Date: July 15, 2016
Author: Dave Tease

Rocket Rod on top of the Rules

Rod Clark has been around the Rules of Golf for a long, long, long time.

As Manager of Rules and Handicapping for Golf NSW, not only does he reply to questions from golfers, clubs and districts but he’s charged with overseeing the distribution of the Rules of Golf to members in clubs across New South Wales, and has been doing so for almost the last 20 years.

Shipping out 164,000 books every three to four years is a gargantuan effort. Distributing the 33rd edition was no different. Clubs across the state received the latest iteration of the Rules for their members in November last year.

There are Chinese and Korean editions of the Rules available too. “We asked clubs if they need rules book in languages other than English, and some do, so we send out around 300 Chinese and 1800 Korean versions also,” Mr Clark said.

For golfers that have embraced technology, there’s a downloadable version.
“There’s a Rules of Golf App, even a Decisions on the Rules of Golf App that people can download on their phones. The Rules book itself will be around for a long, long time though. There’s still folk out there that can’t or won’t use the technology on the golf course,” he said.

The printing of the books is arranged by the Royal and Ancient, and there’s always plenty available for clubs that run short of supply if a member asks for one. “I’ve always got books available at the Rules information evenings I host.”

As the State’s Rules Manager Rod is often called upon to give out a ruling at the strangest times and places. “I keep a copy in the glove box of my car, on my desk, even at home near the phone. I get calls at odd hours all the time,” Rod said.

“Next to your clubs, and balls, the Rule book should be the first thing you put in your bag. Everyone should have a copy,” said Clark.

Rod’s final piece of advice to golfers who are a bit unsure about how to apply the rules is simple: “Don’t always trust the person who says they know the rule; Trust the person who can open a copy of the book and show you the rule,” he smiled.