Thursday, January 17, 2013

Local Rules in Britain During World War II

The list that appears below has something of an "urban legends" feel about it. But it isn't an urban legend; it's a real list of temporary local rules put in place at Richmond Golf Club in 1941, taking into account that little inconvenience called World War II.

Temporary Local Rules at Richmond Golf Club During World War II
1. Players are asked to collect bomb and shrapnel splinters to save these causing damage to the mowing machines.

2. In competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take shelter without penalty for ceasing play.

3. The position of known delayed action bombs are marked by red flags at a reasonable, but not guaranteed, safe distance therefrom.

4. Shrapnel and/or bomb splinters on the fairways or in bunkers, within a club's length of a ball, may be moved without penalty, and no penalty shall be incurred if a ball is thereby caused to move accidentally.

5. A ball moved by enemy action may be replaced or, if lost or destroyed, a ball may be dropped not nearer the hole without penalty.

6. A ball lying in a crater may be lifted and dropped not nearer the hole, preserving the line to the hole, without penalty.

7. A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball. Penalty one stroke.

Ah, those Brits: stiff upper lips, and all that.

Richmond Golf Club still exists. It's about 10 miles outside the center of London, and visitors are welcome. Its location put it in a very precarious position during World War II, when the Nazis tried to terrorize Britain into surrender in part through the "Blitz." Later, V-1 and V-2 rockets were launched across the Channel into London.

But England, Britain and Richmond Golf Club withstood the barrage with bravery. As Winston Churchill so famously put it:

"We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight on the ninth fairway, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, we shall defend level par, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in gorse and the heather and the pot bunkers, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. But we will, if playing Richmond, take a one-stroke penalty and drop a new ball if a bomb explosion interrupts our stroke."

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