Life is full of do's and don'ts. Don't do drugs. Don't spit on the sidewalk. Don't lob your bowling ball. Don't bend over and pass gas in a woman's clothing store. Don't ever ask my wife about that last one, etc. Do's would include: Do good in school. Do eat your vegetables. Do love your neighbor. Do carry a semi-automatic pistol. Do wave it at passing motorists as they cut you off. At most courses in most regions, the game of golf has its own do's and don'ts as well. Sometimes they call these the "Local Rules."
Growing up in the country, you learn the rules quick. Or in my case, after a hoof in the teeth, setting the barn on fire, torturing rats (which is quite difficult), and after receiving quite a few good ol' fashioned beatings from objects you've probably never even heard of, you slowly begin to catch on to a few of the "local rules."
I'll never forget the day Willy, one of my elementary school buddies, showed up one morning with his eye black, blue, bloody and swollen shut. It was quite a sight for a third grader. The girls screamed and ran away. They guys went, "Ah ya! Awesome! Dude, that looks sooo cool!" Poor Willy had taken a golf club in the eye. In reality, it was a very sick sight, and thankfully, Willy made it through OK...kind of. Hitting people in the eye with a six iron is blatantly disobeying an unwritten "local rule" which golfers need to adhere to. This, however, would likely be considered a "local rule" that would be applicable in many different geographical regions. Other "local rules" may be relevant only to specific geological territories.
For example, here might be some "local rules," which you may find in these particular areas...
Golf Courses In L.A. - "After shooting the foursome behind you because they've hit too close to your group or simply just looked at you the wrong way, please clean up the bodies and empty bullet casings quickly so as not to disrupt play more than necessary."
Golf Courses In Alaska - "In case of a grizzly attack, don't play dead, run like hell. Or is it don't run like hell, play dead? Either way, please don't use our expensive club rentals to thwart off a bear."
Golf Courses In Canada - "People drinking too much Moosehead will be asked to leave the course upon which they should go straight to the hockey game and act like idiots all they want."
Golf Courses In Scotland - "Gentlemen wearing plaid skirts must also wear underwear."
Golf Courses In Miami - "Please exit the green quickly after you have finished smoking crack, smack, or whatever else you've got stashed in your golf bag."
Golf Courses In Germany - "Schtompen on das grün und das schnitzel ist verbotten."
Golf Courses In Mexico - "Please bribe the course marshal, golf pro, and starter to increase your chances of a better tee time, improved service, reduced fines, etc. American currency only please."
Golf Courses In Russia - "Please no radioactive or nuclear charged golf balls."
Golf Courses In India - "In cases where we get hit with one of those freakin' monsoons, the course will not issue any rainchecks."
Golf Courses In Tibet - "Golfers using yaks, sherpas, donkeys, monks, or any other type of dung producing mammal as a caddy, are responsible to clean up after their hired help. (This would include raking hoof prints, removing hairballs off greens and fairways, bagging waste, etc.)"
Golf Courses In The Antarctica - "Don't lick your golf clubs."
Do yourself a favor and respect the local rules of the particular golf course where you're playing at. Oh, and if you ever see a Paraguayan guy running around with a glass eye, that's likely my buddy Willy. You can say hi to him, but whatever you do, don't shake your six iron in front of his face - all you'd see would be a cloud of smoke heading the direction of Paraguay.
Andrew Penner is a longtime member of the Canadian PGA. Author of "One Flew Over the Caddyshack," he also writes for a number of magazines throughout Canada and the U.S.
We all love golf course rankings, but there's quite a bias involved, huh? Host a major championship and you're basically guaranteed a spot on the list. What about the average duffer who's more impressed with the beer list than the slope/rating - or prefers friendliness over the fine, imported lotion in the locker room? Where's our list, hackers? Answer: Right here.
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