Are the Rules of Golf too severe?

In January we were told that the governing bodies of golf were changing the complicated Rules of Golf into a format that could be more easily understood and applied. It’s a toss-up whether filing our IRS forms or reading the Rules of Golf is more frustrating.

For the third time in the last year, tour players have been penalized for accidental rule infractions noticed by TV viewers and cameras.

Dustin Johnson was deemed to have accidentally moved his ball on the 5th green in the final round of the US Open in June at Oakmont.  On the 12th hole of the final round, Johnson was informed of a potential violation but was not given clarity on whether a stroke penalty would be assessed until it could be viewed at the end of his round.

In July, Brittany Lang and Anna Nordqvist tied in the final round of the US Women’s Open at CordeValle, CA. Both players parred the first playoff hole. On the 17th second playoff hole,  Nordqvist hit out of a bunker and video replays showed her club slightly contacted the sand on her backswing. She was told of a two-stroke penalty after hitting her third shot to the 18th green, and before Lang hit her third shot.

Last weekend at the LPGA ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills, CA, Lexi Thompson was on her way to winning a major tournament with a three-stroke lead. A TV viewer sent an email to the LPGA suggesting that Thompson had not replaced her ball correctly on the 17th hole in Saturday’s third round. On her way to the 13th tee in the final round on Sunday, Thompson was told she had been assessed a two-stroke penalty for not replacing her ball in the same position and a two-stroke penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. A four-stroke penalty with six holes to play… a day after the incident!

Could you deal with this kind of added scoring stress?

Golf is a game based on the honor system with players reporting their own rules infractions. Players and observers are also required by the Rules to report all infractions to protect the field. It is a game that requires a player to have a tremendous amount of responsibility and integrity.

World-class golfers always expect the unexpected and are mentally prepared to face the new situation. In tears and despite her shock at being penalized four strokes, Lexi Thompson forced a playoff by making three birdies in the last six holes.

Twenty-two-year-old Thompson said, “Every day is a learning process. I wasn’t expecting what happened today, but … it happens, and I’ll learn from it and hopefully do better.”

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

To train your brain to play your best golf, listen to Positive Mental Imagery self-hypnosis guided imagery CDs in the privacy of your own home, available at

If you aren’t able to maintain calm and a positive attitude on the golf course, email Joan at or call 828.696.2547 for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation about developing a new strategy. Learn what is missing in your golf game so you can achieve the success you desire.

A new mental golf book is available now on and 

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances” explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.


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