All hail the new Rules of Golf

Today's Golfer (UK) - - CONTENTS - Chris Jones, Ed­i­tor

Ah, the Rules of Golf… I imag­ine I’m like the ma­jor­ity of golfers in that when I play a so­cial round with my reg­u­lar part­ners on a Sun­day morn­ing, we “lib­er­ally” in­ter­pret the cur­rent rules.

Of course, I un­der­stand why we need them in com­pe­ti­tions. But we’re rarely mark­ing a card. We know each other well enough to un­der­stand we won’t take ad­van­tage. And when holes are be­ing won with dou­bles (oc­ca­sion­ally, worse!), does it re­ally mat­ter if we don’t ap­ply the let­ter of the law ex­actly?

In fact, we’re al­ready us­ing many of the new rules that will come into force on Jan­uary 1, 2019 (see page 60 for a re­cap, and our ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with the R&A’S David Rick­man about them). I’m talk­ing...

Ready golf We’re all over it. Some­times we even play syn­chro golf, with two play­ers hit­ting si­mul­ta­ne­ously...

Putting with the flag in Of course we do – when I’m wait­ing for my pal to have his third chip (Andy, you’re in luck, there are no more penal­ties for dou­ble hits!) and I’ve got a long putt, no way am I walk­ing across the green to take the flag out…

Knee-high drops Well, the top of the ball pocket in my bag is about knee height, so when I reach in, grab a new ball and throw it down, that just about counts…

Al­ter­na­tive to stroke and dis­tance Who doesn’t do this in a so­cial round? I’m not walk­ing back to the tee on a packed Sun­day morn­ing if I can’t find my orig­i­nal tee shot… I’m drop­ping where it roughly went in the field/hedge/wa­ter.

The new Rules of Golf are in many ways the Rules for the Or­di­nary Golfer. They’re much eas­ier to un­der­stand (with lib­eral use of graph­ics in the new book). They’ll make the game quicker. And they’ll mean or­di­nary golfers like you and me will have more fun. The R&A and USGA don’t al­ways get it right. But in this in­stance, both must be ap­plauded.

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