I didn't recognize my own words when I read them in Alan Shipnuck's TEEING OFF column, "Keep Those Calls Coming" (GOLF PLUS, May 10). Let me state categorically that the U.S. Golf Association welcomes any and all inquiries about the Rules of Golf.
Need proof? In 1992 we handled nearly 8,000 phone calls and about 1,200 letters or faxes regarding the rules. Less than a decade later, that number has risen to more than 20,000 inquiries annually via phone, fax, letter or E-mail. The USGA charter as the national governing body of golf, written over a century ago, specifies writing and interpreting the rules as one of our main functions. Today, rule maintenance remains one of the USGA's chief concerns, and feedback from golfers continues to be a cornerstone of this process.
Here's how to get your rules question answered: It's best to put the question in writing and send it to us by mail or E-mail. Our regular mailing address is: USGA Rules Department, P.O. Box 708, Far Hills, N.J. 07931; or you can reach us electronically at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rules Department has an expert on duty at all times to answer questions. Because our experts—there are eight of them—have other tasks that take them out of the office, we do not advise addressing queries to an individual staffer. That way your question won't run the risk of languishing in someone's in-box until he or she returns from a championship or a rules seminar. I know the intricacies of this system were too much for Shipnuck to grasp, but I'm confident that golfers won't have a problem.
Marty Parkes is the USGA's director of communications.