Proposed Changes to The Rules of Golf

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Proposed Changes to The Rules of Golf

Just over two weeks ago, the United States Golf Association (USGA) together with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (The R&A) announced several proposed changes to the “Rules of Golf”.

As part of a joint initiative by golf’s two governing bodies the changes are intended to both modernize, and make easier to understand the rules of the game. The proposed new rules are scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2019; during the interim period both governing bodies have invited comments… both pro and con.

The more than 30 changes put forward fall into eight categories: Ball at Rest; Ball in Motion; Taking Relief; Areas of the Course; Equipment; Playing a Ball; When to Play During a Round; Player Behavior.

As a longtime critic of what I see as an archaic and overly complicated set of rules, I was most interested in reading through each of the changes being put forward for consideration. After review, I found some aspects of the proposal to be meaningless to most golfers (they, unlike those who have crafted the rules, have common sense) example #1 below, and some aspects of the proposal so obviously needed that I can’t imagine it has taken so long to propose the changes example #2 below.

Example #1… Proposed new rule 7.4, If a player accidentally moves his or her ball while searching for it:

The player would get no penalty for causing it to move, and the ball would always be replaced; if the exact spot is not known, the player would replace the ball on the estimated original spot including on, under or against and attached natural objects that the ball had been at rest under or against).

Comment: Hard for me to imagine that, during a casual round, golfers are not already playing according to the proposed rule… it’s just common sense.

Example #2… Proposed new rule 17, A penalty area would include both (1) all areas currently defined in the Rules as a water hazard or lateral water hazard and (2) any other areas the committee chooses to define as penalty area (with recommended guidelines to be provided in the Handbook).

Penalty area may therefore include areas such as deserts, jungles, lava rock fields, etc.

The term “hazard” would no longer be used in the Rules

Comment: We have to wait until 2019 for this obvious and welcome change to the rules?

Do you carry a rules book in your golf bag? Or, if you read Eric Foster’s post of March 29, 2016 to this BLOG titled:

Five Free Apps to Have in Your Mobile Golf Bag” … Did you download the rules book app to your smart phone?

If you’d like to review all the proposed changes to the rules of golf visit the USGA website (link below). No rush, you have almost two years to check them out. – CLICK ON RULES

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