Some nine months have passed since the new rules of golf were implemented. So much time that it seems odd to refer to them as new at all.
With almost a full season with the rules, it seems an appropriate time now as the temperatures cool and the leaves change color to take a breath and consider how the year has gone. Let’s look at five of the regulations that came into effect on January 1 and assess their impact.
The knee-high drop
The knee-high drop was perhaps the change that kicked up the most dust, garnering irritated comments by some of the world’s best.
“That you have to drop it from knee height is a bit absurd, unfortunately,” said Bryson Dechambeau. “I think that you should be able to go from knee height to shoulder height. There should be no issue with that, whatever you want to do, honestly.”
A season later, the new regulation now seems like no big deal.
Putting with the flagstick in
This particular new rule was implemented to save time, and some experts do think that it has at upper levels. However, at the amateur level, this regular probably isn’t having the intended impact.
Verdict? Jury is still out.
Repairing spike marks
This rule was implemented to protect the integrity of the green, but critics lamented it as a practice that would make the game slower as players would be forever traipsing round looking for imperfections.
Overall, it doesn’t seem like many people are heeding this regulation.
Grounding your club in a penalty area
Grounding your club, or taking practice swings, are now allowed in hazard or penalty areas. Overall, we haven’t seen much opportunity of this one being put into use, although the regulation still seems sensible.
Three minutes to look for a ball
In general, this rule seems to have done what was intended, although there have been some very generous interpretations of what constitutes three minutes. Players are willing to cut off their search sooner and declare their ball lost.
Verdict? We’re happy with this one.
See also: Knee-High Drop Rule Queried by World’s Bests
Complete Guide to the 2019 Golf Rules Changes
2019 Golf Rule Changes Revealed
USGA and R&A Unveil New Rules of Golf 2019