Changes to the Rules of Golf are expected to have a big impact on the game with all golfers needing to be familiar with the changes which will apply from January 1st 2019.
These are our Top Ten most important changes. This has been sourced from the USGA where additional details and all the new Rules are available. www.usga.org
1. No penalty if your ball in motion is accidentally deflected by you, your equipment, or your caddie.
2. When dropping the ball, your ball must be let go from knee height and fall through the air without touching any part of your body or equipment. Drop your ball from knee height 3. Your ball is lost if not found in three minutes (rather than the current 5 minutes).
4. Relief allowed without penalty for an embedded ball is available anywhere (except in sand) in the “general area”.
5. Repair of almost any damage is allowed on the putting green (including spike marks and animal damage).
6. No penalty if your ball played from the putting green hits the unattended flagstick in the hole.
7. No penalty for moving loose impediments in a penalty area or bunker.
8. If your club accidentally strikes your ball more than once during a stroke, there will be no penalty and your ball will be played as it lies.
9. A “Maximum Score” form of play is recognised, your score for a hole is capped at a max score (double par).
10. A new Local Rule can provide an alternative to stroke-and-distance relief for a ball that is lost in a penalty area or out of bounds. The ball may be dropped away from the estimated point of loss or exit from the course, no closer to the hole (including on the fairway).
A 2 stroke penalty applies. These changes to the Rules of Golf are intended to simplify the Rules and speed up play. However the often repeated fundamental tenant of golf remains: “Play the ball as it lies. Play the course as you find it. And if you can’t do either do what is fair. But to do what is fair you need to know the Rules of Golf.”