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John Renslow: Something to learn in every round

Readers of this column have been made aware that there is something to be learned from virtually every round of golf. Sometimes a given round will be chock full of intellectual nuggets.

We have covered Phil Mickelson’s historic week and his recent meditation techniques that put his mind in the best position for success.

Now, let’s look at a couple of scenarios from that final round that may help your game. We’ll hit one this week and another next week.



It’s been a while since we have seen large areas of sand played as “waste areas.” Were you to locate your ball within a bunker, a hazard, there are several considerations. Our club cannot make contact with the sand during practice swings. This could be used to test the surface and is not allowed.

It is protocol to rake bunkers after playing your shot, returning the surface to a relatively level area for other players.



However, these areas of sand that look just like a bunker, yet are actually not bunkers, allow players to hit the sand during practice swings. However, if the sand is not raked, a ball can find a heel print.

One question is — how much does it help to take practice swings and make contact with the surface prior to hitting your shot? This would be an interesting statistic, and I will see if I can get it for you. Was the percentage of “up and down” or so-called Sand Saves greater in the PGA Championship versus other events?

Another interesting Rules of Golf issue was on the back-nine when Phil and his fellow competitor, playing partner Brooks Koepka, were in the same sandy area within a few feet of each other.

One player being left-handed and the other right-handed caused a situation in which each would have to step on the other’s ball in order to play.

So, this was a good, educational moment. Phil was able to mark the location and lift his ball while Brooks played. Then, as a result of Brooks’ stance and swing affecting the area of sand, Phil is allowed to re-create the area, prior to Brooks’ shot.

Phil placed his ball as near the original location as possible and played.

It’s not romantic, but it is important. We don’t have rules officials on the course with us. Shoot, most of us don’t have a Rules of Golf Book in our bag. (If you don’t have one, get one.) So, the more we know, the better for our game, not to mention our relationship with other players.

If we pay attention, we will learn something new in every round of golf.

John Renslow is a PGA professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses

John Renslow

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