Golf’s new Rules were published on 12th September by The R&A and the USGA before coming into effect on 1st January 2019. The Official Guide to the Rules of Golf is available on websites and apps, with a printed version being released in November.
Hua Hin Today will feature important changes for golfers over coming months. These are the important changes to putting on the green.
Relaxed Putting Green Rules
When a Ball at Rest Moves If the ball had been lifted and replaced on its original spot before it moved, the ball must always be replaced on its original spot, regardless of what caused it to move. The ball must be played from its new spot if the ball had not been lifted and replaced before it moved. There will no longer be a penalty if a player (or opponent) accidentally causes the player’s ball to move on the putting green.
Comment: Most situations on the putting green involve minimal movement of the ball when the player is taking reasonable actions to prepare for a stroke. When a ball at rest is moved by natural forces its movement is considered a continuation of the previous stroke but not when it had been lifted and replaced.
Repair Almost Any Damage “Damage on the putting green” will be defined to include all types of damage (such as ball-marks, shoe damage, indentations from a club or flagstick, animal damage), except aeration holes, natural surface imperfections or natural wear of the hole.
Comment: Players should have a smooth surface for rolling the ball. There is no conceptual reason for prohibiting repair of other types of damage (whether made by players, animals, maintenance staff, etc.).
Touch the Line
There will no longer be a penalty for merely touching the line of play on the putting green. But the player will still be subject to the prohibition on improving the line of play.
Comment: No advantage is gained if a player or his or her caddie merely touches the surface of the putting green on the line where the ball will be played.
Leave the Flagstick in the Hole
There will be no a penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits a flagstick left in the hole. Players will have the choice to have it removed, including attending the flagstick and removing it after being played.
Comment: Allowing a player to putt with the flagstick in the hole should generally help speed up play. It is expected that there should be no advantage with the flagstick in the hole: