Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

A golf course exists primarily for match play, which is a sport, as distinguished from stroke play, which more resembles rifle shooting than spot in that it lacks the joy of personal contact with the opponent.  FREDDIE TAIT




Jack: Florida Swing Destroyed "and I think they realize that"

The 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational does not appear to have stars aligning even in the event after The King's passing, as Brian Wacker reports on stars not appearing this year, though Tiger could still enter by Friday.

With the Honda Classic also taking a small field hit at the top (it was still very good) and the Stenson-Justin Thomas tandem as headliners in Tampa this week, the Doral-less schedule does not appear to be working in Florida's favor.

The comments may have been reported before, but this Global Golf Post quote from appeared in a Craig Dolch story for the Treasure Coast News, where Jack Nicklaus makes clear what the Golden Bear thinks of the Mexico City interruption:

“I don’t think going from LA, here, to Mexico City is very good; should be going from LA, Mexico City, here. Actually, that destroyed the Florida Swing as we knew it, and I think they realize that. I hope they’ll switch it back, go to LA, Mexico, here and then they’ve got a Florida Swing again. It hurts all the Florida events.”




PGA Tour Not Likely To Be Allowing Shorts Anytime Soon

Former PGA of America president Ted Bishop suggests the organization he once served jumped the gun on allowing shorts at their major, solidifying it as the fourth of four and clearly not coordinating this European Tour-driven idea with the PGA Tour.

It's worth noting in the quote below that PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, more progressive than his predecessor, cites the pro-am appearance as a legitimately good reason for not budging. After all, do you want your picture taken with someone who looks like a professional in uniform, or in shorts looking like it's a casual round?

It appears that the PGA Tour was not consulted by the PGA this time. Similar to yanking the Fall Series from the Ryder Cup points system, the PGA of America pulled the trigger on a new shorts policy to the apparent surprise of the Tour. I’m not saying that the PGA needs to ask the Tour for permission to do anything, but when a policy affects both organizations, collaboration should be required. It’s another example of the PGA being shortsighted.

In a statement, Monahan pointed to the Tour’s unique relationship with sponsors during Wednesday pro-am rounds.

“That special experience, which no other sport can provide – where one of the world’s best players can play alongside two, three or four amateurs and those amateurs can look at that player playing the same clothes, the same club, the same course over the next four days – we think that’s really special,” he said. “We want to do everything we can to protect that.”    


BAT Tax Could Have Big Impact On Golf Equipment Industry

Morning Read's Alex Miceli considers the golf equipment industry ramifications of a Border Adjustment Tax, proposed by Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and now sounding like something President Donald Trump might endorse.

The 20% tax on imports is designed to keep manufacturing in the United States, and with all but Titleist/Callaway/Taylor Made* golf balls and a handful of other products made outside the US borders, customers are likely to see price increases on golf clubs. Miceli writes:

Considering the difficulties in the golf business, narrowing profit margins is not an acceptable alternative. The obvious counter to the BAT would be to start manufacturing in the U.S., but that move would be a challenge.

Manufacturing facilities that can cast clubheads are in short supply in the U.S., and the expertise is not as readily available. Plus, the cost of manufacturing in the U.S. is what forced these companies to move production overseas, much of it to Asia, in the first place.

“I just think it's a cost analysis, which is we need to bring our products to market in a way that's conducive for consumers to be able to get into those products and a large quantity consumers to get into those products, and to be that you have to be positioned and market in the right place,” David Abeles, the chief executive and president of TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, said after a pro-am round last month at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Brett Conrad has penned this op-ed for Forbes against the concept, while Alan Auerbach and Michael Devereux just published an NY Times op-ed case for the tax.


Talk! Mickelson On Feherty, Tirico On Callaway Live

A couple of fun talk shows air this week, starting with part one of Phil Mickelson on Feherty, Monday night March 6th (9 pm ET).

Still buzzing from having just attended the monthly Rancho Santa Fe chapter meeting of the Arthur Fonzerelli Society, Mickelson talks Masters and Ryder Cup in part one.

