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11 Old Golf Rules That No Longer Exist

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Golf may be a game deeply rooted to the past, but many of its rules have either changed or been eliminated altogether over the centuries. With help from golf rules archive ruleshistory.com and the USGA's collection, here are eleven decrees golfers had to play by, lest they suffer a penalty.

1. The "Tee The Ball Next to the Hole" Rule

Rule:"You must tee your ball within a club's length of the hole"

This is the first entry from the earliest known rules of the game, written by the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith in 1744. Back in the olden days of links play, there were no tee boxes. After holing, players would lay their club down and set off for the next hole right there. As the rules were developed, players would tee off farther and farther away until courses began the practice of installing tee boxes to mark the beginning of each hole.

2. The "Toss the Ball Over Your Shoulder Like Salt" Rule

Rule: "A ball shall be dropped in the following manner: The player himself shall drop it. He shall face the hole, stand erect, and drop the ball behind him over his shoulder."

Starting in 1908, this was what golfers had to do after incidents that required a dropped ball, like hitting out of bounds or into the water. In 1984, the USGA changed the rule, and golfers now have to stand erect and hold the ball out at arm's length before dropping it.

3. The "That's My Ball Now, Buddy" Rule

Rule: "When a Ball lies in sand, mud, or amongst rubbish, no obstruction shall be removed; but in cases where the Ball is so placed, that the Player finds he cannot play it, it shall be in the power of his adversary to play it."

This, from the Burntisland rules of 1828, allows players to hijack an opponent's ball should it land in a hazard.

4. The "I'm Gonna Plonk Your Caddie Right On The Noggin Because I'm the Winner" Rule

Rule: "If...the player's ball strike his adversary, or his cady, the adversary loses the hole; if it strike his own cady, the player loses the hole."

The St. Andrews rules from 1812 included this gem that could turn golf into a contact sport.

5. The "My Ball Landed in Poop" Rule

Rule: "If your Ball lies amongst Human Ordure, Cow Dung or any such nuisance on the fair green, you may, upon losing one, lift it, throw it over your head, behind the nuisance and play it with any club you please"

According to the 1776 rules of the Bruntsfield Links, you could pick your ball out of a fresh pile of dookie and play it with a one-stroke penalty. (You should also probably clean that bad boy off.)

6. The "If You Let Me Borrow Your Club, I'm Keeping It" Rule

Rule: "The addition or replacement of a club or clubs may be made by borrowing from anyone; only the borrower may use such club or clubs for the remainder of the round."

This rule from 1988 was changed back to the original wording in 1992, which makes no mention of the borrower having to use the clubs for the remainder of the round.

7. The "Don't Give Your Caddie Old Balls" Rule

Rule: "No Golfer shall under any pretence whatever give any old Balls to the Cadies. If they do, they shall for every such ball given away forfeit sixpence to the treasurer."

This one is from The Society of Golfers in and about Edinburgh at Bruntsfield Links' rules drafted in 1773. These guys really didn't like helping out their caddies—another rule stated that "no member of this Society pay the Cadies more than one penny per round." Jerks.

8. The "Can't Tell If That's Your Ball Covered in All That Crap? Too Bad" Rule

Rule: "If the ball be covered by sand, fallen leaves or the like...the ball may not be lifted for identification."

The 1956 rules allowed you to remove impediments from the ball to check if it was yours, but the player was not allowed to pick it up to make sure. In 2008, the rules were changed to allow players to lift the ball for identification purposes so long as they made it clear to their opponent beforehand.

9. The "That Dog Just Ate My Ball" Rule

Rule: "If a Dog happen to carry off or damage a Ball in the course of playing, the party to whom it belongs shall be entitled to use another, and lay it as near to the Spot where taken from as can be guessed."

Apparently Aberdeen had a stray dog problem because, in 1783, the Society of Golfers there deemed it necessary to include a rule about mutts running off with balls in play. Who's a good hazard? Yes you are! Yes you are!

10. The "Bums Are Only Allowed to Play With Other Bums" Rule

Rule: "A competitor, unless specially authorised by the Green Committee, shall not play with a professional, and he may not willingly receive advice from anyone but his caddie, in any way whatever, under penalty of disqualification."

In 1904, if you wanted to play St. Andrews with a pro, you were out of luck. The rules prohibited amateurs and professionals playing together. Had that never been abolished, pro-am tournaments wouldn't be possible and we'd be robbed of great moments like these.

