The Key 2019 Rule Changes.

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - CONTENT -

The drop­ping pro­ce­dure has

long been de­bated dur­ing this process and a year ago they were look­ing at drop­ping from any height, as long as the ball had some time trav­el­ing in the air, which meant one inch off the ground was ac­cept­able. There was also a change in mea­sur­ing us­ing 20 and 80 inches, but both these have been re­viewed and changed to:

Drop­ping pro­ce­dure

When tak­ing relief (from an ab­nor­mal course con­di­tion or penalty area, for ex­am­ple), golfers will now drop from knee height. This will en­sure con­sis­tency and sim­plic­ity in the drop­ping process while also pre­serv­ing the ran­dom­ness of the drop.

Mea­sur­ing in tak­ing relief

The golfer's relief area will be mea­sured by us­ing the long­est club in his/her bag (other than a put­ter) to mea­sure one club- length or two club-lengths, de­pend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion, pro­vid­ing a con­sis­tent process for golfers to es­tab­lish his/her relief area. The ball must stay within the drop­ping area, un­like to­day, where it can roll out­side and up to two club lengths.

The stroke and dis­tance rule, cur­rently 27-1, has been one of the main rules that golfers would like changed. It is not only very pe­nal, but means a long walk back to the tee if a pro­vi­sional ball has not been played. The fol­low­ing pro­vides an op­tion:

Balls Lost or Out of Bounds

Al­ter­na­tive to Stroke and Dis­tance: A new Lo­cal Rule will now be avail­able in Jan­uary 2019, per­mit­ting com­mit­tees to al­low golfers the op­tion to drop the ball in the vicin­ity of where the ball is lost or out of bounds (in­clud­ing the near­est fair­way area), un­der a twostroke penalty. The Lo­cal Rule is not in­tended for higher lev­els of play, such as pro­fes­sional or elite level com­pe­ti­tions.

Other ma­jor changes in­clude:

Elim­i­na­tion or re­duc­tion of “ball moved” penal­ties

There will be no penalty for ac­ci­den­tally mov­ing a ball on the putting green or in search­ing for a ball; and a player is not re­spon­si­ble for caus­ing a ball to move un­less it is “vir­tu­ally cer­tain” that he or she did so.

Re­laxed putting green rules

There will be no penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits an unat­tended flag­stick in the hole; play­ers may putt with­out hav­ing the flag­stick at­tended or re­moved. Play­ers may re­pair spike marks and other dam­age made by shoes, an­i­mal dam­age and other dam­age on the putting green and there is no penalty for merely touch­ing the line of putt.

Re­laxed rules for “penalty areas”

Cur­rently called “water haz­ards”. Red and yel­low-marked penalty areas may cover areas of desert, jun­gle, lava rock, etc., in ad­di­tion to areas of water; ex­panded use of red penalty areas where lat­eral relief is al­lowed; and there will be no penalty for mov­ing loose im­ped­i­ments or touch­ing the ground or water in a penalty area.

Re­laxed bunker rules

There will be no penalty for mov­ing loose im­ped­i­ments in a bunker or for gen­er­ally touch­ing the sand with a hand or club. A lim­ited set of re­stric­tions (such as not ground­ing the club right next to the ball) is kept to pre­serve the chal­lenge of play­ing from the sand; how­ever, an ex­tra relief op­tion is added for an un­playable ball in a bunker, al­low­ing the ball to be played from out­side the bunker with a two-stroke penalty.

Re­ly­ing on player in­tegrity

A player's “rea­son­able judg­ment” when estimating or mea­sur­ing a spot, point, line, area or dis­tance will be up­held, even if video ev­i­dence later shows it to be wrong; and elim­i­na­tion of an­nounce­ment pro­ce­dures when lift­ing a ball to iden­tify it or to see if it is dam­aged.

Pace-of-play sup­port

Re­duced time for search­ing for a lost ball (from five min­utes to three); af­fir­ma­tive en­cour­age­ment of “ready golf” in stroke play; rec­om­mend­ing that play­ers take no more than 40 sec­onds to play a stroke and other changes in­tended to help with pace of play.

One of my favourites and one that has not re­ceived much at­ten­tion is to do with cad­dies and lim­i­ta­tions on help­ing their player line up dur­ing their ad­dress. This is a com­mon prac­tice we see to­day, but one that will dis­ap­pear.

Player tak­ing stance and use of cad­die

Once the player be­gins tak­ing a stance for the stroke, and un­til the stroke is made, the player's cad­die must not de­lib­er­ately stand on or close to an ex­ten­sion of the line of play be­hind the ball for any rea­son.

Dur­ing the months to come, we will con­tinue to look more closely at these changes, which I be­lieve can only help en­hance our great game.

New rules in­di­cate there will be no penalty for mov­ing loose im­ped­i­ments in a bunker or for gen­er­ally touch­ing the sand with a hand or club.

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