A preview of this comments on Tiger Woods:

On Tuesday at 9 pm ET and streaming permanently thereafter, NBC Sports' Mike Tirico sits down with Callaway Live host Harry Arnett to discuss his new gig as primetime Olympic host and his love of golf.

Great news: Tin Cup is airing twice on Golf Channel during the mid-morning hours, so you won't have a reason to skip Tirico! Last week's season three opener guest was Jim Furyk.

A preview:


Eight Years! Sharp Park Finally Gets Long Term Reprieve, Chance For MacKenzie Restoration

We've been following this saga way too long but huge credit to Richard Harris and Bo Links for nearly a decade of battling to save Alister MacKenzie's Sharp Park design. After essentially facing the same foe--Brent Plater of Wild Equity--the San Francisco Board of Supervisors finally included the course as part of a natural resources plan that will ensure its long term prospects.

A WPA project designed by MacKenzie and Pebble Beach remodeler Chandler Egan, the run-down public course still sports a vibrant and diverse golf scene. With some love and money, it could be one of America's best public golf facilities.

The full press release announcing what appears to be the (merciful) end to this saga.


March 6, 2017


Historic “Working-man’s golf course” to Remain Open with SF Supervisors’ Support 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – After eight years of non-stop political battles, efforts to preserve the historic Sharp Park Golf Course have received a long-term commitment from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. 

By a 9-1 vote on Tuesday, Feb. 28, the Supervisors certified a Final Environmental Report for a Sharp Park Restoration Plan that recognizes the historical significance of the 85-year old links designed by Alister MacKenzie, one of world’s most famous golf course architects.  Specifically, the Supervisors: 

  • ·      Approved the continued operation of the 18-hole public course, owned by San Francisco but located in its beachside suburb of Pacifica;
  • ·      Designated the seaside links as “Historic Resource Property” under the California Environmental Quality Act; and
  • · Allowed modification of three holes along the margins of Laguna Salada, a freshwater marsh in the center of the course, to enhance habitat for the endangered San Francisco garter snake and the protected California red-legged frog, on condition that the changes be consistent with the golf course’s historic architectural character. 

A handful of environmentalist groups, including Wild Equity Institute, the San Francisco chapter of the Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, a couple of local Audubon societies, National Parks Conservation Association, and, for a while, Center for Biological Diversity, had for years opposed San Francisco’s Sharp Park Plan. They had demanded closure of the course to protect the frogs and snakes, but since 2009 these opponents had lost a series of fights over the golf course in San Francisco city agencies and before the California Coastal Commission, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and other state and federal resources agencies. In 2012 and again in 2015, four different state and federal courts dismissed lawsuits from the activist groups.  They lost at every turn.

The California Coastal Conservancy and several resources agency and court decisions noted that construction of the golf course in the early 1930’s severed connection between the Pacific Ocean and Laguna Salada, thereby converting what had been a brackish marsh into suitable habitat for the freshwater frogs and snakes, which were first found at Sharp Park in 1946, 14 years after the course was opened.   In a 2015 decision in favor of San Francisco’s Sharp Park plans, the Coastal Commission emphasized the importance of balancing the historic public recreation value of the golf course with the need to protect endangered species.   

On its Feb. 28 agenda, the SF Board of Supervisors was scheduled to hear yet another appeal, from the same environmentalist groups, challenging December 2016 decisions by the San Francisco Planning and Recreation & Park Commissions certifying a Final EIR and adopting the Sharp Park Restoration Plan as part of the Rec & Park Department’s comprehensive San Francisco Natural Areas Plan.  But when it came time for the anti-golf appellants to put on their case, their attorney Michael Lozeau dramatically announced his clients were withdrawing their appeal, in consideration for a minor Rec & Park concession on the placement of dredging spoils. 

At that point, 50-plus San Francisco Public Golf Alliance members who came to City Hall to testify – working men and women, retirees, and students from across San Francisco’s  broad ethnic and social spectrum – happily went home.  During the two weeks before the hearing, the golfers submitted over 1,000 e-mails and mostly-hand-signed letters, pleading the case for their beloved Sharp Park.

