Second week of this little golf and grammar experiment. If none of this makes sense to you, read my previous post.

Now, to business.

Out of Bounds is NOT a Hazard!

This golf rule is about as common as it gets. But I dare say that probably half, if not less, of weekend golfers abide by it.

It’s really simple. White stakes indicate out of bounds. You do not treat out of bounds the same way you treat a hazard.

If your ball crosses past one of these, head on back to where you played your last shot.

If your ball crosses past one of these, head on back to where you played your last shot.

Suppose you snap hook your drive out of bounds. What are your options? Well, this isn’t a lateral hazard so you can’t drop. To be safe, and to save time, you hit a provisional ball from the same spot where your original ball was played. After taking the appropriate one-shot penalty, your provisional shot will be your 3rd stroke.

When you arrive in the fairway, if your first ball did in fact go out of bounds, then you’ll be hitting shot number four from the destination of your provisional ball. Key point, here: If you’re not sure if the original ball went OB, then you have five minutes to search for it.

If, after five minutes, you cannot find the ball…then you need to proceed as outlined above. Go back to the tee, take your penalty, hit your 3rd shot.

So, the key point I’m trying to make here is that hazards and OB are not the same! You’re basically getting a shot advantage when you take a penalty and drop where the ball crossed the white out-of-bounds line…because instead of hitting your 4th shot after the provisional, you’re hitting your 3rd shot after the drop.

And, if you’re playing golf like that–cheating!–then you don’t need to be bragging about your milestone 78…because it probably would have been an 80 if you followed the rules.

In fact, and I know I’ll rant about this on another day…unless you followed the rules, don’t talk about your score at all. If you’re playing five mulligans a round, and if you’re playing OB like it’s a hazard, and if you’re using the old pencil wedge and shoe wedge…then no one wants to know about your stellar round, because it’s not legit!

There, I’m done. Okay, on to really nerdy stuff.

Possessives in Proper Names

Last week I talked about the use of it’s and its. Two words commonly misused and misunderstood. This week, I just wanted to touch on an apostrophe issue I routinely see when editing, browsing the web, and reading church bulletins—have you ever read a church bulletin without at least one typo? Seriously.

Okay. I see this one all the time. The plural form of any family name needs no apostrophe. For instance, if am talking about my family, I would say The Bruces came to America from Scotland. Not The Bruce’s came to America. Avoid the issue all together and just say The Bruce family came from Scotland.

This works across the board. Don’t write Johnson’s unless your indicating the Johnson family owns something, like the Johnson’s house. If you are just speaking of the Johnsons, then you can say The Johnsons own a beautiful home.

Now, a few quick AP Style Guide exceptions—and there’s always an exception. If a proper name ends in an es, s, or z, then promptly add another es. For example Jones becomes Joneses, Charles becomes Charleses, and Gonzalez becomes Gonzalezes. If the name ends in y, such as Kennedy, then change it into Kennedys.

So go dig out your family scrapbooks and change all of those grammatically incorrect captions below your photos. Otherwise, anally retentive dorks like me will make fun of you.

More fun with apostrophes and golf rules next Tuesday.