The Twelve Holes of Christmas
CWDGA thanks the Oregon Golf Association and particularly, Pete Scholz and Terry McEvilly, for granting permission to reprint their most clever"Twelve Holes of Christmas".
On the first hole of Christmas, my ball came to rest embedded in a pear, on the ground, under a Partridge sitting in a pear tree in the general area. Sorry, no free gift in Santa's Rules bag for the ball embedded in the pear and the ball must either be played as it lies, or declared unplayable, as the ball is not embedded in the ground but rather a loose impediment.
On the second hole of Christmas, my back swing could possibly damage the nest of two Turtle Doves. Since animal habitat is considered ground under repair, I get to take free and complete relief by dropping a ball within one club-length of the nearest spot, no closer to the hole, where I can make my swing without disturbing the nest.
On the third hole of Christmas, after my ball came to rest on the fringe of the putting green, three French Hens arrived and began scratching the ground near my ball and deposited loose soil on my ball. I can mark, lift, clean the ball and restore the condition that was present when my ball came to rest. I replace the ball on the original spot and hole out from the fringe. This is a permitted activity, courtesy of the Rules elves.
On the fourth hole of Christmas, my approach shot over a yellow penalty area lands on the green but spins back off the green and into water in the yellow penalty area. Unsure if I can play from the putting green side of the penalty area or if I am required to play over the penalty area again, I quickly look around for a referee. My eye spots four Calling Birds in the gallery that are phoning in to the pro shop for instructions. The pro says “no Christmas present here” and correctly informs them that when taking relief from the yellow penalty area, I must play again from the tee side of the penalty area.
On the fifth hole of Christmas, before teeing off I placed five Golden Rings around the shaft of my driver and made a practice swing with the extra weight on the driver. The pesky Calling Birds from the fourth hole of Christmas squawked that I wasn't allowed to do that and I received two lumps of coal in my stocking to match my two penalty strokes.
On the sixth hole of Christmas, my ball came to rest on the putting green where six Geese had been a-laying down poop. Not wanting to soil my own towel, I quickly grabbed one of the other player's towels to sweep off the green. Since dung is considered a loose impediment, it may be removed in any manner, provided that the area of intended stance, swing or line of play is not improved beyond what would be considered reasonable actions to remove the loose impediments.
On the seventh hole of Christmas, my ball came to rest in a red penalty area. Not wanting to disturb the seven Swans-a-Swimming nearby, I take penalty relief and drop a ball on the opposite side of the penalty area using a reference point that is the same distance from the hole as where the ball last crossed the edge of the penalty area before coming to rest within. My actions put me back on Santa's naughty list as this procedure is only available if the Committee in charge of the competition is feeling generous this Christmas and has added this Local Rule for the competition.
On the eighth hole of Christmas, I arrive at the putting green to find that eight Maids a Milking have spilled eight pails of milk on the green leaving a puddle between my ball and the hole. Unsure if there is free relief for temporary milk on my line of play, I decide to play two balls to complete the play of the hole because the day's format is stroke play. I would have been crying over spilled milk had the format been match play as playing two balls in match play and getting a ruling later is only permitted in stroke play.
On the ninth hole of Christmas, after sinking a putt to put a snowman on the scorecard, nine Ladies Dancing with pom poms mockingly cheered my accomplishment. I lift my ball from the hole, sign it and graciously hand it to one of the lovely ladies. I substitute another ball for the original which is always allowed when beginning play of a new hole, or when dropping a ball to take free or penalty relief.
On the tenth hole of Christmas, while making an approach shot from the fairway, I was distracted by ten Lords a Leaping and prancing about in the fairway and through my line of play. An attempt to calm them down proved futile and the other players in my group correctly reminded me that distractions are part of the game and that I must not delay play. I make my stroke in under 40 seconds, which is the recommended maximum amount of time allowed to make a stroke.
On the eleventh hole of Christmas, I have decided to play a bit of music. Since I bring my own music along with me – In this case eleven Pipers Piping – and the piping was done for my own enjoyment and listening pleasure, there is no breach of the Rules. But please note that some clubs and competitions do prohibit the playing of music on the course, piping or otherwise.
On the twelfth hole of Christmas, my swing rhythm began to break down. In an attempt to complete the round with a good score, I instruct twelve Drummers Drumming to beat out a steady tempo so I can get my rhythm back. But instead of restored rhythm, I received two more lumps of coal and two penalty strokes for playing music in a way that breaches the Rules.
Before starting the thirteenth hole of Christmas, the general manager of the golf course arrived to escort me and my disorderly entourage of 23 birds and 50 people from the course. Merry Christmas.