Links Daily Devotional

Rules Rules Rules

And [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40, ESV)

When the USGA and R&A announced proposed changes to the Rules of Golf, the reaction ranged from “Duh!” to “Huh?”

Most of us don’t know either the Rules of Golf or the Rules of Life as well as we might.In the former category were the new “no penalty” for accidentally moving your ball or ball marker on the putting green, along with searching for the ball being capped at three minutes, rather than the current “as long as it takes.” (The actual rule says five minutes, but my buddies think that’s a minimum. They don’t even care about the strokes, just the cost of the ball.)

In the “Huh?” category was the relief area that is a “fixed distance of 20 inches or 80 inches from the reference point.” I’m already at work inventing a special tape measure that attaches to your DMD (distance measuring device), which you will now be allowed to use.

Of course, not everyone likes every proposed change. Several PGA and LPGA pros gave them a general thumbs-up, and not a few gave some of them a thumbs-down. As my dad used to say, even though he wasn’t French, “C’est la vie.”

Going the other way, Golf Channel has for years been pushing the Relaxed Rules series that boils down to just seven “common sense rules,” which are only to be used for non-competitive play. Personally I think they’re great.

We discussed all of those options at one of our Links Fellowships recently, and then I asked the same question I’d like to ask you: What about the Rules of Life?

I followed that up with more questions. Should there be three sets of Rules, or even two sets? Is the New Testament sort of like these proposed changes, making “the game” of life easier to understand than the old rules, and putting more emphasis on the spirit of the game? What about Relaxed Rules? Is that sort of like what I call The Big Two of loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself?

We had a great discussion about all of that, and I wish you could have been part of it. What you can do is change the conversation at your club by using some of those questions. You’ll probably find, as we did, that most of us don’t know either the Rules of Golf or the Rules of Life as well as we might. And maybe you’ll get some agreement that rules are for our good, and that living by them, especially in life, is wise.

As for us, we’re going with the Relaxed Rules in golf, which will make the game more fun. In life, we’ve all agreed to really try to keep The Big Two. We’re going to help each other along the way, and we think our lives are going to be better for it.

Just two rules. Even I can remember that many.

Lewis Greer
May 15, 2017
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