Already in the 18th century began to write the rulebook for golf games. Since then, this manual has been revised and expanded, and in 2019 there was again a new update. However, some of the rules seem quite bizarre at first glance. If an individual case happens that is unexplained, a new rule is often written for similar problems in the future, but may never be used again afterwards. Nevertheless, these funny rules remain and make one or the other reader smile. For example, what do you do if there is a wild crocodile next to the ball? We clarify!
The ball in the tree
If a ball lands in a tree, players can declare it unplayable. What follows is a penalty stroke, where the ball may be hit next to the tree. However, many players would like to avoid penalty shots with difficulty. Those who are willing to climb the tree and make their shot from here actually have every right to do so. Former player Bernhard Langer also made use of this right when his golf ball got stuck in branches during a game. The wild climbing action made many fans laugh, but was worth it for him.
Wild animals on the course
When European players read about golf rules on animals, they are more likely to think of the stray cow or a skittish deer lost on the green. On other continents, however, this does not look quite so harmless. Especially for golf courses in Africa and Australia, the next rule is therefore not so unimportant. If your own golf ball lands near a crocodile or alligator, you may drop another ball at the same distance from the hole and continue playing. Hippos are also included in this rule. So putting your own life in danger for the passion of golf is fortunately not required.
Spiny cacti as obstacles
Participants in the Race to Dubai 2020 may already encounter a cactus or two on the golf course, as the plants thrive particularly well in the desert city. If the ball does not land directly in the cactus, but only in the immediate vicinity, the player must play it as it lies. If this means that players get caught in the spines of the cactus, they are still not allowed to change the position of the ball. The only action allowed is that golfers may wrap a towel around their body to protect themselves. The cactus itself may not be covered. Whether the “cactus factor” will actually have an impact at the Dubai Games is questionable, however. In the Race to Dubai, which will take place in 2020, Jon Rahm is therefore the current top favorite for the title with odds of 4.00 (as of Dec. 16), closely followed by Rory McIlroy. So it will certainly be very exciting again!
Ball theft by feathered friends
Golf courses are very idyllic, quiet places where only the chirping of birds and the swings of the clubs echo through the air. Rarely, however, it can happen that one of the cute fluttering birds wants to snatch a ball as prey. Should this happen, the rules of course have the appropriate answer ready. If a golf ball is moved by a bird or even completely stolen, the old position must be estimated and a new ball positioned in the same place. A bizarre case, which perhaps does not occur so rarely. Some golf rules sound so strange that one may not believe them. However, these cases have occurred at least once – no matter whether a hippo is resting on the golf course or a thieving magpie takes off with the ball! Golf really never gets boring!