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The Rules of Golf

“Nice lag” should be translated as “Lousy putt.” Similarly, “Tough break” means “Way to miss an easy one.” “That’ll play” means “Crappy shot, but we might be able to find it!”

99.99% of all matter is empty space, but that last .01% will stop a golf ball dead.

A “gimme” can best be defined as an agreement between two golfers ... neither of whom can putt very well.

A ball you can see in the rough from 50 yards away is not yours.

A golf match is a test of your skills against your opponent’s luck.

A golfer hitting into your group will always be bigger than anyone in your group. Likewise, any group you accidentally hit into will consist of a football player, a professional wrestler, a con-victed murderer and an IRS agent—or worse.

A severe slice is a thing of awesome power and beauty.

A stroke does not occur unless it is observed by more than one golfer.

A 2' putt counts the same as a 2' drive.

All 3-woods are demon-possessed.

All vows taken on a golf course are valid only until sunset.

An extra ball in the pocket is worth two strokes in the bush.

An interesting thing about golf is that no matter how badly you play; it is always possible to get worse.

Any change works for a maximum of three holes and a minimum of not at all.

Bad shots come in groups of three, therefore your fourth bad shot is actually the beginning of your next group of three.

Brand new golf balls are water-magnetic and, while this cannot be measured scientifically, the more expensive the ball, the greater this water-magnetism.

Counting on your opponent to inform you when he breaks a rule is like expecting him to make fun of his own haircut.

Don’t buy a putter until you’ve had a chance to throw it.

During your swing, never think about more than a hundred separate things.

Errors must go somewhere. If your driver is hot, your putter is ice cold; if you can hit your irons, you will top your woods; if you keep your right elbow tucked in, your head will come up.

Every par-three hole in the world has a secret desire to humiliate golfers. The shorter the hole, the greater that desire.

Every time a golfer makes a birdie, he must then immediately make two triple bogeys to restore the fundamental equilibrium of the universe.

Everyone replaces his divot after a perfect approach shot.

Golf balls from the same “sleeve” tend to follow one another, particularly out of bounds or into water.

Golf balls never bounce off of trees into play. If one does, the tree is breaking a law of the uni-verse and should be cut down.

Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies, obscured by the occasional miracle, followed by a good bottle of beer.

Golf carts always die at the point on the course that’s farthest from the clubhouse.

Golf is harder than baseball. In golf, you have to play your foul balls.

Golf is like marriage: If you take yourself too seriously it won’t work , and both are expensive.

Golf is the only sport where the most feared opponent is you.

Golf should be given up regularly.

You hit down to make the ball go up. You swing left and the ball goes right. The lowest score wins. And on top of that, the winner buys the drinks.

It’s a hard game to figure. One day you’ll go out and slice it and shank it, hit into all the traps and miss every green. The next day you go out and for no good reason you really stink.

Golfers who claim they never cheat also lie.

Golfers who try to make everything perfect before taking the shot rarely make a perfect shot.

Hazards attract, fairways repel.

If both balls are in the bunker, yours is one in the footprint.

If it’s not broke, change your grip.

If there is a ball on the fringe and a ball in the bunker, yours is the one in the bunker.

If you find you do not mind playing golf in the rain, the snow, even during a hurricane, here’s a valuable tip: your life is in trouble.

If you really want to get better at golf, go back and take it up at a much earlier age.

If you’re afraid that a full shot might reach the green while the foursome ahead of you is still put-ting out, you have two options: immediately shank a lay-up or wait until the green is clear and then top the ball.

If your best shots are the practice swing and the “gimme putt,” you might wish to reconsider this game.

It’s a simple matter to keep your ball in the fairway if you’re not too choosy about which fair-way.

It’s always winter somewhere.

It’s not a gimme if you’re still away.

It’s often necessary to hit a second drive to really appreciate the first one.

It’s surprisingly easy to hole a 50-foot putt when you lie 10.

Knowing the swing weight of your club is as indispensable to playing good golf as knowing the temperature of the grass in the fairway.

Never leave your opponent with the sole responsibility for thinking of all the things that might go wrong with his shot.

Never try to keep more than 300 separate thoughts in your mind during your swing.

No matter how bad you play, it is always possible to play worse.

No matter how bad your last shot was, the worst is yet to come. This law does not expire on the 18th hole, since it has the supernatural tendency to extend over the course of a tournament, a summer and, eventually, a lifetime.

No matter what causes a golfer to muff a shot, his playing partners must solemnly chant “You looked up!” or invoke the wrath of the golf gods.

No putt ever got longer as the result of a ball being marked.

Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts.

Nothing straightens out a nasty slice quicker than a sharp dogleg to the right.

Palm trees eat golf balls.

Sand is alive. What else could explain the way it works against you?

Since bad shots come in groups of three, your fourth consecutive bad shot is really the beginning of the next group of three.

The best wood in most amateurs’ bags is the pencil.

The frequency with which balls are lost increases as the available supply decreases.

The game of golf is 90% mental and 10% mental.

The higher a golfer’s handicap, the more qualified he deems himself as an instructor.

The inevitable result of any golf lesson is the instant elimination of the one critical unconscious motion that allowed you to compensate for all your errors.

The last three holes of a round always adjust your score to what it really should be.

The less intelligent the player, the more certain he is to offer insights into the mental side of your game.

The less skilled the player, the more likely he is to share his ideas about your swing.

The only difference between a $1 ball and a $3 ball is two dollars.

The person you most hate to lose to is always the one who beats you.

The secret of golf is: use your real swing to take the big divot, use your practice swing to make the shot, and always hit your do-over first.

The shortest distance between any two points on a golf course is a straight line that passes di-rectly through the center of a very large tree.

The term “mulligan” is really a contraction of the phrase “maul it again.”

There are two kinds of bounces: unfair bounces and bounces just the way you meant to play it.

There are two things you can learn by stopping your back swing at the top and checking the posi-tion of your hands: how many hands you have and which one is wearing the glove.

To calculate the speed of a player’s downswing, multiply the speed of his back swing by his handicap. Example: backswing 20 mph, handicap 15, downswing 600 mph.

To hit a 7-iron as far as Tiger Woods, just try to lay up short of a water hazard.

Topping a 3-iron is the most painful torture known to man.

Whatever you think you’re doing wrong is the one thing you’re doing right.

When you look up and cause an awful shot, you will always look down again at exactly the mo-ment when you ought to start watching the ball if you ever want to see it again.

When your shot must carry over a water hazard, you may either hit one more club or two more balls.

You can hear thunder a hundred miles away when you’re three holes down with three to play.

You can hit a 2-acre fairway 10% of the time, and a 2-inch branch 90% of the time.

You can put “draw” on the ball, you can put “fade” on the ball, but no golfer can put “straight” on the ball.

Your best round of golf is immediately followed by your worst round of golf. The probability of the latter increases with the number of people you tell about the former.