In March 2017, the governing bodies of golf released the draft rules for the golfing world to peruse. After some feedback, they will make the final announcement in the spring of 2018 with the new rules becoming law on 1 January 2019. The changes are significant and in some cases, not so much. Reading the recent addition of the Golf Canada Magazine, they outlined 5 specific rules I thought were worth discussing.
The 5 rules are actually common sense changes I have thought about over the years. I think the governing bodies are heading in the right direction and these rules are a positive step for change.
- How to drop a ball. Players will be able to drop the ball from any height as long as there is air between the ball and the ground upon release. This rule is long time coming. It makes sense because it allows amateurs to take advantage dropping the in the prefer spot. Why compound a previous error by dropping the ball into a difficult lie.
- Time for Ball Search. Three minutes will the the new maximum allotted time to search for a ball, rather than 5 minutes. Increasing the speed of play is always a good thing. I am not sure that this minor change will have a significant impact on the speed of play, but I think it is a great idea to try.
- Repairing Ball Marks. Players will be allowed to repair spike marks and any other damage done by shoes, damage from a club, and almost all other damage on the putting green. At the amateur level, this rule will not have any real significant change to their game. At the professional level, it will slow the game down because they will be fixing everything. I do like the fact that this rules removes the chance of a blemish on the green affecting your putt.
- Leaving the Flagstick In the Hole. Players will be allowed to leave the flagstick in the hole on the putting green without a penalty. This rule is a push to me. The only real difference this rule will have is during tournaments. I never followed it when playing early birds anyway…..please do not tell anyone; leaving the flag in will help speed up play.
- Relaxed Rules in Penalty Areas. Players are allowed to ground their club and move loose impediments in the penalty area. This rule is, by far, the most significant change. I am not sure that grounding our club in the sand traps will apply because they are not penalty areas, but I think expanding this rule to include sand traps would be a great idea.
Finally, the governing bodies are making some significant rule changes that make sense. These 5 rules and others are designed to improve the speed of play, make it easier for amateurs to play and make golf more fun. I am interested in the final version of the rules and see if they stick to making the game better for everyone.
What are your thoughts on the rule changes?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!