The golfers’ message resonated with the Supervisors.  Voting with the 9-1 majority to certify the Natural Areas Plan Final EIR, Supervisor Ahsha Safai – whose southern San Francisco district is near Sharp Park – noted “the irony of it all . . . that we have an existing working-man’s golf course . . . designed by a Scottish immigrant . . . that would be restored . . . that would then in the end be the reason why we have the opportunity to protect two of the most endangered species in Northern California.  That’s one irony that shouldn’t be lost.” 

Thanks to the Supervisors’ vote, neither the irony nor the golf course will be lost.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done to restore MacKenzie’s masterpiece at Sharp Park,” concluded Golf Alliance co-founder Bo Links, “but now the wind is at our back.”


R.I.P. Ken Bowden

Ken Bowden, former Golf Digest editor and longtime golf writer best known as the man who organized most of Jack Nicklaus' thoughts into the written word, has died.

Jaime Diaz remembers Bowden as "one of the most important golf writers the game has ever known."

Said Nicklaus upon learning of Bowden’s passing, “Beyond writing all my instruction books, he was a terrific guy. Ken was a very good friend, a very good player, a very good writer, and a confidante.”

Here is an excerpt from a book of stories Bowden produced in 2008.

His memoir is available on Amazon in limited quantities but can be purchased electronically.


R.I.P. Mark Laesch, Golfstat Founder

While college golf will never reach the popularity level of other major sports, donors contribute often remarkable amounts to fund college programs across the United States. The impact has been felt both in lives changed by scholarships, but also by careers enjoyed because of college golf.

Which is why it's hard to capture the role played by Mark Laesch, founder of Golfstat in 1984. While described as a "friend to college golf" in this moving remembrance from Beth Ann Nichols, I would argue that Laesch's vision for scoring, stats and rankings made the sport something to be followed by friends, family, donors and fans. That Golfstat continues today as the preeminent source of information speaks to Laesch's influence on countless lives and importance of his creation.

From live scoring to detailed statistics and rankings, Golfstat provided new methods for NCAA coaches and committees to advance the game.

“I think what he did simply was a labor of love for him,” said Florida State men’s coach Trey Jones. “He changed college golf.”


Brandel On Blocking And Golf's Need To Ban Twitter

While I know some of this was tongue-in-cheek, it's still wild to see Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee suggesting he blocks around ten people a day on Twitter and feels that it is interfering with the "civility" of golf.

I’m thinking that golf should ban Twitter, not because it is interfering with the practice of the game but because it is interfering with the civility of it. Twitter may have originally been a burst of inconsequential information but it has turned into 140 characters of kindling, burning civility to a fine crisp. I can understand the discord involving politics, religion and war but what is there to argue about in golf, I mean besides the fact I am still paid to talk about it for a living?


Inbee Park Is Back (Again) And Incredible Again

She turned up in Rio, won the gold medal and seemed to be setting the stage for a walk-off (career) win. Turns out, Inbee Park took six months off and beat a top field in the HSBC Women's Champions. And seems to be back? Maybe?

Either way, the Inbee legend grows and becomes more intriguing if she continues to play a limited schedule, especially when she hits turns up to hit 64 of 72 greens and 55 of 56 fairways in beating an elite leaderboard that included Ariya Jutanugarn, Brooke Henderson and a resurgent Michelle Wie.

Beth Ann Nichols of Golfweek reports on the win and Park's ability to post incredible numbers off a layoff.

“Today was pretty much, everything I looked at, it wanted to drop in,” said Park, who hit 17 greens (her first miss coming on the 18th hole) and took only 27 putts.

It wasn’t that long ago that an ailing Park struggled to finish tournaments to even qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame. A lingering thumb injury made her future on tour seem doubtful. But then she shocked the golf world in Rio by taking Olympic gold after a two-month break.

At the HSBC Women’s Champions, Park stunned once again, winning in only her second start since last August.

In the winner's circle with Inbee Park! #hsbcwomenschamps

A post shared by LPGA Tour (@lpga_tour) on


Poll: What Changes Do You Still Want Considered For Rules Of Golf?

Now that a few days have passed since the proposed Rules of Golf changes were presented, the time seems right to evaluate what is missing. Or, what could be better. After all, this is a proposal by the USGA and R&A.  The perk of waiting until 2019--a concept soon to be tested in a world demanding immediate gratification--is the allowance of review time for suggesting changes.

