Actually, the changes to the rules of golf extend past 20. In 17 days, golf as we know it will never be the same because the new rules will allow for players to be penalized less for poor play. Overall, I think this is a good idea for the casual player looking for an outing on the links that is not wrought with frustration. However, for the lower handicap player, I think that the new rules allow a higher handicap player to compete better without playing better.
As I run through the 20 new rules outlined by the USGA, I will provide greater insight on where an advantage is gained by the player. I believe that the rules of golf needed to change and the governing bodies provided a great first step. After we play with the new rules for a year or two, I hope they have the energy to make adjustments as required. But first, the 20 rules we need to know.
As you can see, the governing bodies have touch most areas of the rules. Many of the changes address what most amateur/casual golfers are doing anyway. Golf Canada stated that “The process to modernise the Rules began in 2012 and was initiated to ensure that the Rules are easier to understand and apply for all golfers and to make the game more attractive and accessible for newcomers.” I believe they have accomplished their main goal.
After January first, there will be new normal in golf. The rules will help shape the future of the game and hopefully draw more players to the underutilized golf courses. For many of the ‘old guard’, I remind you that change is not a bad thing. In the case of what golf’s governing bodies are trying achieve we are going down the right track.
One other point I think is often overlooked with the rule changes deals with the economics of golf. As with all things, golf has to remain sustainable and needs new players to join the ranks of the converted to do so. Therefore, the upcoming rule changes can be watered down to trying to grow the game. By making the rules of golf less painful to enforce, the powers to be hope that it will equate into a stronger and growing golf industry.
Lastly, I want to thank Kevin (a daily reader of The Grateful Golfer) for reminding me that I promised to discuss the new rules and I will remain true to my word. I will address all 20 of the rule changes moving forward in hopes of providing some benefit to your golf game.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!