Playing Through

Sprinklers dot the 11th green. Bogey. The guy with the leaf blower is trailing you all the way up the 13th fairway. Double bogey. Thunder rumbles as you tee it up on 15. Triple bogey.

Do distractions on the links ruin your concentration--and scores? Ha! You should have tried playing a round in wartime Britain in 1941. The following is the set of temporary rules passed that year by the Richmond Golf Club of London for its presumably stiff-upper-lipped membership. We are not making this up.

  1. Players are asked to collect the bomb and shrapnel splinters to save these causing damage to the mowing machines.
  2. In competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take shelter without penalty or ceasing play.
  3. The position of known delayed-action bombs are marked with red flags at a reasonable, but not guaranteed, safe distance therefrom.
  4. Shrapnel and/or bomb splinters on the fairways, or in bunkers, within a club's length of the ball, may be moved without penalty, and no penalty shall be incurred if a ball is thereby caused to move accidentally.
  5. A ball moved by enemy action may be replaced, or if lost or destroyed, a ball may be dropped not nearer the hole without penalty.
  6. A ball lying in a crater may be lifted and dropped not nearer the hole, preserving the line to the hole, without penalty.
  7. A player whose stroke is affected by a simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball. Penalty one stroke.
Can you imagine how long it would take the average PGA Tour player to line up a putt under those circumstances?

Edited by Jack McCallum