New rules for senior golfers?

September 2, 2021

Two weeks ago, I turned 74, and I am more than ready for new rules for senior golfers. 

I have said for years that senior recreational golfers should not be held to the high standards of young men and women who took up golf at an early age, received lesson after lesson, and carry the most advanced clubs and range finders the world has ever seen.

So I agreed with Jim Duvall, who writes for, when he announced potential rule changes he would like to see be made by the USGA for seniors over age 55.

Rule 1.a.5

A ball sliced or hooked into the rough shall be lifted and placed on the fairway at a point equal to the distance it carried or rolled into the rough with no penalty. The senior player should not be penalized for tall grass which groundskeepers failed to mow.

Rule 2.d.6 (B)

A ball hitting a tree shall be deemed NOT to have hit the tree. This is simply bad luck, and luck has no place in a scientific game. The senior player must estimate the distance the ball would have traveled if it had not hit the tree, and play the ball from there.

Rule 3.B.3 (G)

There shall be no such thing as a lost ball. The missing ball is on or near the course, and will eventually be found and pocketed by someone else, thereby making it a stolen ball. The senior player is not to compound the felony by charging himself with a penalty.

Rule 4.c.7 (h)

If a putt passes over a hole without dropping, it is deemed to have dropped. The Law of Gravity supersedes the Rules of Golf.

Rule 5.

Putts that stop close enough to the cup that they could be blown in, may be blown in. This does not, however, apply to balls more than three inches from the hole. No one wants to make a mockery of the game.

Rule 6.a.9 (k)

There is no penalty for so-called “out of bounds.” If penny-pinching golf course owners bought sufficient land, this would not occur. The senior player deserves an apology, not a penalty.

Rule 7.G.15 (z)

There is no penalty for a ball in a water hazard, as golf balls should float. Senior players should not be penalized for any shortcomings of the manufacturers.

Rule 8.k.9 (S)

Advertisements claim that golf scores can be improved by purchasing new golf equipment. Since this is financially impractical for many senior players, one-half stroke per hole may be subtracted for using old equipment.

Now, if we go one step further, I would like to see these proposed new rule changes made on existing golf courses or implemented on new courses, just for golfers over age 55, with the following personal recommendations:

There should be a senior scorecard with large type and numbers for yardage, par and handicap. Also, a large No. 2 pencil with a good eraser that you can find easily attached to the steering wheel.

The seniors’ par will be 90 per 18 holes for players ages 50-70; 100 for ages 71-99, and free golf for anyone age 100 or over.

You may tee up your ball on the fairway or rough at any time, especially in the winter.

Every cart should have a heart defibrillator and a Go To Clubhouse button on the GPS screen, as well as a Locate Porta-john button. Every tee box should have a tee helper who will wash your ball, give you the distance to the hole, bunkers or water, and tee up your ball for you.

There should be bathrooms on even-numbered holes and refreshments on odd-numbered holes.

The size of each golf hole should be expanded from 4.25 inches to the size of a Frisbee (not sure what that is in inches, but it will reduce lip-outs on putts).

A foursome cannot have more than eight players, unless you have an even number of players who would like to join your eightsome.

19th Hole Trivia

• Country-western singer Willie Nelson owns a golf course and has a sign in the pro shop which reads, “No more than 14 players in your foursome.”

• On Father’s Day weekend in 2012, playing with my son, I scored my only hole-in-one to date, on hole No. 8, pictured on this page. Time spent with him … priceless.

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