As you may have heard the R&A and the USGA have announced a major set of proposed changes to the Rules of Golf. These changes result from a Rules Modernisation initiative that began five years ago in an effort to bring the Rules up to date to fit the needs of the game today globally. The following summarises the proposed rule changes for your information.
The R&A invites you to provide feedback - follow the link HERE:
Here are the major proposed changes for 2019:
Promoting Faster Pace of Play
- Encouraging you to play promptly: It is recommended that you make each stroke in no more than 40 seconds – and usually more quickly than that - once it’s your turn to play.
- Playing out of turn in stroke play (“ready golf”): This has always been allowed without penalty, and now you are affirmatively encouraged to do so in a safe and responsible way for convenience or to save time.
- New alternative form of stroke play: The Rules recognize a new “Maximum Score” form of stroke play, where your score for a hole is capped at a maximum (such as double par or triple bogey) set by the Committee, so that you can pick up and move to the next hole when your score will be at or above the maximum.
- Other changes to help pace of play: The simplified dropping procedure, reduced time for ball search, expansion of penalty areas, greater use of red penalty areas and ability to putt with the flagstick in the hole should all help pace of play as well.
When Things Happen to Your Ball in Play
Ball at Rest Accidentally Moves
- Accidentally moving your ball while searching for it: There is no longer a penalty.
- Accidentally moving your ball or ball-marker when it is on the putting green: There is no longer a penalty.
- New standard for deciding if you caused your ball to move: You will be found to have caused your ball to move only if that is known or virtually certain (that is, it is at least 95% likely that you were the cause).
Replacing a Moved or Lifted Ball
- New procedure when you don’t know the exact spot where your ball was at rest: You must replace the ball on its estimated original spot (rather than drop the ball at that spot); and if the estimated spot was on, under or against growing, attached or fixed objects (such as grass), you must replace the ball on, under or against those objects.
Ball in Motion Accidentally Deflected
- Your ball in motion accidentally hits you, your equipment, your caddie, someone attending the flagstick for you or a removed or attended flagstick: There is no longer a penalty (such as when your ball bounces off a bunker face and hits you).
Standards of Conduct and Trusting Players Integrity
Insisting on High Standards of Conduct and Trusting Player Integrity
- Playing in the spirit of the game: New provisions are added to reinforce the high standards of conduct expected from all players on the course and the Committee’s discretion to disqualify players for serious misconduct.
- Code of player conduct: Committees are given authority to adopt their own code of player conduct and to set penalties for the breach of standards in that code.
- Elimination of need to announce intent to lift ball: When you have good reason to lift your ball to identify it, to see if it is cut or cracked or to see if you are entitled to relief (such as to see if the ball is embedded), you are no longer required first to announce to another player or your marker that you intend to do so or to give that person an opportunity to observe the process.
- Reasonable judgment standard: When you need to estimate or measure a spot, point, line, area or distance under a Rule, your reasonable judgment will not be second-guessed based on later evidence (such as video review) if you did all that could reasonably be expected under the circumstances to estimate or measure accurately.