An Opinion on the New Rules of Golf

Well, after 11 months of the new rules of golf being implemented, I am not sure that there is any real difference to how most amateurs play. I mean, some of the new rules have made the game easier and yet, the instances where the local players sees a possible impact is almost negligible. I have tried to talk about many of the new rules, but it seems that most players who do not compete could not care less, they just want to play golf. Does seem right to you?

I have played within the rules for 6 months and the only changes that had any real affect on my game were the embedded ball relief, moving loose impediments in a hazard, grounding my club in a hazard, and fixing damage on the green. These four rules seem to be the only ones that routinely affected my game. And to be completely honest, I am not sure how much of an advantage I really gained over the course of a season. Definitely less than a stroke a round.

The new rules are intended to make golf easier and faster to play. It is possible that the governing bodies have achieved their goal, but definitely not at the professional level or the none competitive amateur game. As much as I applaud the rule changes, I am not sure it has made that much difference. Here is what I asked:

So, I am reaching out to the readers of The Grateful Golfer; has the new rules of golf affected your game? If so, how?

I am still on the fence on this issue and will be interested to hear what others think.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

12 thoughts on “An Opinion on the New Rules of Golf

  1. Leaving the flag in, grounding the club in the sand trap, free relief from embedded balls, and relif from accidental movement while searching are things I’ve benefitted from as well as ball wedged between the cup and flagstick being considered in. Not all in one game, and not every game except for the first one. But I have not noticed any time benefit. Slow players are still slow.


      • I’m confused with Kevin’s comments about grounding club in sand trap. With the new 2019 rules, this is still not allowed. You can touch the sand while removing loose impediments but cannot ground club while making a shot.


  2. Mostly I would agree with you. I am retired and play year round in Arizona. I play in two organized clubs that play 3 times a week combined. My groups leave flagstick in while putting and utilize the local rule (which we adopted) regarding out of bounds and lost ball. We believe both of these rule changes have improved pace of play. Also, for the reasons you mentioned above, the game is a little more fun because it is little more fair. Especially repairing “stuff” on the green that have been left behind by previous players and/or maintenance crew.


    • David,

      Great to hear that the new rules are working out. I also like that I can repair damages on the green without penalty. Glad to hear that you find the rules even things out a bit and that you find them fairer for everyone.

      Cheers Jim


  3. Hi Jim,
    I think leaving the pin in and reducing the time to search for balls has really sped up the game which, in my opinion, is a good thing. Waiting around disrupts your rhythm and focus on the game. In the end, it’s made it more enjoyable.


  4. I think most amateur golfers never really played anything other than a loose interpretation of the rules To begin with. This especially is true in public golf and non-tournament play, Where courtesy must reign before the rules. If I saw someone take five minutes to look for a ball, Then declare the ball lost, then decided to go back to the tee to hit another one, That person to get in your phone for me, and maybe worse from somebody else. Certainly, when we’re talking about competition play, I think the New rules will eventually improve the pace of play, but by a negligible amount. However, as we use them more and more, I do think they are more understandable to the average person who does want to play as close to the “real” rules as possible.


  5. Jim, the only change I’ve observed was early in the season when I spent about three rounds trying to figure out my preference for putting with the flagstick in or out. Then you have that brief weird moment on the first green (when playing with somebody new) where you ask each other your preference on how you’d like the flagstick, and then getting used to someone else’s preferences during the round. I guess it was a little simpler to play from a common standard in the past. At the end of the day, the new rules seem to be a wash.



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