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I am terminally ill. My incurable malady was passed on to me around the age of 8 by my unsuspecting father.
There are no specialists who can treat it and no medications that can even ease the symptoms very much. What is this disease? Well, since everything nowadays is a “syndrome,” this one can be dubbed: AGS, Acquired Golf Syndrome.
(Perhaps one day there will be a telethon for those who suffer thus.)
Besides teaching me the mechanics of this crazy game, my self-taught, very-low handicapped dad instilled in me (repeatedly, I might add) the importance of golf etiquette. You know, such things as: not walking in another player’s putting line on the green, keeping up pace of play, letting faster players play through, raking a bunker after hitting out of it, recognizing who has honors on the tee, repairing a ball mark on the green (that wonderful reward for a perfect pitch), and so on.
That last etiquette point, in fact, was so ingrained in me early on that my dad (to whom I dedicate this peroration and has now retired from the game at 92) taught me not only to fix my ball mark but also two others. Why? Because ball marks are not only ugly and deface the beautiful greens the greenskeeper labors so hard to maintain for us, but they also affect other players (that’s the etiquette part) by deflecting putts and even short chips around the green.
So, if I may encourage us all to take five seconds to repair a ball mark. The tool is cheap and sometimes free. While it is not actually a USGA “rule,” it is strongly emphasized under the etiquette section early in the USGA Rules of Golf.
On the other hand, according to Rule 33-7, a player can be penalized, or even disqualified, for “a serious breach of etiquette.” There’s a lot more to golf than just hitting a little ball.
If I may also plead, doing so will help ease the suffering of the terminally ill.
Dr. J. D. “Doc” Watson