A game for heroes

In this era of lush fairways and finely manicured greens, today’s golfer just may have gotten a bit spoiled with conditions being perfect. Don’t agree?

Well, don’t try that argument around members of the Richmond Golf Club in England, one of many British golf clubs that continued to operate and allow play during WWII.

Richmond Golf Club adopted a strict set of temporary rules to account for unexpected wartime activities that could well interrupt a round of golf.

Seven rules, which addressed the severity of playing at a golf course after it was struck by German bombs in 1940, and the catastrophic potential implications are difficult to comprehend.

They will, however, give you a peek into the hearts and minds of the passionate golfers of that time. I’m guessing that the dedicated golfers of today would tee it up, as well.

1. Players are asked to collect pieces of bombs and shrapnel so that mowing machines wouldn’t be damaged.

The neighborly thing to do…

2. In competition, during gunfire or when bombs are falling, players may take shelter without penalty or ceasing play.

That could leave a mark on you…

3. The position of known delayed action bombs are marked by red flags at a reasonable, but not guaranteed, safe distance therefrom.

How bad could it be???

4. Shrapnel 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 is incurred if a ball is thereby caused to move accidentally.

Seems fair…

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.

What enemy???

6. A ball lying in a crater may be lifted and dropped, no nearer the hole, preserving the line to the hole without penalty.

And my personal favorite…

7. A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball. Penalty one stroke.

So, the next time you get nervous when your playing partner starts rattling their pocket change, think of the real golfers from Richmond Golf Club!

By Frank LaRosa, a popular Northern California radio and television personality and golf writer who has chronicled the game and industry across multiple platforms since 1988. He currently produces and hosts a daily golf radio feature for Sports 1140 KHTK called “Golf to Go.” He has hosted a series of Emmy nominated golf programs for KVIE television called “Tee Time: Golf in Northern California.” He has written about golf for numerous print publications including NCGA magazine and Sacramento Magazine. His work in golf has garnered him numerous accolades including induction into the Sacramento Golf Hall of Fame and California Golf Hall of Fame, Honorary membership into the PGA, and he is a three-time winner of the Northern California PGA Media Person of the Year award.

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