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Making relationships count in the game of golf

Friday September 1 2017

National golf team to the East Africa Challenge to be held in Tanzania joined by coach John Van Liefland (standing-centre) and Kenya Golf Union chairman Richard Wanjala (standing-right), before they departure to Dar es Salaam on August 21, 2017 at Railways Golf Club. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

National golf team to the East Africa Challenge to be held in Tanzania joined by coach John Van Liefland (standing-centre) and Kenya Golf Union chairman Richard Wanjala (standing-right), before they departure to Dar es Salaam on August 21, 2017 at Railways Golf Club. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By VINCENT WANG'OMBE
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The more I play golf, the more I am persuaded that the best way to tell someone’s character is by playing a round with them.

Bobby Jones, one of the best golfers in his time, said: “Golf is the closest game to the game we call life.”

The way a person carries him or herself on the golf course will most likely be the way they do in real life.

There are high chances that people who have loud outbursts after getting a bad break from a good shot will be cantankerous in other aspects of life.

Those that blame their caddies for not telling them about a green-side bunker after mis-hitting a shot, will most likely be the same ones that blame everyone else other themselves in other aspect of life.

These traits become even more pertinent when it comes formats like four-ball or foursomes.

It is very unnerving to hear your partner’s moans and groans after you’ve made a shot that is not as crisp as you had pictured in your mind. I wonder if this was going through the mind of the triumphant Kenya team captain last week in Dar es Salaam during the East Africa Challenge.

Alfred Nandwa, the Kenya captain, must know his fellow team-mates so well to suggest pairings that did not lose any of their four-ball and foursomes matches.

FOURSOMES RARE

Talking of foursomes’ competitions, these are becoming so rare on the Kenyan golfing scene. There was a time when most clubs had one or two foursome competitions as permanent fixtures on their annual calendar.

There are some Rules of Golf that elude many golfers when playing in foursomes’ competitions. One such rule is to do with the order of play after a penalty stroke.

Let us use the example of the pair of Steve and Jojjo in a foursomes stroke play competition. If Steve tees off on the first hole, Jojjo would have to play the second shot on the hole.

If Jojjo’s second shot ended up in a bush and Steve decided to declare the ball unplayable, it would still be Steve’s turn to make the next shot.

Steve would in this case be the one to take the fourth shot.

The penalty stroke that was earned by declaring the ball unplayable does not affect the order of play.

Even though Steve had hit the first shot on the hole and would then have been expected to play the odd numbered shots, after the one stroke penalty, he would now be playing the even numbered shots.

This, however, does not apply to an air-shot. So if, for example, in taking the fourth shot, Steve got a whiff of fresh air and left the ball untouched, it would be the turn of Jojjo to take the fifth shot.

According to the Rules of Golf, a stroke is “the forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at and moving the ball…”.

Therefore, Steve is deemed to have taken the fourth shot since with the air-shot, there was all the intention to strike and move the ball.

The other confusion when playing in mixed foursomes (foursomes competitions where the partners are a lady and a gentleman) is where to play a tee shot if one of the partners loses a ball. So if the lady tees off and the ball ends up out of bounds, the male partner would have to take the next shot from the ladies’ tee.

The same applies if it was the man who lost the ball.

The penalty for the wrong partner playing is loss of hole in match play and a two stroke penalty in stroke play. In stroke play, however, the pair must correct the error by playing in the correct order from as close as possible at the spot from which it first played in incorrect order.

If they tee off from the next hole without making the correction, they must be disqualified.

The Rules of Golf seem to cover everything… even “De Minimis” are not left out.

The Kenya Golf Union is keen on spreading the knowledge of the Rules of Golf and to this end, the Kenya team had some lessons recently that ensured that they didn’t have any issues with the rules while playing at the East African Challenge.

The victorious Kenya team are currently in great form and they seem to be able to perform well under any of the formats.

Alfred Nandwa was crowned the most valuable player having won all his matches.

Thank you lads for flying the Kenyan flag high!