How golf’s new rules af­fect you

Pay close at­ten­tion, the game has changed.

Golf World (UK) - - THE SPIN -

Af­ter the first draft, the feedback and the re­vi­sions, the USGA and R&A have at last fi­nalised golf’s new Rules – a process that be­gan as far back as 2012. Com­ing into ef­fect on Jan­uary 1, 2019, the Rules have been stream­lined to make them eas­ier to un­der­stand and to make the game more at­trac­tive and ac­ces­si­ble for new­com­ers. To that end, the rules have been trimmed from 34 to 24. And of the orig­i­nal pro­posed Rules the USGA and R&A made in 2017, four of them have been sig­nif­i­cantly ad­justed. Here are the key changes, in or­der of im­por­tance as we see it...

1. Out of bounds or a lost ball

The big change for am­a­teurs re­gards out of bounds or a lost ball (this won’t af­fect the pro­fes­sion­als). In­stead of stroke and dis­tance, a new lo­cal rule al­lows the op­tion of drop­ping a ball in the vicin­ity of where the orig­i­nal was lost or out of bounds, in­clud­ing the near­est fair­way area, with a two-stroke penalty. So, if your tee shot drives OB, you no longer have to hit your third shot from the tee. You can play it from the fair­way, tak­ing your fourth shot. The think­ing here is that the new rule will speed up play.

2. The height of your drop

In the orig­i­nal pro­pos­als, the Rules sug­gested a change from tak­ing a drop from shoul­der height to drop­ping from any length above two inches from the ground. They had a re­think and have ruled that the drop can be taken from knee height.

3. No penalty for a dou­ble chip Of­ten re­ferred to as a ‘T.C. Chen’, ref­er­enc­ing the Chi­nese golfer whose US Open hopes went south af­ter a dou­ble-hit and penalty in 1985, the new Rules no longer pe­nalise golfers who ac­ci­den­tally strike the ball twice in the same shot. It will now just count the hit as one stroke. 4. Club length will be the mea­sure­ment for re­lief

One of the March 2017 pro­pos­als called for ei­ther a 20-inch or 80inch stan­dard, but golfers weren’t happy with that, point­ing out that they don’t gen­er­ally carry tape mea­sures. So, in­stead, the stan­dard one or two club lengths rule will re­main. You’ll still be able to take re­lief us­ing the long­est club in your bag, bar your put­ter.

The key orig­i­nal pro­pos­als that will now be im­ple­mented un­der the new rules are il­lus­trated here.

‘THE DOU­BLE CHIP – AKA THE T.C. CHEN – WILL NO LONGER BE PE­NALISED. A DOU­BLE HIT WILL NOW COUNT AS ONE STROKE’

For the de­tails in full visit: www.randa.org You will have three min­utes to find a lost ball. This is down from five min­utes, the think­ing be­ing that if you don’t find it in three, you won’t find it in five. You will be able to putt with the flag­stick...

Sadly, the muchde­bated re­lief from a fair­way divot rule change was not in­tro­duced. Maybe next time, we hope. You’ll no longer be pe­nalised for ac­ci­den­tally mov­ing a ball on the green or when look­ing for it. But will be if it’s “vir­tu­ally cer­tain” you...

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