In some European countries, golfers must pass a playing test as well as a written rules and etiquette test in order to obtain a “license to play.” The reasons? Pace of play, safety, reduced course damage, fewer dropouts from the game, etc.
Sweden is at the forefront of this movement and has developed an impressive examining system. Here are a few of the skill tests and a few questions from the written test. Could you pass?
Putting: Hole at least four of eight putts from two feet; hole at least four of eight putts in two strokes from 15 feet; hole at least two of four putts in three strokes or less from 3o feet.
Chipping: Begin 10 feet off the green with the flag place 30 feet back from the edge of the green and get at least five of ten chips within six feet of the hole.
Pitching: From 25 yards off the green and over a hazard, hit at least five of ten pitches on to the green.
Bunker: Make at least two of four balls from a greenside bunker stay on the green; from a fairway bunker, get at least two out of four balls out of the bunker.
Full Swing: In general, be able to hit a 7-, 8-, or 9- iron farther than 25 yards; hit a 4-, 5-, or 6- iron farther than 50 yards; hit a tee shot more than 80 yards. All shots must stop within a 30-40-yard-wide area. (Distances are for women.)
Some of these skills tests sound easy enough, but when faced with the pressure of HAVING to perform, could you do it? (I’m going to take these tests to a practice facility and test myself.)
How about these questions?
1) Give at least three examples of bunker etiquette.
2) A mis-hit causes your ball to fly sideways and hit your bag. How many penalty strokes do you incur?
3) Are you allowed to remove dirt from your ball when it’s a) in the fairway? b) on the green?
4) You hit the wrong ball out of the rough. How many penalty strokes do you incur?
5) Name two ways to let the group playing behind you play through.
6) Name three areas of the golf course where you shouldn’t pull a cart or drive a motorized cart.
7) What color are the stakes marking a direct water hazard?
Again, could you pass? Good luck!! (Answers below)
1) Rake the bunker; enter and exit the bunker on the low side; leave the rake wherever the course directs you to do so.
2) Two strokes (Rule 19-2)
3) a. No (Rule 21) b. Yes (Rule 16-1b)
4) Two strokes (Rule 15-3)
5) Stop playing while the group behind plays through; let the group behind tee off with you, then allow them to move ahead at a pace that’s faster than yours.
6) The green, the tee, the apron of the green and the edge of a bunker.