New Rule: The Leaf Rule

Autumn golf has many advantages including lots of open tee times.

The Open Tee vs. The Leaf – An Epic Battle 

The Leaf Rule will make playing golf in the autumn a little less frustrating for you, your foursome, and everybody behind you.

Golf in the autumn has it’s merits. If you catch a nice afternoon, you might find yourself a prime tee time because many people have put their clubs into hibernation. Recently, I was lucky enough to snag a 3:00 time at a private club thanks to a very generous invite. It felt like we had the place all to ourselves because a lot of the members (we were told) had headed to or were leaving for their winter homes already. Must be nice!

While golfing in the fall has some magnificent benefits, there are some frustrations that only set in once September is on the way out, particularly the farther north you live. First off, the sun sets pretty early out there. Remember Rory winning the PGA Championship in nocturnal style? This can be a real drag particularly if you’re having a round like the Bishop was having in CaddyShack.

Another great time thief and pace of play killer is the leaves that tumble to the ground at this time of year. Yeah. Leaves. You thought you hated them ON the trees when they blocked out your shots. What about on the ground where they fall in the rough and the fairway without prejudice and obscure your ball? That 265-yard drive down the middle? Gone forever. Hidden under a broad leaf from whatever tree is shedding all over your favourite course.


fall2If you’ve just hit a good shot, and you walk to the approximate place where you think it ended up and all you can see is a million leaves and no golf ball… you get a free drop and play your next shot.

That’s right. No penalty. No need to spend five or ten minutes swearing “it should be right around here somewhere.” Just concede the ball to those deciduous devils and pull another one from the bag without incurring an extra stroke.

Drop it. Whack it. Move it along.

The truth is twofold.

1) We’ve all got somewhere to be. Specifically, the 18th green. And we’d like to make it there by dark. So let’s get moving.

2) You didn’t deserve to lose that ball. C’mon… that was a great shot. You pured it! Maybe it strayed off the fairway by a few feet, but you don’t deserve to lose that ball. Any ball you could easily find in June shouldn’t be a penalty in October.

The Leaf Rule. Making autumn golf more fun since 2014.