11. The "Your Ball Is Standing In the Way of What I Want and I'm Not Afraid to Go Through It if I Have to" Rule

Rule: "At holing, you are to play your ball honestly for the hole, and not to play upon your adversary’s ball not lying in your way to the hole."

Early rules stated that you could temporarily remove your ball only if it touched an opponent's directly. In 1775, the rules were changed to allow removal if the ball was within six inches of an opponent's. But if your ball stood between the hole and theirs, they were forced to either go around it or through it as they earnestly tried to sink their putt. This was called a "stymie," and the rules regarding it evolved until 1984, when players were allowed to temporarily remove balls anywhere in play if they decided they interfered with another player's or their own.

This post originally appeared last year.

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8 of the Weirdest Gallup Polls
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Born in Jefferson, Iowa on November 18, 1901, George Gallup studied journalism and psychology, focusing on how to measure readers’ interest in newspaper and magazine content. In 1935, he founded the American Institute of Public Opinion to scientifically measure public opinions on topics such as government spending, criminal justice, and presidential candidates. Although he died in 1984, The Gallup Poll continues his legacy of trying to determine and report the will of the people in an unbiased, independent way. To celebrate his day of birth, we compiled a list of some of the weirdest, funniest Gallup polls over the years.

1. THREE IN FOUR AMERICANS BELIEVE IN THE PARANORMAL (2005)

According to this Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans have at least one paranormal belief. Specifically, 41 percent believe in extrasensory perception (ESP), 37 percent believe in haunted houses, and 21 percent believe in witches. What about channeling spirits, you might ask? Only 9 percent of Americans believe that it’s possible to channel a spirit so that it takes temporary control of one's body. Interestingly, believing in paranormal phenomena was relatively similar across people of different genders, races, ages, and education levels.

2. ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS THINK THE SUN REVOLVES AROUND THE EARTH (1999)

In this poll, Gallup tried to determine the popularity of heliocentric versus geocentric views. While 79 percent of Americans correctly stated that the Earth revolves around the sun, 18 percent think the sun revolves around the Earth. Three percent chose to remain indifferent, saying they had no opinion either way.

3. 22 PERCENT OF AMERICANS ARE HESITANT TO SUPPORT A MORMON (2011)

Gallup first measured anti-Mormon sentiment back in 1967, and it was still an issue in 2011, a year before Mormon Mitt Romney ran for president. Approximately 22 percent of Americans said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, even if that candidate belonged to their preferred political party. Strangely, Americans’ bias against Mormons has remained stable since the 1960s, despite decreasing bias against African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and women.

4. MISSISSIPPIANS GO TO CHURCH THE MOST; VERMONTERS THE LEAST (2010)

This 2010 poll amusingly confirms the stereotype that southerners are more religious than the rest of the country. Although 42 percent of all Americans attend church regularly (which Gallup defines as weekly or almost weekly), there are large variations based on geography. For example, 63 percent of people in Mississippi attend church regularly, followed by 58 percent in Alabama and 56 percent in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Utah. Rounding out the lowest levels of church attendance, on the other hand, were Vermont, where 23 percent of residents attend church regularly, New Hampshire, at 26 percent, and Maine at 27 percent.

5. ONE IN FOUR AMERICANS DON’T KNOW WHICH COUNTRY AMERICA GAINED INDEPENDENCE FROM (1999)

Although 76 percent of Americans knew that the United States gained independence from Great Britain as a result of the Revolutionary War, 24 percent weren’t so sure. Two percent thought the correct answer was France, 3 percent said a different country (such as Mexico, China, or Russia), and 19 percent had no opinion. Certain groups of people who consider themselves patriotic, including men, older people, and white people (according to Gallup polls), were more likely to know that America gained its independence from Great Britain.

6. ONE THIRD OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GHOSTS (2000)

This Halloween-themed Gallup poll asked Americans about their habits and behavior on the last day of October. Predictably, two-thirds of Americans reported that someone in their house planned to give candy to trick-or-treaters and more than three-quarters of parents with kids reported that their kids would wear a costume. More surprisingly, 31 percent of American adults claimed to believe in ghosts, an increase from 1978, when only 11 percent of American adults admitted to a belief in ghosts.

