Wicked water hazards are nothing new for golfers. They have haunted us since the beginning.The next time you play an ocean course keep this rule from 1919 in mind.
During the recent tournament at Pebble Beach, the champion, Harrison Johnston, made a great recover shot from the Pacific Ocean, standing in water to address the bobbing ball.
One of the rules of golf covers such a shot. When a ball is in the water a player may, without penalty, strike at it while it is moving, but he must not 'delay to make his stroke in order to allow the wind or current to better the position of the ball, under penalty of the loss of hole. (source: Settling the Point in Golf, Miami Daily News Record, 1929.9.20)
What a pleasure it must be to have the opportunity to dash to the Pacific Ocean to hit a ball at Pebble Beach. I'm sure we could post that picture on Facebook and get a laugh.
Personally, I think that rule makes sense by using the phrase "do not delay to make the stroke."
When the Rockdale Country Club first opened they did not play to greens, as we know them. Rather, they played target golf. The yardage was figured and a stick or target acted as the destination. Target golf was soon followed by the use sand greens, and eventually in the late 1930's grass greens with undulations added to create a challenge to the putter.
Having played on sand greens and cottonseed greens, even through high school in the 1960's, the flagstick didn't create problems, as we were allowed by local rules to putt twice. If the ball didn't go in on the first or second putt, we were to pick it up, rake the green and go to the next tee.
However, grass greens and the honorable flagstick causes problems by the rules.
The rule covering the incident of a golfer's ball striking a flagstick is often incorrectly invoked in match play (even in 1929). There is NO penalty for hitting the flagstick in match play except when the flag is being held by either of the caddies. If the ball strikes the caddie the player whose caddie is struck loses the hole. (Sounds like this rule could create some animosity among competitors.)
When, in stroke competition, a competitor's ball, lying within 20 yards of the hole is played and strikes the flagstick or the person standing at the hole, the penalty shall be two strokes.
(Source: Settling the Point in Golf: Miami Daily News Record 1929.8.15)
As I studied the newspapers from 1909--1940's Bobby Jones highlighted the news. Here is a challenge.
|Jones shoots a 42 single-handedly.|
The question is, could you beat Bobby Jones with both of your mitts?
Sources for photos: B. Jones, Miami News Record sports cartoon, 1930.10.14
Water hazard cartoon, 1929.9.20 Miami Daily News Record.
Letty Stapp Watt