When golfing in Thailand either for holiday, sport or pleasure playing by the rules can be a beautiful thing. Here are three of the craziest rules that I have ever heard of (surely nobody obeys them when golfing in Thailand).
1. Ball Overhanging the Hole
When was the last time you putted and found your ball lying halfway in the hole, or just at the lip? When any part of the ball overhangs the hole, you allowed enough time to reach the hole without unreasonable delay (no wonder Thai golfers walk so slowly when on the green) and then an additional ten seconds to determine whether the ball is at rest. (Slower yet?) If the ball subsequently falls into the hole, it deemed that you have holed out with your last stroke and you must add a penalty stroke (the stupidest penalty in all golf if you ask me) to your score. In other words, the same outcome as if you had walked up to the ball and immediately tapped in.
2. Tending the Flagstick
Does your Thai golf caddie normally tend the flag for you? If not, you better think about asking her to. You may request to have the flagstick attended or removed while making a stroke from anywhere on the course (on or off the green). If your Thai caddie does not attend or remove the flag before you make your stroke, don’t ask her too. The flag can not be attended or removed during your stroke or while the ball is in motion because the rule says that if doing it might influence the movement of your ball. (Can you believe that?) If the flagstick is in the hole and your Thai caddie stands near it while the stroke is made, that is OK. The caddie is deemed to be attending the flagstick even if she is not actually holding it.
3. Illegal Pin Position
Have you ever played a Thailand golf course and found the pin position on one of the holes to be in the corner of the green? Many Thailand golfers believe a hole position must be 1 flagstick’s length from the edge of the green. While this is probably a good idea perhaps, though there is no rule that prohibits a sadistic green keeper from locating the hole at water’s edge. Now this is unfair to say the least. However, it should also be noted there is no rule that prohibits firing the greens keeper.
So the next time you are playing golf in Thailand, remember (1) walk fast when on the green, (2) always ask your caddie to tend the pin, and (3) play all pin positions as they are laid out, but do not be afraid to have the green keeper fired if there are some unreasonable hole locations.
Most of all enjoy your Thailand golf holiday and don’t take the rules too seriously!