USGA and R&A Unveil New Rules of Golf 2019

USGA and R&A Unveil New Rules of Golf 2019 image courtesy Shutterstock

After an extensive review, the R&A and USGA’s Rules of Golf 2019 have been announced and will be implemented on 1 January 2019.

Back in 2012, a comprehensive review on the regulations was launched in a bid to make golf rules easier to understand and the game more accessible to beginners and newcomers.

The majority of rules remain intact, however, several important changes—and some clarifications—were incorporated.

The modernized Rules of Golf include:

  • Dropping procedure. When taking relief, golfers will now drop from knee height, ensuring consistency and simplicity in the dropping process whilst also preserving the randomness of the drop. Past Rules of Golf suggested dropping from any height.
  • Measuring in taking relief. A golfer’s relief area will be measured by using the longest club in the bag to measure one club-length or two club-lengths.
  • Removing the penalty for a double hit. There is no longer a penalty stroke for accidentally striking the ball more than once in the course of a stroke.
  • Balls lost or out of bounds: Alternative to stroke and distance. Committees will be permitted to allow golfers the option to drop the ball in the vicinity of whenre the ball is lost or out of bounds, under a two-stroke penalty.

After the extensive review process, which also included and embraced feedback from the global golf community, the following major proposals have also been incorporated into the new Rules of Golf:

  • Elimination or reduction of “balls moved” penalties. There will be no penalty for accidentally moving a ball on the putting green or in searching for a ball. A player will not be responsible for causing a ball to move unless it is “virtually certain” that he or she did so.
  • Relaxed putting green rules. There will be no penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits an unattended flagstick in the hole; players may putt without having the flagstick attended or removed.
  • Relaxed rules for “penalty areas”. Red and yellow-marked penalty areas may cover areas of desert, jungle, lava rock etc. There will be no penalty for moving loose impediments or touching the ground or water in a penalty area.
  • Relaxed bunker rules. There will be no penalty for moving loose impediments in a bunker or for generally touching the sand with a hand or club.
  • Relying on player integrity. A player’s “reasonable judgement” when estimating or measuring a spot, point, line, area or distance will be upheld, even if video evidence later shows it to be wrong.
  • Pace-of-play support. Reduced time for searching for a 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 intended to help with pace of play.

The public can now access the official Rules of Golf 2019 by visiting RandA.org or usga.org/rules.

The new Rules of Golf, which have been presented in digital, text-based form, will also be translated in over 30 languages.

Golfers are reminded to refer to and use the Rules of Golf released in 2016 for the remainder of the year.

See also: Golf Hit by “Backstop” Row

Furyk Adds Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson to U.S. Ryder Cup Team

Exploring the Vancouver Island Golf Trail

You May Also Like

2018 PGA Championship: Who are the contenders? Image courtesy Amy Kerkemeyer / Shutterstock.com

PGA Championship 2018: The Leading Contenders

The fourth and final major of 2018 will take place from August 9-12. Bellerive ...

2018 U.S. Open: Key Holes at Shinnecock Hills That Could Decide the Major

2018 U.S. Open: Key Holes at Shinnecock Hills

Shinnecock Hills will host the 2018 US Open from June 14-17 and the sublime ...

Zach Johnson, 2006

Looking Back at 2020’s PGA TOUR Award Winners

Dustin Johnson earned second Player of the Year award; Scottie Scheffler was top rookie; ...

Destined to Be Great: Interview with Bernhard Langer

When Bernhard Langer was a kid, he caddied at Augsburg Golf Club, pocketing a ...

Rory McIlroy challenges fellow PGA TOUR pros to beat his Peloton bike stats

Rory McIlroy Peloton Bike Challenge Gains Speed

With PGA TOUR and any professional golf-related events put on a major hiatus due ...

Does the Presidents Cup Need a Revamp?

Does the Presidents Cup Need a Revamp?

The United States’ victory in the 2017 Presidents Cup at the weekend has left ...