The Importance of Stroke play Comptetition

I certainly play golf for fun.  I enjoy 2-4 person teams, 2 off the first tee and ‘gimmies’.  I’m all for PLAYING GOLF FAST, and if that means taking an illegal drop from the woods rather than going back to the tee as required by the rules of golf…. terrific.  (Of course, after that illegal drop, the player is ‘out’ of that particular hole)

But I also believe it is very important for all golfers to at least experience individual stroke play competition.  
We just had the first Club Championship here at Carolina Colours Golf Club.  We’ve got quite a few golfers that have very little experience in individual stroke play competition.  In today’s world of golf, most events people play in are geared more for fun, than individual competition.  If you have a bad hole, or two or three…. other players on your team can come to your rescue….
The downside of all these FUN games, is that golfers do not learn the REAL RULES OF GOLF.  
The most educational comment I heard over the weekend was how interesting it was to have to play ‘by the rules’….  
Golfers ABSOLUTELY should know the basic rules of golf.  They should know drops.  Free drops from obstructions and ground under repair.  Penalty drops from unplayable lies and hazards. Golfers should understand the benefits of hitting a provisional for a lost ball and what can and can’t be moved around your golf ball.  
By playing in INDIVIDUAL stroke play events, golfers will inevitably be put into situations that demand a knowledge of the basic rules.  It can often be stressful and frustrating…  At first it may even seem complicated. 
The upside is a better understanding of the rules of golf.  There is nothing like being IN A SITUATION in order to learn.  
By knowing the rules, a whole new world of golf open ups for you.  You can play your fun games, you can take your ‘gimmies’ and bend the rules in your team games…. But now you KNOW what’s right and what’s wrong.  You’ll KNOW when you are ‘in’ a hole, or ‘out’ of a hole.  You’ll be able to guide your teammates and fellow competitors.  
The rules of golf are fantastic.  They are extremely well written, and more often HELP a golfer rather than penalize.  Know them.  Play in tournaments a few times a year that put the rules in play, and you’ll be better off for it!  

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