How difficult can it be? We smack a small ball around a field and try and pop it into a little hole. Yet the powers that be produce a whopping 121 pages of rules for us to read, interpret, and remember before killing us off with 58 pages of appendices and a 23-page index. Not that it stops there, many rules are so ambiguous and pointless they needed to produce a hefty tome of decisions four inches thick stuffed with 546 more pages to clarify what they couldn’t say properly in the first place.
Now as a backdrop to this rant, the corporate world of golf isn’t surviving in some prosperous financial bubble. Callaway showed a whopping 15% drop from $1.1 billion down to $951 million in 2008-09 with huge falls in profit. They were not alone; Adams Golf seem to be in terminal decline with profit down from a surfeit of 9.9% in 2007 to a deficit of 1.6%.
Which brings me to my point, with the industry strapped and a rule book littered with twaddle – is there anyway we can hole two balls with one stroke so to speak? I think there is – it’s time to get out the permanent marker and confine our first rule to history! Turn to page 52 and draw a thick diagonal line through the whole page. Rule 4.4 is no more, and what you may not realise is that you have just added $28b to the global golf industry.
Rule 4.4 states ‘Maximum of Fourteen Clubs’ – why?! Give me one good reason. What the hell would it matter if we bung in the 7-wood as well as the 3 and 5 or add an array of lie-specific wedges. Why stick to traditional clubs? We could invent new ones. How about a new set of ‘multi-puttersTM‘ (thought I’d get in quick with the trademark)? A set of three putters designed to produce short, medium and long putts from a single identical stroke. We do exactly the same thing for irons and woods so why not putters? Or how about a tiny little club with a shaft about a foot long in case you’re up against a tree?
If you imagine that every one of the supposed 60 million golfers in the world bought a set of multi-puttersTM plus a tree iron (no not an Irish 3 iron) then maybe a few CEO’s around the world just sat up and started dialling the R&A.
US Masters news: Latest US Masters news
Augusta National: Hole-by-hole guide to Augusta
Augusta gallery: Augusta pictures gallery
History & Records: US Masters records
Masters blog: Golf Monthly blogs from Augusta