John Renslow: Plenty of good events coming up |

John Renslow: Plenty of good events coming up

One purpose of this column is to answer your questions. Golf can be simple from a certain point of view (after all, we are trying to advance a ball with a stick). However, in order to fully enjoy the game, for recreation or competition, there are many, almost countless details and nuances that can be learned. It seems that the more we learn, the more intriguing, the more amusing it becomes.

Whether in person or letter (e-mail), we receive many questions. Several of these queries may have general interest (or may be generally humorous) and those would be beneficial to answer here.

Also, I would like to announce that July is Family Golf Month. The goal is to encourage families to play golf together and bring new family members of any age to the course. This program is inspired by “Play Golf America,” which is an organization/online resource launched by the PGA of America that encourages growth of the game with the support of allied associations including: the LPGA, the National Golf Course Owner’s Association, the PGA Tour, and the USGA. You can find participating facilities by going online to

A feature of the month that is close to my heart is “Take Your Daughter to the Course Week.” The second week of July golf courses will host playing opportunities and free clinics for young ladies across the country. Next week, Get Into Golf (this column) will bring you more information about local facilities and what they have to offer.

Now, let us return to one of our questions. Imagine that you are on a vibrant, green golf course, fairways are defined by beach, and palm trees line the greens. Your tee shot travels a little left of perfect and bounds down the slope toward small inlet of water, nearly hidden by a grouping of palms.

Your stroll down the fairway ends as you turn to locate your rebellious golf ball. Hmmm, we don’t see it on the grass, even the taller stuff. It must be down there near the water. There it is, now we can see it. It’s on dry land and we might be able to play it. Uh oh.

An ominous sound has just revealed a foreboding creature. And it’s getting closer to your golf ball. It might be that a six-foot alligator has already eaten breakfast, but you just don’t want to take that chance. However, this shot is important, we’re having the round of our life and we don’t want to abandon the ball, we would incur a penalty shot. Or do we?


The USGA’s Decision on the Rules of Golf covers just this type of situation. According to Rule 1-4/10, if a player’s ball comes to rest in a position that is dangerous to the player, the player may, without penalty, drop a ball on the nearest spot (not nearer to the hole) that is not dangerous. Then keep playing. No penalty.

Of course, we won’t see too many alligators in our neck of the woods. But, you never know when you might encroach on a rattlesnake or a bee’s nest may not be too far away. The good news is that you’re covered under the rules. Sometimes we look at a set of rules as if they would be too confining. Often times, with the Rules of Golf, they can help us out of a predicament.

John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at

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