The R&A have revealed the new Golf Rules for 2019 which will become effective on 1st January 2019. Please familiarise yourselves with the main changes and collect the new Rules Books which will be in your clubs from now. If you’re in any doubt, you should carry a Golf Rules Book in your golf bag or download the Golf Rules App onto your phone.
What you need to know.
Regarding out of bounds or a lost ball. Instead of stroke and distance, a new local rule allows the option of dropping a ball in the vicinity of where the original was lost or out of bounds, including the nearest fairway area, with a two-stroke penalty.
Dropping procedure. This will be from knee height.
There will no longer be a penalty for double-hitting a shot. Golfers will simply count the single stroke they took to strike the ball, rather than counting two shots for hitting the ball twice.
There will be no penalty for accidentally moving your ball on the putting green or when looking for it. A player is not responsible for causing a ball to move unless it is “virtually certain” that they did.
The flagstick no longer has to be attended or removed when putting and there will be no penalty if a golfer hits an unattended flagstick in the hole.
Golfers will be allowed to repair spike marks as well as other damage on the putting green. There is also no penalty for merely touching the line of a putt.
Golfers can now touch the ground with their club in a hazard and can move loose impediments in a hazard without penalty.
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. You still cannot ground your club when playing a bunker shot.
An unplayable lie may be taken in a bunker, with a drop out for two strokes.
Player integrity will be relied on to the point where a player’s “reasonable judgement” will be trusted on things like estimating/measuring a spot, point, line, area or distance.
The 5 minute golf ball search time has been scrapped, golfers will be allowed only 3 minutes to search for a strayed golf ball.
You also are no longer required to announce when you are lifting a ball to identify or see if it’s damaged.
Golf’s governing bodies are also encouraging ready golf in stroke play and recommend golfers take no longer than 40 seconds over a shot.
The R&A have produced some excellent literature and videos on their website, click here https://www.rules.golf