7. 5 PERCENT OF WORKING MILLENNIALS THRIVE IN ALL FIVE ELEMENTS OF WELL-BEING (2016)

This recent Gallup poll is funny in a sad way, as it sheds light on the tragicomic life of a millennial. In this poll, well-being is defined as having purpose, social support, manageable finances, a strong community, and good physical health. Sadly, only 5 percent of working millennials—defined as people born between 1980 and 1996—were thriving in these five indicators of well-being. To counter this lack of well-being, Gallup’s report recommends that managers promote work-life balance and improve their communication with millennial employees.

8. THE WORLD IS BECOMING SLIGHTLY MORE NEGATIVE (2014)

If you seem to feel more stress, sadness, anxiety, and pain than ever before, Gallup has the proof that it’s not all in your head. According to the company’s worldwide negative experience index, negative feelings such as stress, sadness, and anger have increased since 2007. Unsurprisingly, people living in war-torn, dangerous parts of the word—Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, and Sierra Leone—reported the highest levels of negative emotions.

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11 Times Mickey Mouse Was Banned
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Despite being one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved characters, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Mickey Mouse, who turns 89 years old today. A number of countries—and even U.S. states—have banned the cartoon rodent at one time or another for reasons both big and small.

1. In 1930, Ohio banned a cartoon called “The Shindig” because Clarabelle Cow was shown reading Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn, the premier romance novelist of the time. Check it out (1:05) and let us know if you’re scandalized:

2. With movies on 10-foot screen being a relatively new thing in Romania in 1935, the government decided to ban Mickey Mouse, concerned that children would be terrified of a monstrous rodent.

3. In 1929, a German censor banned a Mickey Mouse short called “The Barnyard Battle.” The reason? An army of cats wearing pickelhauben, the pointed helmets worn by German military in the 19th and 20th centuries: "The wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which oppose a militia of mice is offensive to national dignity. Permission to exhibit this production in Germany is refused.”

4. The German dislike for Mickey Mouse continued into the mid-'30s, with one German newspaper wondering why such a small and dirty animal would be idolized by children across the world: "Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed ... Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal.” Mickey was originally banned from Nazi Germany, but eventually the mouse's popularity won out.

5. In 2014, Iran's Organization for Supporting Manufacturers and Consumers announced a ban on school supplies and stationery products featuring “demoralizing images,” including that of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, and characters from Toy Story.

6. In 1954, East Germany banned Mickey Mouse comics, claiming that Mickey was an “anti-Red rebel.”

7. In 1937, a Mickey Mouse adventure was so similar to real events in Yugoslavia that the comic strip was banned. State police say the comic strip depicted a “Puritan-like revolt” that was a danger to the “Boy King,” Peter II of Yugoslavia, who was just 14 at the time. A journalist who wrote about the ban was consequently escorted out of the country.

8. Though Mussolini banned many cartoons and American influences from Italy in 1938, Mickey Mouse flew under the radar. It’s been said that Mussolini’s children were such Mickey Mouse fans that they were able to convince him to keep the rodent around.

9. Mickey and his friends were banned from the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a roundabout way. As they do with many major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Disney had contacted American favorites to win in each event to ask them to say the famous “I’m going to Disneyland!” line if they won. When American swimmer Matt Biondi won the 100-meter freestyle, he dutifully complied with the request. After a complaint from the East Germans, the tape was pulled and given to the International Olympic Committee.

10. In 1993, Mickey was banned from a place he shouldn't have been in the first place: Seattle liquor stores. As a wonderful opening sentence from the Associated Press explained, "Mickey Mouse, the Easter Bunny and teddy bears have no business selling booze, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has decided." A handful of stores had painted Mickey and other characters as part of a promotion. A Disney VP said Mickey was "a nondrinker."

11. Let's end with another strike against The Shindig (see #1) and Clarabelle’s bulging udder. Less than a year after the Shindig ban, the Motion Picture Producers and Directors of America announced that they had received a massive number of complaints about the engorged cow udders in various Mickey Mouse cartoons.

From then on, according to a 1931 article in Time magazine, “Cows in Mickey Mouse ... pictures in the future will have small or invisible udders quite unlike the gargantuan organ whose antics of late have shocked some and convulsed others. In a recent picture the udder, besides flying violently to left and right or stretching far out behind when the cow was in motion, heaved with its panting with the cow stood still.”

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