Why Rules? …Par 5

“One Game…For over 500 years, golf has provided an endless allure for competitive and recreational golfers alike. Its challenge and camaraderie bring out the best in all participants, and create a genuine and lasting pact among those who play. Its mastery is a lifelong pursuit.

One Spirit…Since their beginnings, The R&A and United States Golf Association have shared a singular passion for the game of golf. Their adoption of a single set of Rules established a common code by which all of golf is played worldwide. More than just a Rules book, it helps inform and guide a game that always seeks to challenge and inspire.”

So says the beginning passages of the R&A/USGA Rules of Golf, 33rd Edition, effective January 2016. (1)

                                Medinah #3 Hole 17 Medinah Country Club – Photographer unknown

One of the things I love about the game of golf is that it uses one book of rules to provide unified direction to the sport worldwide for the benefit of all golfers. As one who has had the opportunity to play the game on multiple continents, it is settling to know that, whether the course is measured in yards or meters, or I have trouble understanding the language, I can take comfort in knowing that we are all playing by the same set of rules.

Imagine if we were each allowed to make our own rules for Golf.  If I had my way here is what the rules of golf would say:

Use whatever club you choose.  Follow your ball to wherever it goes and play it from where it comes to rest. Finish with the ball in the cup. Count all your strokes. In all cases do what is fair with your playing partners. Enjoy yourself and leave the hole in good shape for those coming behind you.  L.G.

Brilliant! Sounds fairly simple and reasonable if you ask me.   However, you may not like my rules and prefer to establish your own rules instead.  That also sounds reasonable. But, much as I might like you, I am confident that your rules would not be quite as good nor have the artistic simplicity that mine have. So let’s just go with mine.  Okay?

Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?  I mean, we already have a set of rules for golf and a governing body of the game that have been in existence since the 17th century that are recognized to be the standard for the game world wide.  Who would ever be so ignorant as to assume they could or should strike out on their own with their own set of rules?

Well, yours truly, in an obvious state of disequilibrium for nearly two decades of my “adult” life, put forth the preposterous notion that “I make my own rules”-not about Golf but about life itself! As you might imagine, The results—economically, socially and spiritually—were catastrophic, not only for me but those closest to me as well.

As I have become a more seasoned individual—notice I didn’t say older—I have had to come to grips with the fact that “Rules” provide for a common ground in which sanity and order can exist and are generally intended for the common good. Therefore I need to invite more input into my life direction than that which I derive solely on my own. I have found I can easily make a disaster of my life by continuing to live by “Larry’s Rules.”

I believe rules are what give us a road map to peace, satisfaction, and even joy. “Rules” provide the conduit for community. That’s why all games, including the Game of Life, have rules. Without them we would have hopeless and helpless chaos.

TV golf analysts Peter Kostis is fond of saying at the end of his commentaries “…If you are going to play the game, you have to know the rules.” I have come to believe that his comment holds water, regardless the setting or scenario. We cannot get away from “the rules.” The question is which rules will you and I choose to live by?

Since those sad years of my self-delusion, I have been introduced to, and found great joy and satisfaction in following, a set of rules, set forth by the creator of all things and found  in my favorite book—My Bible. In it are very clear directives and guidance on how to live successful and joy filled lives in community with one another and the one who made us.

The most inspiring and challenging guidance I have received, coming from my Bible, is simple, straightforward and all encompassing. It says:

“‘You must love the lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”  Matt 22:37-40 (NLT)    

Remember Mr Kostis challenge to us all: ”If you are going to play the game you have to know the rules”

The Tee Box of Life is open.  It’s your choice and, it’s always your turn.  Whose rules will you choose to live by?

(1.) The rules of golf are jointly written and administered by the R&A (spun off from The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, in Scotland) the governing body of golf worldwide except in the United States and Mexico, which are the responsibility of the United States Golf Association (USGA).

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rudolf Hebling on March 14, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Yeah! another one!

    Congratulations!

    Rudi >

    Reply

  2. Posted by Craig on March 16, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Thanks Larry. Your words always leave me thinking and praying. God bless.

    Reply

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