Golf's governing bodies have revealed the new rules coming into play from 1st January 2019


New Golf Rules 2019: All You Need To Know

The R&A and USGA have revealed the new golf rules to be implemented on 1st January 2019 and there are some huge changes set to come into play.

Golf’s two governing bodies revealed proposals for changes to come into place last year but these new finalised rules are slightly different – that’s because there’s been ‘an extensive review that included a request for feedback from the global golf community on the proposed changes’

The changes have been brought in to modernise the game.

There have been four major changes to the proposals they brought out last year.

The first is the dropping procedure. Last year it was proposed that golfers could drop from any height above an inch. This has been changed to knee height. So from 1st Jan 2019, when taking relief golfers will now drop from knee height – no longer shoulder height.

Drops will have to be taken from knee height

After the proposal last year for golfers to measure relief by 20 inches or 80 inches, the standard one or two club lengths will remain. Golfers can take relief using the longest club in their bag, barring the putter.

There will no longer be a penalty for double-hitting a shot. Golfers will simply count the single stroke they took to strike the ball, rather than counting two shots for hitting the ball twice.

The Out of Bounds rule is set to undergo huge changes in a bid to speed up play. From 1st Jan 2019, golf clubs will be allowed to install a local rule that golfers can drop a new ball in the vicinity of where their ball has gone out of bounds, with a two stroke penalty.

So no more walking back to the tee – if the course you’re playing installs this new local rule. This is only for club level, it doesn’t cover professional or elite level competitions.

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As well as those changes to the proposals, here are some major changes that were proposed last year and WILL BE coming in on 1st Jan 2019:

There will be no penalty for accidentally moving your ball on the putting green or when looking for it. A player is not responsible for causing a ball to move unless it is “virtually certain” that they did.

The flagstick no longer has to be attended or removed when putting and there will be no penalty if a golfer hits an unattended flagstick in the hole.

Golfers will be allowed to repair spike marks as well as other damage on the putting green. There is also no penalty for merely touching the line of a putt.

Golfers can now touch the ground with their club in a hazard and can move loose impediments in a hazard without penalty.

Loose impediments in hazards and bunkers may be moved

As well as that, golfers can move loose impediments in bunkers and will not be penalised for generally grounding their club away from their ball.

You still cannot ground your club when playing a bunker shot. An unplayable lie may be taken in a bunker, with a drop out for two strokes.

Player integrity will be relied on to the point where a player’s “reasonable judgement” will be trusted on things like estimating/measuring a spot, point, line, area or distance.

The 5 minute golf ball search time has been scrapped. From 1st Jan 2019, golfers will be allowed only 3 minutes to search for a strayed golf ball.

The time you can search for a strayed golf ball has been reduced to 3 minutes

Golf’s governing bodies are also encouraging ready golf in stroke play and recommend golfers take no longer than 40 seconds over a shot.

David Rickman, Executive Director – Governance at The R&A, said, “We are pleased to be introducing the new Rules of Golf after a collaborative and wide-ranging review process which has embraced the views of golfers, rules experts and administrators worldwide. We believe that the new Rules are more in tune with what golfers would like and are easier to understand and apply for everyone who enjoys playing this great game.”

“We’re thankful for the golfers, administrators and everyone in the game who took the time to provide us with great insight and thoughtful feedback,” said USGA Senior Director of Rules & Amateur Status, Thomas Pagel. “We couldn’t be more excited to introduce the new Rules ahead of their education and implementation.”

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