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New Golf Rules for 2019

The R & A are making significant changes to the rules of golf effective from 1st January 2019. These changes simplify the rules and are aimed at speeding up the game. More detailed Information is available from the R&A booklet recently made available in the club house and from the R&A website https://www.randa.org/en/rulesequipment/rules/rules-updates. Following is the 20 most common changes.

  1. Lost ball - search time reduced from 5 minutes to 3 minutes.
  2. No penalty for accidentally moving ball while searching. Ball must be replaced.
  3. Embedded ball rule anywhere (except in sand) in the ‘general area’. (‘through the green’). This includes rough at all times.
  4. A club length is defined as the player’s longest club except for their putter.
  5. Drop ball from knee height rather than shoulder.
  6. Ball on wrong green, player is not allowed to take stance on a green to make a stroke.
  7. Accidental hitting equipment is not a penalty, unless player is purposely trying to use as a backstop.
  8. Double hits are no longer a penalty, counts as one stroke.
  9. In a bunker, you can smooth marks if not on the line. Also you can lean on club in sand to rest, stay balanced or prevent a fall.
  10. Can remove loose impediments anywhere, including a hazard/penalty area. Ball cannot move or 1 stroke if it does.
  11. Unplayable lie in a bunker. 4 options:
    • 2 club lengths from the unplayable lie, 1 penalty stroke.
    • 1 club length back along a line from the hole through where the ball was at rest remaining in bunker, 1 penalty stroke.
    • Stroke and distance within 1 club length of original spot ball was played from.
    • Drop behind bunker along a line from the hole through where the ball was at rest, 2 penalty strokes.
  12. Water hazards are now called penalty areas, red and yellow. The club can now mark any areas as penalty, with or without water.
  13. Touching ground in a penalty area is allowed.
  14. If ball moves on the green, after being marked, through act of nature (wind, slope, etc), player must replace on the original spot.
  15. Accidental touching or moving ball on green is not a penalty, player must replace on original spot.
  16. Repairing damage on a green can be performed at anytime and anywhere. Natural imperfections are a part of the game so no smoothing entire line.
  17. No positioning of a club to help line up a shot. Rule 10
  18. No help from a caddie to help line up a shot. Rule 10
  19. Hitting the flag in the hole is allowed. Rule 11
  20. Ball wedged on flag stick, ball is considered holed if partly below the lip.