Verdict: New Golf Rules Tested

Golf Monthly visited Burnham and Berrow Golf Club to play a round of golf, testing the new rules for 2019.

The R&A and USGA have reduced the rulebook by fifty pages, making the rules fairer and easier to understand while improving the pace of play.

Search time for a lost ball: The search time for a lost ball has been reduced from five to three minutes to speed up play. The majority of the time you will know whether you are likely to find your ball within the first thirty seconds of arriving, so the new rule will not particularly impact score. However, if you do not quite know where the ball went, there may be a few instances where the new rule costs you a shot.

An alternative to stroke and distance for a lost ball: A new local rule will be available, giving golfers the option to drop a ball on the edge of the fairway near a lost ball, for a two-stroke penalty. However, this rule won’t be used in elite amateur or professional tournaments.While this is a positive change, we don’t believe it will increase your options around the green. For example, if you lose a ball pin-high, you cannot come out sideways as you would be nearer the hole, which the rules prohibit.

Dropping procedure: You need to drop at knee height instead of shoulder height. This should prevent the ball rolling out of the dropping zone; however, it is quite easy for the ball to ricochet off the ground and hit you. So, please take extra care when dropping.New Golf Rules Explained: Dropping And Measuring

Putting with the flag in: There will no longer be a two-shot penalty if the ball goes in the hole while putting with the flag in.This is a good addition to the rules helping to speed up play. However, there may be conflict between two players wanting the flag in or out, which would slow play down. In this scenario, we would recommend the players come to an agreement where the flag is left in for long distance putts, then removed when nearer the hole.

Repairing damage to the putting surface: Players will be able to repair any damage on the putting green, making the game fairer.

We believe the R&A and USGA have improved the rules, but would like to hear your comments.

For all the latest golf news, check the Golf Monthly website and follow our social media channels.