Archive for the ‘Rules of Golf’ Category

Golf Rules Seminar for High School Students & Parents

By: purgatorygolf on March 16th, 2013

Golf Rules

Wednesday March 20th 6:00-8:00


Conducted by Ryan Lambert, Director of Junior Golf Operations, Indiana Golf Foundation


Cost: $10.00 includes pizza and drinks


Available to: High school, coaches, players and any interested golfer or parent


Please RSVP to Purgatory Golf Club proshop, 317-776-4653 ext. 1.


Purgatory Insider Training

By: purgatorygolf on March 5th, 2013

Internal training, we’ll share with a few guests

The Golf Swing

by Mike Merchent, Director of Golf, he will select one volunteer, evaluate the swing impromptu, meaning on the spot, and make recommendations if appropriate to improve.

Rules of Golf

Head Professional, Jon Stutz, Jon will focus on rules that have been in the news when appropriate, otherwise he will take suggestions or use his best judgement as to what would be the most worth while.

Turf Care

James Brown will provide education on turf management, and where appropriate, reference the iBook Golf Course Management by Karl Danneberger, Ph.D.

Technology, photography

General Manager, Tenna Merchent will teach technology, iPhone photography, Pinterest, Blogging, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, and writing.


Tom Smith will provide culinary education, from food safety to wine appreciation.


March 12th, Tenna Merchent, Dropbox & 1password

March 19th off

March 26th Chef Tom, Food Safety

April 2nd, Mike Merchent, impromptu golf lesson with volunteer

April 9th Jon Stutz, Rules of Golf, water hazards

April 16th James Brown, Golf Course Management

Meeting time will be at 11:30 unless noted otherwise. We look forward to this weekly training geared to the continued development our staff, while keeping in mind what may interest our guests. Responsibility for topics and/or outside speakers will rotate through each leadership member. The training sessions will be limited to one hour. We are able to accommodate up to 20 outside guests. Sign up is by phone to the proshop at 317-776-4653 ext 1.








Currently the session will not be video taped, and we will not have remote participation. At a later time we may offer these options.


Here is the tentative schedule for the PGC insider training:


March 12th, Tenna Merchent Dropbox & 1password

March 19th off

March 26th Chef Tom, Food Safety

April 2nd, Mike Merchent impromptu golf lesson with volunteer

April 9th Jon Stutz, Rules of Golf, water hazards

April 16th James Brown Pythium Blight


PGA Tour Commissioner Announcement on Anchored Putting

By: purgatorygolf on February 26th, 2013

Aerial view of the putting green

PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem announced on Sunday during the Accenture Match Play Championship that:

“Essentially where the PGA TOUR came down was that they did not think that banning anchoring was in the best interest of golf or the PGA TOUR.  I would note that the PGA of America came to the same conclusion after consultation with their membership.  Golf Course Owners Association came to the same conclusion, as well.”

I could not have stated my concerns about the ban more clearly or succinctly than he did in that brief statement. (read his full interview)

He went on to point out that there is no data showing that anchoring provides an advantage. He also highlighted that many players have now ‘grown up’ on the anchored putting stroke.

The website has a well done series of articles on the subject, starting with one covering Commissioner Finchem’s announcement. There are links to more articles on the left hand side of the page that will give you a good representation of what PGA insiders are saying on the subject.

This debate has caused so much unnecessary controversy, and drama, when there are so many more important things we need to be addressing.

In an article by Steve Eubanks at he quotes Azinger as saying:

“It doesn’t make sense. You have drivers that you can change the loft, and the lie angle, and the how much hook or fade you want. But you’re going after a tiny percentage of people who use the bully putter?”

I truly hope the USGA and the R&A rethink and change their position on the anchored putter. I realize it might be embarrassing to change, but I’d rather be embarrassed than fight an unnecessary war with those I’m charged with governing.



Do You Care that Vijay took a Banned Substance?

By: purgatorygolf on February 1st, 2013

Do you care that Vijay took a banned substance?” A friend asked over dinner.

Yes, absolutely I care. We have a son that aspires to be a professional golfer. Vijay apparently didn’t know it was a banned substance, but if you look at the description of the product it sounds just like a steroid to me.


We have discussed steroid use a great deal with the recent Lance Armstrong controversy. Our 11-year-old son doesn’t understand why anyone would take a drug that is banned. My husband explains, “Steroids help you recover from injuries more quickly, feel less pain, build muscle, you can work out longer without feeling the pain or getting tired, you recover from your workouts more quickly, sort of like being the bionic man.” Who wouldn’t want to be the bionic man?

I vividly remember Lyle Alzado, the former football player coming forward about his steroid abuse. He humanized the problem when he explained the irresistible temptation to take a drug that could make you stronger, faster, bigger, more aggressive, and more competitive. Alzado believed his steroid abuse was the cause of his brain cancer that lead to his death at age 43.

