New Year, new rules

New Year, new rules

Wherever in the world you are planning to take your 2019 golf holiday, make sure you pack the new Rules of Golf.  Officials at the USGA and R & A have launched a new, easier to understand and apply, set of rules which came into force on 1 January.
The new rules have been seven years in the making and are designed to make our favourite game more attractive and accessible, as well as quicker.
1. One of the most important changes is that the search time for a lost ball is reduced from five to three minutes.
2. Now, when you are measuring out where to drop a ball, use the longest club in your bag, except for your putter. You also drop the ball from knee height, not your shoulder. Who remembers when we had to drop the ball backwards over our shoulders?
3. In bunker play touching sand incidentally doesn’t lead to a penalty stroke and loose impediments can be removed anywhere, including hazards.
4. There’s no longer a penalty for a double hit, but if you opt to drop a ball outside a bunker, there is a two-stroke penalty.
5. If you like to use a caddie on your golf holiday, they can no longer help you with your alignment.
6. And perhaps our favourite new rule, a ball wedged between a flag stick and the side of the hole is now deemed as holed.
7. In a move that will be definitely be a bonus when you are playing a new course on holiday, if your ball goes out of bounds you can play a new ball in the area near where the ball left the course. You no longer have to traipse back to the tee.
There are plenty more changes and it is worth spending a bit of time familiarising yourself with the new rules on the R & A website, ready for the fantastic season of golf ahead.



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