regularly violate (outside of tournament play, of course) in your regular golf game?