Steroids are a modern miracle when used short term for a sick person. Long term they are dangerous. Even short term they can be dangerous because they deaden your sensitivity to pain. They must be used very carefully.

Deer antler spray

Deer antler spray is a banned product that contains IGF-1, which is an insulin like growth hormone that naturally occurs in the body. The company claims the spray has an anabolic or growth stimulation, and repairs muscle damage following exercise.

Lots of people say there is no research to support those statements, and that it can’t be taken orally, it has to be given through injections in order to work. I don’t know if it works, but if it does, it sounds just like steroids, it grows and repairs muscle.


In horse racing, they always test the winners, every winner, right after the race, and it’s a blood test. That makes sense to me. Apparently the PGA Tour doesn’t want to test blood because none of the other professional sports are testing blood. If the blood tests are more accurate, test the blood; don’t let the NFL be the role model. If Lyle Alzado were here today, he would beg you to test blood.

There are ways to game the system, but make it hard. Athletes have admitted they cannot resist the temptation to take a drug that will make them stronger. Help them resist the temptation.

Carl Pettersson Speaks up on the Belly Putter Debate

By: Tenna Merchent on January 3rd, 2013

Mike Merchent, Director of Golf here at Purgatory Golf Club is concerned that our, and really my, vocal stance against the banning of the belly putter may cause our club difficulty with the USGA in the long run. So I want to be clear, it is me, Tenna Merchent, that is voicing these objections. I can’t tell you how much it creeps me out to go out on this limb. But sometimes, you need to speak up.

There’s an article on the PGA website today where Carl Pettersson says the banning anchored strokes feels like a ”witch hunt.” I understand his statement. It does seem silly that they are banning it now because it has become so popular. That logic, well, it’s not logical.

Mr. Pettersson believes that the USGA & the R&A are doing this because 3 of the last 5 major champions using a belly putter. He further points out that the anchored belly putter is the only one he has used for his whole 10-year career on the PGA Tour. He’s going to have to learn to putt all over again. That doesn’t seem fair.

Some of the famous players in golf (like Tiger Woods) believe that anchoring provides an unfair advantage. I don’t agree, if it does, why don’t more people do it?

Then there are the amateurs on-line that are saying things like anchoring is cheating, and someone even yelled that out at a player during a tournament recently. One of the things I have always treasured about golf is it is a sport of gentlemen, and ladies. I would like to see us return to those roots. Where we treat each other with respect, give each other the benefit of the doubt, and allow creativity in the game of golf, and the golf swing.

Apparently PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem will not comment until a players’ meeting two weeks from now at Torrey Pines. I know many people are concerned that the PGA Tour will decide to diverge from the USGA on this matter and make their own rules. I personally hope the PGA Tour does say no to the USGA, because I want the USGA to change their position. So, now we wait to see what Mr. Finchem decides.


Pace of Play by Tee

By: Tenna Merchent on December 27th, 2012

Thanks to our friend Jeffery Passage, one of the things we have been investigating is pace of play by tee selection.

From the tee

When the USGA comes to our course, or any course for that matter, they rate each individual hole based on several parameters, and can tell us how long they believe it should take to play the course from each tee. Apparently all we had to do is ask for the information. So thank you to our local USGA, and I’m sorry we didn’t ask earlier.

But one of the interesting things to notice is, logically, the time to play the golf course is shorter for the far forward tees, at 3 hours 21 minutes, and the longest at the far back tees at 4 hours and 40 minutes.

The time it takes to play each hole varies also, from the back tees, they rate the short (time wise) hole as #17 saying it should only take 9 minutes to play with hole 13 being the longest at 21 minutes to play. This will help us a lot in explaining to players why it is so important to play from the proper tees, because it is our goal to keep every round to 4 1/2 hours or shorter in the the coming year.



Have you ever played a 6 hour round of golf?

By: Tenna Merchent on December 20th, 2012

Or a 7 hour round? It is exhausting.

The 1st time we played Pebble Beach it took over 6 hours. We were walking, and we waited on every single hole.

On another occasion, we were playing golf with a friend, who insisted on hitting a driver he couldn’t control, every time into the tall grass, and then spent 10 minutes looking for his ball on every shot. That round took over 7 hours. It was horrible.

Pebble Beach has now successfully gotten their rounds down to 4 1/2 hours. That is amazing, especially given that if you take a cart, it is cart path only. Last time we were there, we still waited on many holes, but the round was shortened by over 1 1/2 hours. That is a huge accomplishment.

