Game Changers – Proposed Rule Changes

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How proposed rule changes by the USGA and Royal & Ancient Golf Club would modernize and impact the sport

By: SoCal Golf Insider

Nearly 300 years after the Rules of Golf were first published, the United States Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club have proposed sweeping changes to golf’s rulebook that are designed to modernize and simplify the game.

If enacted, the new rules – scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019 – will be less punitive, improve pace of play and make the game more enjoyable for all golfers. Here’s a brief look at a few of the potential changes:

  • You may repair almost all damage, including spike marks and animal damage, on the putting green – rather than being limited to repairing only ball marks or old hole plugs. This will be especially helpful for recreational golfers who play most of their rounds on busy public and municipal courses that see heavy foot traffic.
  • You may putt without having the flagstick attended or removed, so there is no longer a penalty if your putt hits the stick while it is in the hole.
  • The governing bodies also are encouraging ready golf instead of waiting for whoever is farthest from the hole to hit the next shot – and to play each stroke in under 40 seconds.
  • Another “relaxed” rule is eliminating the penalty for accidentally grounding a club or dropping one in a hazard, though it still will result in a penalty if your club touches just behind or in front of your ball in a sand-filled bunker.
  • Another positive change is a rule intended for beginning golfers allowing you to take a ball out of a bunker and take a drop next to it, with a two-shot penalty, instead of trying and failing many times to escape the sand.

Republished with permission by SoCal Golf Insider.

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