Main Rules of Golf Changes for 2019

Coming into effect from January 1, 2019, the game of golf will see some significant changes combined with new regulations. Some of these new rules were implemented for the improvement of the pace of the game. Here are the most important ones.

Changes to the Original 2017 Proposals

Significant changes have been made to the original proposals made in 2017. They take place starting the 1st of January, 2019.

Dropping procedure:

Golfers must now drop from knee height when taking relief. This allows the randomness of the ball drop to be preserved, all the while making it simple and consistent.

Measurement in taking relief:

Measurement of the relief area of the golfer will be done with the longest club in their bag. Using this club, a measure of one or two club-lengths will be made, depending on the particular situation. This will offer a consistent measurement process of the relief area of the golfer.

No penalty for a double hit:

Now there is no penalty stroke when a golfer strikes the ball more than once accidentally in the course of a stroke. Only one stroke will be counted when they hit the ball.

Out of bounds or lost balls:

Golfers will be given the option to drop the ball where it was lost out of bounds. There were concerns regarding the negative impact on the game pace when the player must return under stroke and distance. Keep in mind that this rule does not encompass elite or professional level competitions.

Other Proposals Included in the New Rules

Reduction or elimination of “ball moved“ penalties:

Penalties for searching or accidentally moving the ball are removed. Unless it is “virtually certain” that a player has pushed the ball, they take no responsibility.

Putting green rules are relaxed:

If a ball that is played from the putting green accidentally hits a flagstick that is unattended in the hole, there won't be a penalty. Players can putt even without the flagstick being removed or attended. Touching the line of putt has no penalty, and players can repair the damage their shoes make, such as spike marks, as well as any other damage on the putting green.

Bunker rules are relaxed:

Touching the sand with a club or hand or adjusting loose impediments in a bunker will have no penalty. If a ball is unplayable in the bunker, it can be played outside with a two-stroke penalty. However, a set of restrictions will be kept to maintain the challenge of swinging in the sand.

Support of pace-of-play:

A player will have a reduced time to look for a lost ball from five minutes down to three minutes to maintain the pace of the game. Players cannot take more than 40 seconds for a stroke.

The goal of the majority of the rules is implemented to help maintain the pace of the game while still maintaining its difficulty and integrity. These are only several of the new changes, be sure to refresh on the latest to be on top of your game.