Before you vote, I must offer some explanation for the choices included in this poll.

The Punch Shot reactions of Hoggard, Gray, Lavner and Mell about summed up most of the chatter I have seen on social media and heard from golfers. The Punch Shot gang offers good points on stroke and distance/OB, ending scorecard math penalties and ground under repair. The USGA's Thomas Pagel made clear on Morning Drive that stroke-and-distance was on the table day one and there's still a potential change.

The bifurcation point arises mostly from chatter suggesting a majority of these changes address competitive golf situations and that feeling that true "relaxed" rules are restricted by prioritizing the needs of pro golf. I share that viewpoint.

On the flip side, players see the rules not working to their benefit because we are all trying to work under the same umbrella, reports Rex Hoggard from Mexico City.

We will talk about the good, bad and weird of the rules rollout tomorrow on Morning Drive, so your votes are appreciated! And missing suggestions can be added to the comments section.

What proposed change to the Rules of Golf do you still wish to see considered? free polls


Mexico City Putting Much-Needed "World" In WGC

As "tumbleweeds" rolled across the Blue Monster during Greg Cote's Wednesday visit for the Miami Herald--not literally but figurately--the WGC that left Miami after 55 years is off to a good start, writes Alan Shipnuck for

In spite of the high-profile food poisoning cases involving Rory McIlroy (-2) and Henrik Stenson (WD), Shipnuck explains how event organizers are showing signs of positioning the tournament for a long run.

These kind of cross-cultural exchanges are the whole point of taking a World Golf Championship out into the world. "It's important to the brand of the PGA Tour," says Casey. "There are so many fantastic events in the U.S., but it's almost to the point of saturation. PGA Tour members get a bad rap that they don't like to travel but plenty of us do. It'd be a shame to miss out on a week like this. Mexico City is damn cool and so is this event. It has a different flavor, just a nice feel to it. And it's still in its infancy. It's going to be fun watching this tournament grow up."

The PGA Tour's first round highlights, including a nifty hole-out by Justin Thomas. Altitude hasn't led to any 500 yard drives or even 400 yards yet. There were 39 over 350 yards in round one, notes Rex Hoggard. And Phil Mickelson is enjoying the altitude's influence.


They're (Maybe) Back! New Costco Ball On Conforming List

Nice spot by GolfNewsNet's Ryan Ballengee to locate a new Costco golf ball on the March 1st USGA conforming ball list.

He writes:

The new ball is the Performance One Kirkland Signature ball. It also has four pieces and has a triple cover, but not a solid core. These balls are rated for medium to high spin and are made by SM Global LLC, an American subsidiary of a Korean company that is the new manufacturing partner for Costco.

While the original Costco four-piece ball remains dead as a likely one-off product, the buying craze and ability of the ball to get people in stores seems to have inspired Costco to move quickly on another ball, just as a company executive predicted.


Kasumigaseki Has Deadline To Take Women Members

Reading this unbylined AP story on the IOC setting a June deadline for the 2020 Olympic golf venue to change its membership policies, it feels like no matter what they do, the club will have a tough time overcoming the perception that they were forced into this change.

Quoting IOC Vice President John Coates...

"It's possible to go elsewhere but I think this is going to work," Coates said. "It's heading in the right direction for them to have a nondiscriminatory membership procedure. It would appear that we would have this result by the end of June."


One Rule Change (Almost) All Agree On: The Caddie Lineup

While I'm still reading through many of the new Rules of Golf language and many responses, I'm certain nearly everyone is ecstatic to see the new rule preventing caddies from lining up players.

Not only was it inconsistent with rules attempting to unify the professional and amateur game, but also contradicted efforts to speed up the game.

Caddies lining up players also undermined respect for LPGA Tour players, who were most likely to take advantage of this rules book gap. With that in mind, Randall Mell at explores what this means for the LPGA Tour and while most were positive, there was one player not pleased.

Brittany Lincicome, however, didn’t seem pleased.