I’ve also been on the other end of the stick. In junior golf tournaments, if your group isn’t playing quickly enough, you get a red card, and if you still have a red card at the end of the tournament, your player will receive a penalty stroke. This is incredibly stressful. They are working hard to control pace of play and have a whole series on it, you can read about it at

I’ve seen players take 3 practice strokes, then back away from the tee to check their alignment! I seriously want to scream. What on earth? While I detest government regulation, I would totally support a federal law that limits a player to 1 practice swing 😉

There are many things that contribute to pace of play, and we intend to cover them all over the next few weeks, because it is our lofty goal to follow in the footsteps of Pebble Beach and consistently keep our rounds at 4 1/2 hours starting this year. It can be done, but it will take constant diligence on our part. It will also require that we do an excellent job of educating both our staff, and our guests in the matter.

Is there an aspect of pace of play that you would like to see us address next?


Nobody thinks they are the slow players

By: Tenna Merchent on December 18th, 2012

Almost no one thinks they are slow players. According to the Pope of Slope, when asked players “How would you rate your own pace of play?”

  • 57.8 % said they were fast
  • 37.4% responded average, and a measly
  • 4.8% admitted they were slow

When asked “How would you rate most golfers’ pace of play?” they got a similar but reversed response.

  • 56.2% said slow
  • 41.8% answered average
  • 2.0% said fast

More than half of the respondents believed they were fast, and everyone else was slow.

This is just the beginning of our discussion on pace of play, but for the moment, I would ask, do you think you are a slow, average or fast player?A

PGA Concerned Ban will Reduce Enjoyment & Growth of the Game

By: Tenna Merchent on December 2nd, 2012

They gave two reasons for implementing the ban on anchored swings now when anchoring has been going on for at least 30 years:

  1. Because it has become so popular
  2. Because it is no longer being used as a last resort.

They also said “In no way do The R&A and the USGA want to stifle creativity in making strokes by golfers.” That sounds contradictory.

During the press conference they were asked about how this ban would impact the growth of the game. They gave a long-winded answer:

  • Yes, the game is shrinking in the States, Europe and Japan, but growing in other parts of the world
  • The cost and time it takes to play is a deterant
  • Difficulty is way down on the list of things that keeps people from playing
  • “So ultimately, we don’t think quitting the game or not playing the game is really an option when this comes to this anchored stroke.”

I don’t see how quitting the game better than using an anchored stroke?

They pointed out that sales of long putters have increased. The logical conclusion is sales will go down after the ban. I don’t see how that is good.

There is no evidence that anchoring affects performance or lowers scores, and they were very clear to say that performance was not a factor in their decision.

Maintaining the “spirit” of the game is the reason they used to justify this ban. In that spirit, we should still be playing with gutta percha balls, hickory staffs, and using sand instead of tees.

The PGA has over 27,000 members. They conducted a poll of their members on the subject prior to the announcement. Approximately 16%, or 4,228 people responded. That is a very high response rate. 63% of the people who responded oppose the ban because it will negatively impact both the enjoyment and growth of the game. You can read Ted Bishop’s letter to the President of the R&A and the Executive Director of the USGA here Bishop’s letter reflected well upon the golf community, he was respectful and a gentleman in great contrast to the behavior and comments made by the USGA & the R&A.

What the USGA & the R&A may not be saying is they do in fact think it gives someone an advantage, even though they can’t prove it. But if anchoring really gave you an advantage, even 1 single stroke in an 18 hole round, every single player on the tour would be using it.

If Tiger Woods or Rory McIlory were using an anchored stroke, I doubt they would be banning it. Mike is quick to point out to that Tiger is supportive of the ban. So Tiger will be happy, but what about the rest of us that don’t want the ban?

This may be the defining moment for Tim Finchem, the PGA Tour Commissioner. Will he roll over and just do what the USGA says, or will he stand up and say “No, I won’t let you take this away from my players!” The PGA Tour is the 800-pound gorilla. If they walk away from the USGA the rest of the world will follow.

Knowing the Rules Makes you a Stronger Competitor

By: Tenna Merchent on August 7th, 2012

At the golf tournament last week, a fellow competitor told us about a caddy they had played with last year that had been difficult. On every green, the caddy asked the better player to move his mark, even if it was not in the line of play. The player cooperated, but after the round asked a rules official if it was necessary to move your mark if you are not in the line of play.

The same group played together the following day, and when the caddy asked the player (who coincidentally was shooting the lowest score) to move his mark. He declined if it was not in the line of play. The caddy making the request was angry, but the rules were on the players side. This caddy may have been trying to compromise the better player’s focus. Now however, the player was armed with proper knowledge of the rules, and stood in a stronger position.

The USGA has a wonderful site with Rules & Decisions, FAQs about the Rules of Golf, Quizzes, all sorts of things to quench your thirst for knowledge.