Let’s face it, to those that aren’t already familiar with the sport, it’s rules and scoring, Golf can seem a little strange. Most non-golfers don’t understand the appeal or the pull that golf has on its devoted fans. The scoring is weird, the terminology is unlike any used in other sports. Golf can appear at times to be a wacky mystery. And with the odd rules that follow, it’s easy to see what some just simply don’t understand about the game. Here are some established and unusual golf rules. Cactus Some of us have never played on a golf course with cacti, or cactus. For those of you that have, have you ever wondered what you would do if you chipped a ball a little too close to one? Good thing there’s a rule in place for such situations like this. If your ball lands near a cactus, you may protect yourself from the prickly cactus, by wrapping your arm or leg closest in a towel. For some unknown reason, you are forbidden from wrapping the cactus in a towel. Water Hazards Every golfer has experienced the unfortunate realization that their ball is headed straight toward a water feature. But if your ball lands in a water hazard, did you know you are allowed to take a stroke? Even more peculiar, you are not allowed to wait for the current to move your golf ball into a better position. Faulty Golf Clubs If you’re taking a swing and your club head falls off, you may be entitled to another swing. It is dependent upon what part of the swing that your club head fell off during. If you swing and your club head falls off during your downswing, it counts as a stroke. But if your club head falls off during your back swing, it does not count as a stroke. Discarded Fruit If your ball lands inside an abandoned orange peel, you must play the ball as it lies, or decide that it’s unplayable. If you’re playing a course with apple trees, the same rules apply. A half-eaten apple laying on the course is still considered a natural object, therefor you can’t remove it without a penalty. Snakes If you are unlucky enough to encounter a snake on the golf course, there are rules to abide by. Unfortunately for you live snakes are considered outside agencies, and they cannot be removed before play. A dead snake, however, is treated as a loose impediment and can be removed. There are many odd rules and circumstances that arise in golf, but it can be part of what makes the game so fun. The next time you head out to play a round you may want to ask if your clubhouse is out of bounds. If it’s not, and you’re unlucky enough to land a shot inside, you should be allowed to open a door or window to continue on with your game.
January 16, 2017 — Natalie Montoya

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