- One mulligan per hole, any shot – play the best ball
- Six-foot bump, any hole – move your ball up to six feet (no closer to the hole) to get out of trouble, like out of a bunker
- No OB, any shot – drop in the rough at the edge of the fairway, one-shot penalty
- 3rd-putt gimmes – 3rd putt is good, no more than three putts on a hole
- Lubricate – Apply lubricant (Vaseline, etc.) or low-friction face material to driver face; reduces spin, correcting hook or slice
- Tee up – tee the ball up anywhere but on the green
- Change balls – change ball during play of a hole to use optimum ball for required shot
- Hazard bump – remove ball from any bunker or red-or yellow-staked hazard area, replace no closer to hole
- Gimme putts – any putt “inside the leather” is good
Remember that Kenny Mayne commercial for the Top-Fite Gamer – their low-cost, 3-piece golf ball? The one where he’s asking this guy questions out on the course to see if he’s a “gamer” (and therefore worthy of playing the “Gamer” golf ball)?
Remember that line from Tin Cup? “A tuning fork goes off in your heart and your (vitals) – such a pure feeling is the well-struck golf shot.” That’s what golf is about.
Remember the feeling the first time you pured a mid-iron shot close to the flag on a par-3 and rolled the putt in for a two? That’s what golf is about.
Remember the first time you got on in regulation, from the fairway, on a long par four or a par five (of any length) and two-putted for a regulation par? That’s what golf is about.
Just learning? Play easier courses, play nine hole courses, play pitch-and-putts. One of my favorite local municipal courses, Santa Teresa Golf Club in San José, CA, includes a par-27, nine-hole short course that is interesting and challenging – hole lengths ranging from 76 yards to 132 yards, water in play on five of the nine holes, and greens with slope and undulations that allow a range of hole positions from easy to difficult. It’s a great short game workout, but no walkover – and it’s walk-on play, $11 weekdays, $15 weekends. Hit from the grass in the tee boxes (as I do) and it’s like playing nine holes with every shot but the drive, and the approach shots on par 5s – a great way to strengthen your short game. (My favorite hole on Shortie? The 124-yard 4th – elevated tee box, big eucalyptus tree intruding on the left, water right, water long, bunkers left and right front. Hold a high soft shot into the left-to-right breeze that’s threatening to drown your tee ball, over that big overhanging branch of the eucalyptus, right to the center of the green – that’s a moment you’ll remember like your first kiss… )
The AGA folks pitch their concept to golfers on the basis of having more fun on the golf course, and to course owners on the basis of attracting more players to their courses. They contend that the difficulty of the game is driving players away, and while there have been a lot of high-end courses built by ego-stroking course architects in the last couple of decades which aspire to grandeur and eye-watering levels of difficulty, there are still plenty of playable, affordable courses in this country. You have to be pretty far out in the sticks not to be within range of a decent muni course in the USA: find one, take a lesson, hit the range, play the course as you find it and within the rules – and have fun. Play with friends, or make friends when you play, and as you play more and your game improves your level of satisfaction and feelings of achievement will increase too – and you will laugh at the AGA clowns and their “goofy golf” concept.