The third instalment of the new 2019 rules focuses on an embedded ball. This rule is often misunderstood and as a result, the golf governing bodies have decided tried to simplify the Rule 16.3 for all levels of players. I understand the reasoning for the change, but do not necessarily agree that it meets their intent.
I can appreciate the frustration of finding my ball embedded in soft ground on the fairway. However, it is even more frustrating is finding my ball embedded in the rough or the woods. By the old rules, my ball off the fairway would be considered unplayable and I would have to follow the old Rule 28 and award myself a 1 stroke penalty (there are other penalties depending on the situation). I had several options for the drop, but that is all in the past now.
Before moving forward, it is important to understand a new term: general area. Basically, it means all areas on the course that is not considered a teeing area or hazard. The old term we used was “through the green”.
Under the new rule 16.3, I would be allowed a free drop, as indicated in the infographic above, with no penalty. A free drop outside side a hazard is always a great thing for any golfer. Under the new rules, the relief has changed and is limiting. I understand their reasoning of removing the element of chance for embedding your ball off the “closely mowed areas”, but do not necessarily agree with their approach.
I think that rule 16.3 rewards wayward shots. Players who miss the fairway or hit their ball in the woods can be rewarded for a poor shot by an embedded ball. I realize others will suggest that tacking on another stroke for an unlucky bounce (embedded ball) is not fair either, but I suggest that is part of golf. It is my opinion that we should not be rewarded for wayward shots.
I am sure there are those who relish this new rule and that is completely fine. Rule 16.3 is in effect and I will accept it immediately. This is just one step in the evolution of golf and the governing bodies are trying to make it the best game ever.
Do you agree with the new rule on embedded ball relief in the general area?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!