Important Changes in Golf Rules
Last month we touched on the first half of some of the important changes to the new rules of golf that will be taking effect on January 1, 2019. Here we have the rest of our two-blog series. For more information on the new golf rules of 2019, see the complete, downloadable text published by the R&A and the USGA.
When to Play During a Round
Rule 5.6 – Encouraging Prompt Pace of Play
- It is recommended that you play “ready golf” and make each stroke in no more than 40 seconds.
Maximum Score Form of Stroke Play
- A new “Maximum Score” form of stroke play is recognized, where your score for a hole is capped at a max score.
Rule 1.2a – Expected Standards of Player Conduct
- The proposed new Rules speak to the high standards of conduct expected from players.
1.2b – Code of Player Conduct
- Committees are given authority to adopt their own code of player conduct and to set penalties for breaches of that code.
Elimination of the Requirement to Announce the Player’s Intent to Lift a Ball
- When you have good reason to mark and lift your ball, you are no longer required to first announce your intention.
Areas of the Course
Rule 13.1d – When to Replace a Ball That Moves on the Putting Green
- After your ball has been lifted and replaced, you would always replace your ball on its original spot, even if it was blown by the wind or moved for no clear reason.
Rule 13.1c(2) – Repairing Damage on the Putting Green
- Repair of almost any damage allowed on the putting green (including spike marks and animal damage).
Touching Line of Play on a Putting Green
- No penalty for touching your line of play on the putting green so long as doing so does not improve the conditions for your stroke.
Rule 13.2a(2) – No penalty for touching your line of play on the putting green so long as doing so does not improve the conditions for your stroke.
- No penalty if your ball played from the putting green (or anywhere else) hits the unattended flagstick in the hole.
Areas the Committee May Mark as Penalty Areas
- Areas of desert, jungle, lava rock, etc. (in addition to areas of water) may now be marked as red or yellow “penalty areas.”
Rule 17 – Touching Loose Impediments or Ground in a Penalty Area
- No penalty for moving loose impediments, touching the ground, or grounding your club in a penalty area.
Expanded Use of Red-Marked Penalty Areas
- Committees are given the discretion to mark any penalty area as red so that lateral relief is always allowed.
Rule 17.1 – Elimination of Opposite Side Relief for Red Penalty Areas
- Relief from a red penalty area no longer allowed on the opposite side from where the ball last entered the penalty area.
Rules 12.2a & 12.2b – Moving or Touching Loose Impediments or Touching Sand in a Bunker
- Relaxed Rules relating to loose impediments and touching the ground in a bunker.
Rule 19.3 – Unplayable Ball in Bunker
- Relief allowed outside a bunker for an unplayable ball for two penalty strokes.