Viet Nam News
By Robert Bicknell
First off, thank you to everyone who took the time to send me a birthday greeting (July 4) through social media, sms and email. I highly appreciated it despite the fact that I am now a year older and closer to finishing my back 9 holes than the year before. Fortunately, I plan on playing 36 holes so don’t expect to get rid of me that easily.
I haven’t seriously quacked in quite a while, so as a birthday present to myself, I figure why not? Forget the medication for a few hours and let loose. Ya know… be myself.
And away we go….
When you take a holiday, you are supposed to relax and do things that you don’t normally do during the time you’re working. Unfortunately, with the advent of smart phones, you are really never away from the office and your staff can reach out and harass you wherever you are on the planet.
I am beginning to think the only place I can have a peaceful holiday is on the moon because Viettel signals cannot reach there, but with my luck my office would have the clowns at NASA send a probe with a repeating message for me… Call the club, call the club, call the club…
There is no escape.
Last week, I mentioned a situation where a player complained about OB stakes behind a green and claimed that it should be removed. This way, if the ball is lost in the heavy vegetation, the player can claim a lost ball, take a drop and claim two strokes instead of taking a stroke and distance penalty.
He claims he can do this because “his friend, who also plays golf, said so”.
One of the biggest problems facing golf in Vietnam is the utter lack of knowledge when it comes to rules. Most players have no idea what the rules are, nor do they care. Many learned the rules from their friends, who learned them from another friend…none of who bothered to ever read a rule book.
OK, regarding the lost ball scenario: He said, he could take a drop and count two strokes in lieu of stroke and distance. Well, this is wrong and will get you disqualified in a tournament.
One reason why it is wrong is that to take a drop under penalty, you first have to determine where the ball is or where it entered the hazard. As the words “Lost Ball” implies you have no earthly idea where the hell the ball is, how can you take a drop within two club lengths? As the area was behind the green, the actual location where the ball entered is not known either. It could have taken a bounce in any direction before entering the hazard. Ergo, the ball is lost.
Thus, you cannot take a drop because you wouldn’t know where to drop from. Pure and simple.
This, of course, is strict interpretation of the rules and will be applied during a tournament or any event organized under USGA / R&A rules. Here in Vietnam, the VGA (Vietnam Golf Association) follows R&A, so players would be expected to follow the rules. This especially applies to Club Championships.
There are few things in life more embarrassing than getting disqualified (DQ’d) from a tournament for not knowing the rules. There is simply no excuse to not know them. You can download free copies of the rules from the R&A and USGA websites, and there are many local web pages devoted to it. There is even a Facebook page in Vietnam which discusses the rules in depth.
Again, no excuse whatsoever for not knowing the rules.
Having said that, if you are just playing golf for fun with friends and not taking things seriously, I don’t see any reason why you have to follow every rule if you and the rest of your friends agree not to. The entire idea is to go and have fun. Sure, lose a ball or send one OB, drop close to the area and take two strokes instead of walking back. No problem.
Just don’t do it in a tournament.
Golf is suppose to be fun, but its also a test of character. People who cheat at golf have been known to cheat at almost everything else as well.
Just letting ya know… VNS