Time Travelers 

Tom Velarde
Golf Professional
Black Mesa Golf Club
La Mesilla, AZ

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I have been reading the new rules of golf and realized that the groups that play on a regular basis at most clubs must be time travelers. 

My buddy Hank, of whom I have spoken many times, must have been the lobby for the new drop rule and the OB rule change (used as a local rule). His drop was always a hip high toss and his answer to OB. I am going to play it from where I think it went out, you good with that? Well no, I was not, but after many games his comment of how many times can I lose the same hole in match play on the same day and take me to the golf court if you want I don’t care. 

Ernie another regular was the first to implement the repair on the green. He would routinely fix anything on a green, when you complained this was not in the spirit of the game and a penalty he would fix damage on your putting line. I can never recall anyone saying much about this. I once asked him if it was fair to the groups ahead of us, as they could not fix the damage. His answer, “They may have been the ones who did the damage and did not fix it”. 

The group always had an answer for the 5-minute Rule, after a courteous look by all, most of the group moved on as their golf balls were also lost and the cackling from the group on the tee box to move on had started. Normally, if one person took the full five minutes he had to walk as the other guy in the cart was moving on. As John Pinette says, “Get out of the line”.

Same thing was happening in hazards (I do love the way this has changed to penalty area, which now may include the National Hockey League, for golf this would be great a penalty box). Most groups agreed on what was fair and would not cause bodily harm to the player. After all, it took a long time to develop a group and to lose one player because you wanted to see them break a club on the big rock was just wrong. So most agreed to just move the rock. 

Embedded balls were always an issue, what was closely mown area, and is there a constant height for closely mown? Augusta National closely mown is quite different from a municipal. The wording has changed to “general area” which to most of us means if we can find the ball.   

At morning coffee, I asked some of the guys if they had read the new Rules? Hank gave me the stink eye and asked why he would read them…he had me. So, I went through the changes one by one and answered questions as best as possible. Please remember some guys don’t have just a cup of coffee (like Irish coffee). They, for the most part, just looked at me with a quiet stare. “That’s the way we play now, you mean everyone else is going to play that way?” Yes, I answered, they just giggled and went on about world affairs. This is what happens when you play with time travelers, they are always ahead of the game. 

See you all on the course, rulings just got a lot easier.

Tom Velarde is a Golf Professional at Black Mesa Golf Club in Espanola, New Mexico, just northwest of Santa Fe. For more information or to reach Tom, email tvelarde@blackmesagolfclub.com.