“I disagree!” Lincicome tweeted. “Lining up players has nothing to do with pace of play. I get 40 [seconds], I should be able to do what I want!”

Lincicome tweeted a pair of angry emojis after her comment.

The story goes on to explore some of the dynamics of why female tour players rely on caddies to line them up. Now that the rule will be changed, this freed up the opinions of Jerry Foltz and Karen Stupples are the most forthright that I've read.

“I think women in general are more likely to delegate stuff to other people,” Stupples said. “I think it’s about reassurance more than anything else. I think that’s just conditioning. When you have someone behind you saying, `You’re good,’ that’s just confirmation.”

That is why the practice had to go.


"The people at Doral feel like they got caught in the middle"

Bob Harig examines the loss of Trump Doral from the tour schedule after 54 years and what it could mean for the Florida Swing now that Mexico City hosts the next seven years.

This from Joel Paige, former VP and managing director at Doral.

"The people at Doral feel like they got caught in the middle," said Joel Paige, a former vice president and managing director at Doral. "It wasn't the venue. It wasn't the community. It was the politics. The political thing was a lot more.

"Did both sides really work hard on trying to work it out? I don't know what the timing triggers were, but did the guys in Mexico have a take-it-or-leave-it offer, and the tour decided they had to take it?"

If there is a bitterness today in Miami, it is understandable.


McGinley On Rory Backlash: "This is not a noise you really want to have."

Rory McIlroy ably defended himself during his Tuesday press conference in Mexico City, yet seems to be on the ropes concerning his golf round with President Donald Trump.

Brian Keogh reports the comments of Paul McGinley, who points out that McIlroy has not played well when facing criticism, is nonetheless befuddled by the anger expressed on social media toward McIlroy.

"I think it is disappointing that this noise doesn’t seem to be abating, looking at his press conference yesterday again. It dominated his press conference again, and in preparation for the Masters, this is not a noise you really want to have.

"He will be focussing on his injury, focussing on his game. He has walked into a storm, and I certainly won’t be critical of him, but I think it has taken him by surprise, and it has taken a lot of people by surprise, the vitriol that he has received.

"He was in a no-win situation, and that's the problem. When you get asked by the President of the United States to go and play a game of golf, it's very hard to say no."


New Changes To The Rules: DMD's For All (Maybe)

The proposed Rules of Golf language related to distance measuring devices becoming permissible contains a  key provision worth noting.

Here's what is said:

(3) Distance-Measuring Devices  

  • ·      DMDs allowed: You may use DMDs to measure distance, except when prohibited by Local Rule (this reverses the default position in the current Rules).

This default reversal certainly makes sense given that many believe the game would be much better (and faster) with rangefinders in widespread use. Others will be glad to sell you an expensive device.

I'm happy for all of those who have been clamoring to use their devices. But having watched enough amateur and college golf in person, elite players really only get a speed bump from the devices when they hit a ball so far out of play that they can't get a yardage off of a book.

Otherwise, DMD's merely are used to confirm yardages computed the old fashioned way, especially when the course played is well-designed. Even remotely decent architecture and setup means the yardage to the flagstick is less meaningful.

The retention of the Local Rule language is where this gets fascinating.

Does anyone believe that the folks at Augusta National will want the leader of the Masters to walk up to the 12th tee and, after acknowledging the crowd patrons, pulls out a rangefinder?

Will the PGA Tour really embrace the sight of a player arriving at TPC Sawgrass' 17th tee only to pull out his rangefinder? Worse, what happens when a player can't get the yardage because of competition behind the flagstick? So instead of hearing a great tactical conversation on Sunday of The Players, we hear the leader asking his caddy if he can get a reading?

I suspect the USGA, R&A and PGA of America will allow them at their events given the rule change and their desire to look like they are not impeding something the kids want. But I'm having trouble seeing the other families signing on where they are more conscious of the "look" presented by DMD's.


First Look: New 7th And 8th Holes At Royal Portrush

Thanks to reader PG for catching photographer David Cannon's Tweeted first-look images of the new 7th and 8th holes at Royal Portrush.

The holes were created for The Open Championship's arrival in 2019, allowing for the use of the current 17th and 18th holes as staging.


