In 2019, the governing bodies of golf introduced a few new rule modifications and streamlined the exceptions related to the rules of golf. At first many of golfers were skeptical, but after four years of use, I wonder if the changes have helped or hindered the amateur player’s game. I know that in my case, the rule changes made very little difference because I do not play by the rules anyway…..wait, that is not right. 😉 The new rule changes have helped in many ways to speed up the game by removing the fog of confusion many amateurs face when playing golf.
As you can see, the 20 rules that came into affect touched on all aspects of golf. Even rules that are rarely used by players did help clarify the muddy waters. I decided to cherry pick a few rules in order to add my views on whether the rules made any difference to the game or not.
Let’s start with the first rule of search time. Reducing the search from 5 to 3 minutes seems like a great idea on the surface. Actually, unless golfers are in a tournament, this rule is white noise. There is little or no chance of speeding up someone looking for their white nugget of gold. They do not time, nor are they aware of, how long they search. Basically, they take their time regardless of what anyone thinks. I like this rule, but it is rarely enforced during a friendly match.
Dropping the ball for knee height instead of the shoulder is a good rule. At first I thought it was silly, but after using it more times that I had hoped, it is smart rule change. It allows for the player to place the ball in a more advantageous position. It takes a great deal of randomness out of the drop. I also like this rule because it helps a player after a wayward shot.
Loose impediments can now be moved anywhere on the course. I felt that this rule was unfair in the past especially in a bunker. Finding rocks and pine cones, for example, in a bunker behind our ball was an additionally penalty. Many traditionalists would say that is the rub of the green, however I never believed that for one minute. Removing loose impediments makes sense and helps lower the frustration of unreasonable factors influencing our next golf shot.
There are a few other rules I like that help the amateur avoid unnecessary penalty strokes. You can see them for yourself. It is clear that some of these rules are meant to help players enjoy golf. There are a couple of rules, however, that are still a bit challenging.
The first is the embedded ball rule. If our ball is plugged, then this is rule makes it simple to apply. We are entitled to lift, clean and drop our ball. If the surface is only slightly dented and the ball rests in the spot is where the confusion commences. Determining if the surface has been breached is challenging at best. The only real way is to move the ball in many cases and even then, it is a challenge. I completely understand the need for the rule, however there is still some difficulties enforcing this rule. It is one that I do not have a solution for, but do applaud the governing bodies for addressing the embedded ball rule.
The last rule I have a bit of challenge with is unintentionally touching the sand in a penalty area. For an amateur, this rule makes complete sense. We are not as skilled as elite players and accidents do happen. At the professional level, I do not agree with this rule. It has already sparked controversy with some professionals. Without naming names, the word ‘unintentional’ has allowed some nefarious players to bend this simple rule. I realize that it is not a good idea to have two different sets of rules, but at the professional level, touching the sand unintentionally or not should be a two stroke penalty. They are the world’s best so this rule should never affect their play.
For the most part, the new rules of golf are a good thing. They positively affect the game and I applaud the governing bodies for stepping up. It is always a challenge to make changes, but in this case the intent of the rule changes hit their mark.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
2 thoughts on “A Look Back At Some Of The New Golf Rules”
I don’t mind those rules though the knee one is onerous I think. Bending to the knee means bending the ankle which lowers the knee. It’s the part where you can’t drop from higher that I think goes beyond. A drop from an arms at your side position or anywhere between knee height and arms at your side would have been a better rule all around I think. But making it a penalty to drop from higher than knee height seems rather dumb in my humble opinion.
Other than that though, I’m fine with the last few changes they’ve made. Not so sure about the one they’ve proposed that’s in the news this week though. Bifurcating isn’t the answer. Making courses longer isn’t the answer. Letting courses get beat up by guys that trained themselves into real athletes IS the answer. It’s not the “gentleman’s game” of old. Not where physical training is concerned. I mean are they going to bring back wooden drivers next. Maybe force them to use balsa wood. lol Seriously. It really isn’t what golf is about. It’s always been about beating up a course. Just because they can now doesn’t mean we don’t want to see it. It’s just the opposite. If a guy can develop a swing that reaches 550 and can even halfway control he deserves to be able to play that hole just like the rest of us. He earned it.
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We are on the same page for the bifurcating. It is the evolution of golf. Preventing it would cause more harm than good in my opinion.