D. Miller, JD
Dale Miller, JD & CEO
Patented Putting Company 678-482-8508
Cell Phone: 770.329.0682
USGA Response # 1
Dear Mr. Miller:
> I recently had the opportunity to review your November 22 press
> regarding the above. After reviewing it, I felt obliged to clarify
> issue of fairly striking at the ball. Section 4c. of Appendix
> only to the design of a club. Rule 14-1 specifically governs
> striking the ball and reads as follows: "The ball shall
be fairly struck
> at with the head of the club and must not be pushed scraped or
> Thus points (2), (4) and (5) that you raise in your release are
> inaccurate. Decision 14-1/1 from Decisions on the Rules of Golf
> clarifies this point:
> 14-1/1 Playing Stroke with Back of Clubhead
> Q. May a player play a left-handed stroke with the back of the
head of a
> right-handed club?
> A. Yes. A player may play a stroke with any part of the clubhead,
> the ball is fairly struck at (Rule 14-1) and the club conforms
> The above referenced Rules and Decisions can be reviewed at the
> section of the USGA web site. The address is www.usga.org/rules.
> Jeffrey A. Hall
> Assistant Director, Rules of Golf
Response # 1 to USGA by Dale Miller,
In a message dated 12/4/00
9:49:45 AM Eastern Standard Time, jhall@USGA.org writes:
<< Rule 14-1 specifically governs fairly striking the ball and
reads as follows: "The ball shall be fairly struck at with the
head of the club and must not be pushed scraped or spooned. "Thus
points (2), (4) and (5) that you raise in your release are inaccurate.
Dear Mr. Hall:
Thank you for your response and information. Your answer is accurate
only if there is another rule that gives you the authority to declare
that Rule 14-1 trumps Rule 4(c) in Appendix II. If that authority
exists, then "the head of the club" can have more than one
striking surface and effectively makes Rule 4(c) inoperative. These
rules are obviously in conflict unless you accept the premise that
the USGA can be arbitrary and selective in the application of its
Rules that allow a governing body to be arbitrary and selective diminish
the stature and effectiveness of a governing body because the application
and interpretation of the rules is subjective. If the purpose of a
rule is to maintain power and control over those who play the game,
then subjective application and interpretation are necessary.
In the domain of club design subjective application and interpretation
of rules leads to controversy that can and should be avoided. Rule
4(c) does not define "striking face." In order to have a
uniform application and interpretation of the Rule 4(c) the USGA should
clearly define the term "striking face" and clearly indicate
what is and what is not allowed as a "striking face." In
addition, the USGA needs to clearly indicate when a "striking
face" is not an alternate "striking face" under Rule
4(c) when the clubhead is being used to fairly strike a ball under
If the USGA desires the controversy it is currently experiencing with
club manufacturers, changes to Rule (4c) would be contraindicated.
As you know, if the current USGA leadership acted with a clear purpose
to reduce the possibility of future controversy under its rules, that
would increase the stature of the USGA.
Let me know your thoughts. I believe this kind of dialogue between
the USGA and a member is healthy. What do you think?
Dale Miller, JD
USGA Response # 2
Dear Mr. Miller:
Thank you for your e-mail.
I suggest to you that your opinion that Section 4(c) in Appendix II
conflicts with Rule 14-1 is flawed. Section 4(c) of Appendix II establishes
the guidelines for a club to be considered conforming, nothing more.
Rule 14-1 clarifies the manner in which a conforming club can be used,
nothing more. I fail to see any inconsistency or conflict.
Response # 2 to USGA by Dale Miller,
In a message dated 12/5/00
1:46:39 PM Eastern Standard Time, jhall@USGA.org writes:
<< I suggest to you that your opinion that Section 4(c) in Appendix
II conflicts with Rule 14-1 is flawed. Section 4(c) of Appendix II
establishes the guidelines for a club to be considered conforming,
nothing more. Rule 14-1 clarifies the manner in which a conforming
club can be used, nothing more. I fail to see any inconsistency or
Obviously I believe your use of the word "clarifies" when
applied to Rule 14-1 is misplaced and your use of the word "guidelines"
in reference to Rule 4(c) is less than convincing. It is now clear
to me that your organization prefers rules that can be interpreted
subjectively and I prefer rules that can be interpreted objectively.
This difference is very common between a governing body and its subjects.
You are a member of the governing body and I am the subject. You want
to preserve and protect the power that comes with subjective interpretation.
As the subject, I want objective rules to apply when I play the game
of golf and when I undertake to develop new tools to play the game.
I will continue to advocate that the USGA define terms and adopt very
specific guidelines to follow in Appendix II.
Finally, I will continue to advocate that a penalty should be assessed
in the following instance: If a club can have only one "striking
face" then a golfer who intentionally uses a conforming club
to strike a ball at a spot on the club other than a spot on the approved
striking face, the golfer should incur a penalty.
Dale Miller, JD
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