The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.
I recently bought a 24-inch wind sock designed for a garden and mounted it on my golf cart. Our club pro said that isn’t legal in sanctioned play per Rule 14-3 — yet symbolic flags and tossing grass into the air are allowed. So, too, are laser rangefinders and topography books of the greens, both of which appear to provide much more information than a wind sock. Right?
—TOM KELLY, VONORE, TENN.
Rules Guy is in the rules business, not the empathy business … but I nonetheless empathize.
Here’s the logic: A wind sock, unlike a symbolic flag, is designed for the express purpose of gauging the wind. Tossing grass is allowed as a traditionally accepted part of the game. Distance-measuring devices are only legal if the committee in charge (or, in the case of everyday play, the course) adopts a Local Rule permitting them.
Finally, the USGA and the R&A have both stated that they view the ability to read greens as an essential golf skill and are reviewing the matter of topography books, but haven’t reached any conclusions as yet. Please don’t shoot the messenger if that answer doesn’t quite blow your socks off.
Got a rules question? Of course you do! Whatever it may be, send yours to email@example.com and the question may be answered in an upcoming issue of GOLF. Until then, play by the Rules!