Golf: Do ‘Murphy’s Laws of Golf’ apply to your game?

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

We just wrapped up the Fourth of July holiday. For me, that’s kind of the unofficial halfway point of summer. I’m almost ashamed to admit this: I have yet to play a single hole of golf.

In years gone by, I would have had at least a couple dozen rounds of 18 in by now. Times have changed. I could offer multiple reasons why I have yet to hit the links, but I found the following in my e-mail this morning, and many of these axioms say it way better than I ever could.

Murphy’s Laws of Golf

These are very, very accurate …

• A 2-foot putt counts the same as a 2-foot drive.

• Never wash your ball on the tee of a water hole.

• There is no such thing as a friendly wager.

• The stages of golf are Sudden Collapse, Radical Change, Complete Frustration, Slow Improvement, Brief Mastery and Sudden Collapse.

• The only sure way to get a par is to leave a 4-foot birdie putt 2 inches short of the hole.

• Don’t play with anyone who would question a 7.

• It’s as easy to lower your handicap as it is to reduce your hat size.

• If you really want to be better at golf, go back and take it up at a much earlier age.

• If your driver is hot, your putter will be ice cold; if you can hit your irons, you will top your woods; if you are keeping your right elbow tucked in, your head will come up.

• Progress in golf consists of two steps forward and 10 miles backward.

• One good shank deserves another.

• It takes 17 holes to really get warmed up.

• No golfer ever swung too slowly.

• No golfer ever played too fast.

• One birdie is a hot streak.

• No matter how badly you are playing, it’s always possible to play worse.

• Whatever you think you’re doing wrong is the one thing you’re doing right.

• Any change works for three holes.

• The odds of hitting a duffed shot increase by the square of the number of people watching.

• Never teach golf to your wife.

• Never play your son for money.

• Never try to keep more than 300 separate thoughts in your mind during your swing.

• The less skilled the player, the more likely he is to share his ideas about the golf swing.

• It’s surprisingly easy to hole a 50-foot putt when you lie 10.

• The statute of limitations on forgotten strokes is two holes.

• Bets lengthen putts and shorten drives.

• Confidence evaporates in the presence of fairway water.

• It takes considerable pressure to make a penalty stroke adhere to a scorecard.

• It’s not a gimme if you’re still away.

• The more your opponent quotes the rules, the greater the certainty that he cheats.

• Always limp with the same leg for the whole round.

• The rake is always in the other trap.

• The wind is in your face on 16 of the 18 holes.

• Nothing straightens out a nasty slice quicker than a sharp dogleg to the right.

• The rough will be mowed tomorrow.

• The ball always lands where the pin was yesterday.

• It always takes at least five holes to notice a club is missing.

• The nearest sprinkler head will be blank.

• Every time a golfer makes a birdie, he must subsequently make two triple bogeys to restore the fundamental equilibrium of the universe.

• You can hit a 2-acre fairway 10 percent of the time and a 2-inch branch 90 percent of the time.

• Out of bounds is always on the right, for right-handed golfers.

• The practice green is either half as fast or twice as fast as all the other greens.

• No one with funny head covers ever broke par (except for Tiger Woods).

• The lowest-numbered iron in your bag will always be impossible to hit.

• Your straightest iron shot of the day will be exactly one club short.

• No matter how far its shaft extends, a ball retriever is always a foot too short to reach the ball.

• If you seem to be hitting your shots straight on the driving range, it’s probably because you’re not aiming at anything.

• A ball you can see in the rough from 50 yards away is not yours.

• The only thing you can learn from golf books is that you can’t learn anything from golf books, but you have to read an awful lot of golf books to learn it.

Even though I’ve experienced almost every single one of those “laws,” I still have the desire to not let the entire summer get away from me without getting out there and playing a few rounds. I plan on carrying this column with me when I do eventually make it out there. Feel free to do the same.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the July 6-12, 2011, issue

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