Last night, as we entered the dining room at the country club, we were greeted by this wonderful sign:
Gentlemen, please remove your hat. Something quintessentially Texan about that (and no, I’m not quibbling about the grammatical correctness of that notice). Not being far from a golf course at that time (and for that matter, not particularly far from a golf course as I write this), my mind wandered a bit, and I started to think about “local rules” in golf.
I’ve been fascinated by local rules ever since I played Minchinhampton Old a few decades ago. The course is on common ground; as a result, cattle are free to roam the course; flagsticks are therefore flagless and only a few feet high; and you get a free drop from cowpats.
I think it was journalist Charles Price who said that golf only needed three rules (and I paraphrase): don’t touch your ball between placing it on the tee and picking it up from the hole; no bending over in the rough; and if you must go into the woods, clap your hands.
Where is all this leading? Well, today’s Saturday and I’m on vacation, so I’m allowed to be lazy in my thinking. Bear with me. When it comes to buying/building decisions for technology, I tend to use the following mantra:
If the problem is generic use opensource
If the problem is specific to a market segment use commercial
If the problem is unique to your organisation use your own resources
I’ve begun to wonder whether a variation of that mantra is appropriate for rules in general. Generic rules, rules that matter whoever we are, wherever we are. Market segment rules, rules that relate to the specific society we associate with. And local rules, rules that are contextual.
Too often, I see people seek to impose rules out of context, moving from the spirit-of-law to letter-of-law, acting like car-park-warden-meets-jobsworth.
Just musing on a Saturday morning.