Rules of GolfYES. If I were to take a wild guess on how many amateurs have read the entire 210 brain-numbing pages in “The Official Rules of Golf” I’d say thirty percent. How many understand the rules? None, including me!

After playing the game (poorly) for decades I admit to only knowing the major rules involving out of bounds, hazards, unplayable lies, wrong ball, bunkers and drop areas. I have no effing clue what an “outside agency” is. Do you call them to collect on winning bets? What dope came up with the term “through the green?” And, is it necessary for the rule book to confuse us with words like rough, semirough, fringe, collar, first-cut, loose impediments, movable and immovable obstructions. Care to guess what “abnormal ground conditions” are? Two things are certain when I stand on the first tee. First, the over/under is 88 and the best bet is to take the over. Second, I carry a rules book in my bag but don’t ask me any rules questions, because they are too damn complicated for me to understand. I can’t imagine what a shwag like Tim Geary would do if his ball came to rest against a rake in a bunker. Can knowing the rules make a difference with a duck hooker or deep-rough thrasher?

This sport consists of way too many rules for my simple mind. Rule 1-1 states “…playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.” I’m getting a migraine already. When was the last time you had a conversation about course rating or slope rating? Few human beings know anything about this topic. Another bizarre term I’ve heard before and again have no idea what it means…“rub of the green.”

The nitwits at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland and the USGA have concocted rules using language that few of us understand, unless of course, you hold an MBA from Harvard. The game is hard enough without confusing us with batty commandments, nitpicking definitions, idiotic distinctions and blatant contradictions. The ancient and unhonorable Tim Geary thinks the rules are easy to understand because he takes mulligans, gimmes and has been known to apply the Geary Rules of Golf. Did you search unsuccessfully for your ball in the fairway? Don’t panic. All you have to do is declare that it’s Ball Missing in Fairway but Obviously Not Lost and drop another ball in the approximate spot that the original ball must have come to rest.

Not only are the rules too confusing for amateurs but apparently Tiger Woods also needs a refresher course. Who would have thought Woods did not know where to drop after hitting his ball into a pond at the 15th hole in round two at The Masters. Wow, the world’s best player and his caddy didn’t know the rule? Most players learn the rules the hard way when a violation occurs that involves them, and subsequently, a disqualification. We will never know why the green jackets at the Masters did not DQ Woods for that rules violation.

So is there anyone other than Tim Geary who believes the rules are not complicated? That guy should pull himself away from watching reruns of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Finally, you know the rules of golf are complicated and problematic and in need of interpretation when there are a number of books published with titles such as “The Rules of Golf in Plain English” and “Golf Rules & Etiquette Crystal Clear” and “Simplifying the Rules of Golf.”

(Tom Gorman dislikes following a hairsplitting set of golf rules drafted by a bunch of fussbudget country club WASPs who think that pink and lime green are complimentary colors.)