If a wind gust moves your ball af­ter you ad­dress it, there’s no penalty.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - News -

Eight rules to know for 2016.

Golf’s rules­mak­ers soften their stance on some things for 2016

Ev­ery four years the USGA and R&A, golf’s gov­ern­ing bod­ies, jointly re­lease an up­dated Rules of Golf. The new­est ver­sion, and its cor­re­spond­ing De­ci­sions book, have an un­mis­tak­ably kindlier at­ti­tude. Here are the most sig­nif­i­cant changes: – Ron Kaspriske

1/Ball moves af­ter ad­dress? There is no longer an au­to­matic penalty (rule 18-2). If your ball moves, all rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion will be used to de­ter­mine what caused it. If it’s more likely than not that you caused the ball to move, you will be pe­nalised one stroke, and the ball should be re­placed. If not, the ball is played as it lies un­less some other agency (spec­ta­tor, op­po­nent, etc.) caused it to move. In those cases, re­place it with­out penalty.

2/Use of un­usual equip­ment or ab­nor­mal use of equip­ment dur­ing a round is no longer grounds for au­to­matic dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion (rule 14-3).Your first breach dur­ing a round will come with a two-shot penalty in stroke play or loss of hole in match play. A sec­ond vi­o­la­tion dur­ing the same round re­sults in dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

3/Turn in an in­di­vid­ual hole score lower than you made in stroke play, and you aren’t dis­qual­i­fied if you did so be­cause you weren’t aware of penalty strokes in­curred on that hole. In­stead, you re- ceive the orig­i­nal penalty plus two ad­di­tional strokes for fail­ing to in­clude it on your score­card (rule 6-6d).

4/Shared equip­ment, other than golf carts, is con­sid­ered to be the equip­ment of the last player to carry or use it (def­i­ni­tion: equip­ment). Golf carts are still con­sid­ered to be the equip­ment of the player whose ball is in­volved un­less the cart is be­ing driven by the other per­son.

5/Pos­sess a 15th club on the first tee of your round and re­alise it be­fore start­ing?You can de­clare it out of play with­out penalty (de­ci­sion 4-4c/1). It’s rec­om­mended that you seg­re­gate it in some way, such as turn­ing it up­side down in the bag or plac­ing it on the floor of a cart. 6/A pro­vi­sional ball dropped in er­ror can be picked up if your orig­i­nal ball is found within five min­utes of start­ing to search, given you haven’t made a stroke at it (de­ci­sion 27-2b/5). Ex­am­ple:You start search­ing for your ball and mis­tak­enly think you can still play a pro­vi­sional, so you re­turn to your previous spot and drop a ball. If, be­fore you make a stroke at that ball, your orig­i­nal is found within five min­utes of when you started search­ing, pick up the sec­ond ball with no penalty. Once you make a stroke at the sec­ond ball, your orig­i­nal is lost, and the sec­ond ball is in play un­der penalty of stroke and dis­tance.

7/Dis­tance-mea­sur­ing de­vices that of­fer pro­hib­ited func­tions such as gauges that fac­tor el­e­va­tion change or wind speed may be used as long as you don’t use the pro­hib­ited func­tions (ap­pen­dix IV, part 5). But a Lo­cal Rule al­low­ing dis­tance-mea­sur­ing de­vices must first be adopted (de­ci­sion 14-3/0.5). 8/An­i­mal hoof prints can be re­paired on the putting green or treated as ground un­der re­pair if a Lo­cal Rule has been adopted (de­ci­sion 33-8/32).

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