My Shot Don't believe everything you read. We at the USGA encourage all rules questions

May 16, 1999

I didn't recognize my own words when I read them in Alan
Shipnuck's TEEING OFF column, "Keep Those Calls Coming" (GOLF
PLUS, May 10). Let me state categorically that the U.S. Golf
Association welcomes any and all inquiries about the Rules of
Golf.

Need proof? In 1992 we handled nearly 8,000 phone calls and
about 1,200 letters or faxes regarding the rules. Less than a
decade later, that number has risen to more than 20,000
inquiries annually via phone, fax, letter or E-mail. The USGA
charter as the national governing body of golf, written over a
century ago, specifies writing and interpreting the rules as one
of our main functions. Today, rule maintenance remains one of
the USGA's chief concerns, and feedback from golfers continues
to be a cornerstone of this process.

Here's how to get your rules question answered: It's best to put
the question in writing and send it to us by mail or E-mail. Our
regular mailing address is: USGA Rules Department, P.O. Box 708,
Far Hills, N.J. 07931; or you can reach us electronically at
rules@usga.org.

The Rules Department has an expert on duty at all times to
answer questions. Because our experts--there are eight of
them--have other tasks that take them out of the office, we do
not advise addressing queries to an individual staffer. That way
your question won't run the risk of languishing in someone's
in-box until he or she returns from a championship or a rules
seminar. I know the intricacies of this system were too much for
Shipnuck to grasp, but I'm confident that golfers won't have a
problem.

Marty Parkes is the USGA's director of communications.

COLOR PHOTO: MANNY MILLAN

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)