Golf's Modernized Rules Released

Jose Verdugo
Marcha 14, 2018

The majority of those proposed rules made the final version, the USGA and R&A stated.

What they settled on: Golfers will now drop from knee height.

"Knee-height gave us that balance, gave us the ability to preserve the randomness of the drop". A year ago it was proposed that golfers could drop from any height above an inch. The modernized rules take effect in 2019.

After the proposal past year for golfers to measure relief by 20 inches or 80 inches, the standard one or two club lengths will remain.

What they settled on: Eliminating the one-stroke penalty for a double-hit.

Now golfers are obliged to return to the spot where they played the original shot and have another go having also incurred a one-shot penalty. (Key change: the proposed Rules released in 2017 included the existing one-stroke penalty). The Local Rule is not intended for higher levels of play, such as professional or elite level competitions. "If the player improves more than what is reasonable, there is already a rule that says you can't improve your line of play".

"Our previous proposal had a number of difficulties with it, particularly around how close certain players would get to the ground in certain circumstances", David Rickman, the R&A's executive director of governance, told BBC Sport.

'We believe that the new rules are more in tune with what golfers would like and are easier to understand and apply for everyone who enjoys playing this great game'.

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"It's been a long process but a gratifying one", said Thomas Pagel, the USGA's senior director of rules and amateur status.

For more information on the new rules, visit the USGA website and R&A wesbite.

Major proposals introduced in 2017 that have been incorporated into the modernised Rules include elimination or reduction of "ball moved" penalties; relaxed putting green rules; relaxed rules for "penalty areas"; relaxed bunker rules; relying on player integrity and pace-of-play support.

Relaxed putting green rules: There will be no penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits an unattended flagstick in the hole, and players may putt without having the flagstick attended or removed.

- Players now can fix spike marks or shoe prints on the putting green. Expanded use of red penalty areas where lateral relief is allowed, and there will be no penalty for moving loose impediments or touching the ground or water in a penalty area.

As well as that, golfers can move loose impediments in bunkers and will not be penalised for generally grounding their club away from their ball. PHOTO: Jeff Gross/Getty Images.

Pace-of-play support: Reduced time for searching for a lost ball (from five minutes to three); affirmative encouragement of "ready golf" in stroke play; recommending that players take no more than 40 seconds to play a stroke and other changes meant to help with pace of play. On Monday the two governing bodies released the new Rules of Golf, which are set to debut on January 1, 2019.

This is the most comprehensive change to the rules since the first set was published in 1744, only in this case, the book got smaller.

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