New Golf Rules: A Closer Look At Changes Related To Bunkers

I'll leave some of the proposed Rules of Golf changes to the wonks to dissect after they are unveiled, but from an architecture and course setup perspective, I'm fascinated by the change of approach to bunkers.

Here is what is outlined in the proposal:

•    Relaxed restrictions on touching the sand with your hand or club when your ball is in a bunker: You are now prohibited only from touching the sand (1) with your hand or club to test the condition of the bunker or (2) with your club in the area right behind or in front of the ball, in making a practice swing or in making the backswing for your stroke.

We all know this is a response to multiple video replay issues where the club could be seen touching the sand and the player was prosecuted for an inadvertent mistake. No one will miss those days.

•    New unplayable ball relief option: For two penalty strokes, you may take relief outside the bunker by dropping a ball back on a line from the hole through where your ball was at rest in the bunker.

I haven't a clue what this unplayable option does to improve the game other than speed things up on a golf course with quicksand bunkers, so let's ignore that one.

•    Removal of special restrictions on moving loose impediments: There is no longer a penalty if you touch or move loose impediments in a bunker.

"Play it as it lies" is a principle of importance since it was a bedrock of the original rules. Rules, Decisions and other changes in the game have dented the meaning of playing it as it lies in a sport that originally resonated because it was nature-based. So will this new language make bunkers more or less hazardous and more or less maintained.

I'm hoping more hazardous and less maintained.

We all hate rocks in bunkers and what they do to a pretty new wedge. And perhaps with a loose impediment rule the governing bodies are actually applying reverse psychology here by saying to courses you don't need to spend so much time on making bunkers perfect, rock-free sanctuaries for recovery.

Yet I can't help but think that given the freedom to fidget with the playing surface, modern players will continue to see bunkers as a sacred place where all golfers are entitled to a recovery and pristine lie at all times. Or, play it as I want it to lie.


We shall see...


First Look: Proposed Changes To The Rules Of Golf, What Stands Out?

Scheduled for a rollout on Golf Channel's Morning Drive (7 am Wednesday) along with a media teleconference at the same time, the new Rules of Golf will aim to "modernize the Rules and make them easier to understand and apply."

The expedited proposal, going out for public consideration with a January 1, 2019 implementation goal, appears determined to speed up the game and, intentionally or not, bifurcate elite tournament golf and the everyday game.

From the materials I've seen and in discussions with those briefed, here are the highlights of the many "relaxed" rules (where have I heard that term?):

--No more penalties for accidentally moving a ball on the putting green or in searching for a ball

--Golfers may putt without having the flagstick attended or removed. A speed of play, play.

--Repairing spike marks and other damage on the putting green to be allowed. Not a speed of play helper.

--More red hazard lines to include desert areas and no penalty for touching the hazard in such an area, which also includes moving loose impediments.

--In bunkers, no penalty for touching loose impediments or for touching the sand with a hand or club. Still no grounding the club next to the ball or in front of the ball. We'll call this the Anna rule.

--We trust you, we really really trust you rules. This is a video evidence situation again, allowing for "reasonable judgement" when estimating point of entry drops, etc...

--Reduced time for searching for a lost ball from five down to three minutes

--You can keep playing a damaged club during a round. No penalty for an altered club, even if you wrapped it around a tree in a childish hissy-fit.

--Use of distance measuring devices permitted at all times, except by Local Rule (this should be fun for Augusta and the PGA Tour).

--No more caddies lining up players before a shot. This was almost strictly an LPGA Tour problem.

--A new “Maximum Score” form of stroke play, where your score can be capped to a number set by the Committee. In this proposed format you can pick up and move to the next hole when your score "will be at or above the maximum."

--New presentation of how the rules are presented

--New "plain" language in the writing of the rules

So what stands out?

For my money, the positives are various headache situations in everyday tournament golf coming to an end.

The use of rangefinders will be applauded, hailed and declared the key to speeding up the game. Little difference will be seen, but at least we'll be able to put another savior to bed on the pace of play front.

The ability to repair "spike" marks in a sport almost devoid of spikes contradicts the efforts to speed up the sport and appears to be mostly for tour players.

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