Posted by Bob Simmons
Last week, FCRC member Warren Wilson presented his talk entitled “Changes in Golf Rules”. Warren has extensive credentials as a golf administrator detailed in the online Rotogear preview for this week’s talk.  This is his second career; the first was as an infantry officer in the US Army.
Warren started with the history of golf going back to 1457 when it was first mentioned as being banned.  Although the ban was lifted in 1502, the church still objected to golf, especially when played on Sunday.  The origin of the word 'golf' dates back to an old Dutch word meaning “club”, and, as commonly mentioned, has nothing to do with a male-only sport (Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden).
St. Andrews was the first course to have 18 holes (1764) and the first rules were written in Edinburgh in 1745.  Some of the old rules were highlighted in Warren’s talk and their relationship to today’s rules and penalties noted.  The USGA and the Royal and Ancient Golf Course rules were combined in May 1951 to be applied worldwide by the Joint Rules Commission.  Rules apply the same to all levels of players-Pros and amateurs.
Warren showed us the book-Rules of Golf. The 44 “original” rules were decreased to 24 in 2019. One of the “take home” messages was that golf is a unique game/sport. Much less is “fixed” in golf compared to other sports-eg, the number of players can vary widely, the course or field is always variable and, critters, competitors and spectators are constant variables.
The cardinal  rule of golf is ”Play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it, and if you cannot do either, do what is fair” (sort of like life).
As expected from Warren, the talk was entertaining and informative - yet another example of our talent pool at FCRC.