19th Hole: Rules of Golf Clear On What a Stroke Is
Every golfer has started to swing at the ball and been distracted by an unexpected sound or movement.
We've all seen Tiger Woods stop in mid-swing and his caddie glare at a photographer who snapped a camera too soon.
As long as you're able to stop your swing before it makes contact with the ball, it is not considered a stroke under the Rules of Golf. An example follows:
Definition: What is a stroke?: A "stroke" is the forward movement of the club with the intention of fairly striking at and moving the ball.
The key words are "forward" and "intention." The following is a hypothetical decision having to do with whether a stroke is really a stroke and should be counted.
Situation: David Stanfield addressed his ball and began the forward movement of the club with the intention of hitting the ball. But one of his playing companions accidentally banged his club against a cart and the startled Stanfield stopped his swing before making contact. Must he count this as a stroke?
Decision: Since his intention to move the ball died before he was able to move it, Stanfield did not have to count the partial swing as a stroke.
Best Tip: One of the best tips I've ever had came from CBS-TV analyst Ken Venturi more than two decade ago.
Like a lot of other "average" golfers I had this fear of bunker shots. I knew I was supposed to hit behind the ball, but I never seemed to be able to judge just how much sand I should take to make the shot work. The results were everything from skulls to fat to downright embarrassing.
Venturi's advice was simple and to the point. He demonstrated the proper stance, with the feet aimed left of the target, then said, "Picture the ball sitting on a tee in the sand. Then try to clip the tee from underneath the ball without the club touching the ball."
It worked the first time I tried it, and after a few practice swings in a bunker to gain confidence, I have not feared the dreaded sand shot since.
Trivia: 1. Which famous baseball player once said, "It took me 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf courses?"
2. What year was the first Ryder Cup played?
3. In regard to the game of golf, what famous NFL quarterback once said, "Swing hard in case you hit it."
4. Who made the longest putt in U.S. Open history in 1991?
5. Whose first major title was the 1989 PGA Championship?
6. The first British Open, played in 1860, consisted of how many holes?
1. Hank Aaron
3. Dan Marino
4. Payne Stewart
5. Payne Stewart
6. 36, three rounds of 12 holes each.
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