How golf’s new rules affect you
Pay close attention, the game has changed.
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...