ORLANDO, Fla. -- "It's OK, golf is about fun."
This simple approach underscores a Golf Channel series of segments called Relaxed Rules, which debuted on Morning Drive with the help of Charlie Rymer and Matt Ginella, who are serving as the leading voices for this series that boils golf down to just seven common sense rules.
After Golf Channel's widely praised Pace of Play series that Rymer and Ginella spearheaded in 2013, the Relaxed Rules series is the next phase of network's Pace of Play and Grow the Game efforts. In preparation for this series, Golf Channel commissioned research that revealed 85 percent of avid golfers and lapsed golfers are in favor of specific "relaxed rules" for recreational play.
"When there's nothing on the line but fun, recreational golf should be an enjoyable experience," said Rymer, former PGA TOUR player and co-host of Morning Drive. "Trying to remember and decipher the official rules can get in the way of a good time."
"We're not suggesting that golfers ignore the official rules. They should continue to be used for any type of competitive play," said Ginella, co-host of Morning Drive and senior travel editor for GolfAdvisor.com. "But when it's a match among friends, Relaxed Rules can make the game easier, faster and more fun. These simply are common sense practices for avid amateurs, and it's how the majority of the game is being played anyway."
These unofficial Relaxed Rules are simple and short - seven rules for the vast majority of recreational golfers who just want to enjoy a round of golf with a spouse, family members, friends, etc. - and they govern all play:
MAXIMUM SCORE: double par (i.e. 6 on par-3s, 8 on par-4s….)
PENALTIES: all are 1 stroke, including out of bounds, water and lateral hazards, lost ball and unplayable lie. Drop a ball near where the original was lost and play on.
SEARCH TIME: 2 minutes to look for your ball. If lost, proceed under Rule #2.
UNFORTUNATE LIES: with your playing partners' consent, balls may be dropped out of divots or footprints, away from tree roots and any other dangerous lies.
CONCEDED PUTTS: putts may be conceded with your playing partners' consent.
EQUIPMENT: no restrictions, including number of clubs.
COMMON SENSE: when in doubt, use common sense and fairness.
Relaxed Rules are being supported by Golf Channel on air, online and through social media, featuring the #GolfIsFun hashtag and GolfChannel.com's Growing the Game page. A collection of videos featuring "Doctor" Charlie Rymer, who claims a PhD in Relaxed Rules, and Matt Ginella, as the hapless Knucklehead who is consumed by what he sees "on Tour," will highlight situations on the golf course when Relaxed Rules can help alleviate confusing situations and speed up play. Each video will premiere on Morning Drive, which is serving as the on-air hub for the campaign. Morning Drive also will feature expert guests, who will provide commentary and strike compelling discussion about how these Relaxed Rules are good for the game.
Golf Channel Communications