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Harper's Rules of Golf
Whose Scores Would Reflect Their True Ability If Only They Got An Even Break Once In A While

1. On beginning play, as many balls as may be required to obtain a satisfactory result may be played from the first tee. Everyone recognizes a good player needs to "loosen up" but does not have time for the practice tee. "This should not be confused with a Mulligan which can be used later on in game.

2. A ball sliced or hooked into rough shall be lifted and placed in the fairway at a point equal to the distance it carried or rolled in the rough. Such veering right or left frequently results from friction between the face of the club and the cover of the ball, and the player should not be penalized for erratic behavior of the ball resulting from such uncontrollable mechanical phenomena.

3. A ball hitting a tree shall be deemed not to have hit the tree. Hitting a tree is simply bad luck and has no place in a scientific game. The player should estimate the distance the ball would have traveled if it had not hit the tree and play the ball from there, preferably from atop a nice firm tuft of grass.

4. There shall be no such thing as a lost ball. The missing ball is on or near the course somewhere and eventually will be found and pocketed by someone else. It thus becomes a stolen ball, and the player should not compound the felony by charging himself with a penalty stroke.

5. When played from a sand trap, a ball which does not clear the trap on being struck may be hit again on the roll without counting an extra stroke. In no case will more than two strokes be counted in playing from a trap, since it is only reasonable to assume that if the player had time to concentrate on his hit, instead of hurrying in so as to not delay his playing partners, he would be out in two.

6. If a putt passes over the hole without dropping, it is deemed to have dropped. The law of gravity holds that any object attempting to maintain a position in the atmosphere without something to support it must drop. The law of gravity supersedes the law of golf.

7. Same thing goes for a ball that stops at the brink of the hole and hangs there, defying gravity. You cannot defy the law.

8. Same thing goes for a ball that rims the cup.

9. A putt that stops close enough to the cup to inspire such comment as "you could blow it in" may be blown in. This rule does not apply if the ball is more than three inches from the hole, because no one wants to make a travesty of the game.

10. All lies should be improved by "noodling" the ball with the club face to put the ball into an acceptable position to be struck.

11. Hand wedges and foot wedges shall not be counted as strokes but must be recorded on the score card. i.e. 76-6 cheats.

NOTE: Hopefully these rules will help make you a competitive golfer.