Golf Canada announce five rule changes for 2023. These rules will likely not impact the mainstream player, but it is good to know that the governing bodies are trying to keep the rules of golf simple and fair. This is a quick look and I have not analyzed the changes yet, but I thought it is a good idea to spread the word. Here is an infographic produced by Golf Canada:
Additionally, I read that the governing bodies are encouraging the use of digital rules books: “All the updates will be available in the new Rules of Golf released on Jan. 1. But the rules “book” will only be available digitally or via the USGA and R&A Rules of Golf app. The governing bodies will print a few hard copies for rules officials, but in the interest of sustainability, they will end their practice of encouraging players to carry the book in their bags. By doing this, the USGA alone with eliminate printing 2 million books, or almost half a billion pages of paper.” (Golf Digest) As much as I like carrying a rules book, this decision to transition to a digital rules book is a good one. This is a future trend for golf that I endorse.
The rules are changing and on the surface, I do not see a real issue with the changes. As I delve deeper into the new rules over the winter, I will have more to say. But, for now the information is out there for all to read.
As you probably know, the rules of golf changed in 2019. One of the major changes has to do with how to properly drop a golf ball to take relief. The logic of the governing bodies is to help ensure our ball stays in the drop area if dropped from a lower level. I understand the logic, but have to say I do not really agree with their conclusion.
Have you ever thought about which golf rule you dislike the most? If you had a choice, which rule would you eliminate from the books? This is a question I ask myself as I started to reread the rule book before starting my Level 1 rules course. After the revamping of the rules in 2019, there is a hold over rule I would like to see changed. I think that with a slight modification, it would greatly enhance an amateurs ability to score will on the links. It is Rule 4.1b.
This article is not about the new rule of how to drop a golf ball. I think that topic has runs its course, for now. I am talking about a failure on my part to properly prepare for the 2020 golf season. I have identified my error and have decided to rectify that omission post haste. I figure that by fixing this oversight I will save a few strokes over the course of 10 rounds. For a 3 handicap player, that partial stroke, on average, each round makes a tremendous difference.
First the background information that will set the stage for my next move. As you are all aware, in February 2018, I successfully passed the Level 1 Rules Course from Golf Canada. I believe it was a good achievement and felt (still do actually) that it helped my golf game. Understanding the rules properly will save you strokes! Well, here is where my great intentions went off the rails and dropped the proverbial golf ball.
The new rules were released in January 2019 and I was not prepared to retake the Level 1 in the Rules Education Program. So, I gave myself a pass, but I did read the new rules from cover to cover. I think with everything going at that time it was a good decision. My intent was to take the course during the 2019-2020 off-season, however I neglected to follow up on my plan and as a result I did not recertify.
Well, I am disappointed in myself for letting a year go by without any follow up! I am happy to announce that this oversight is being rectified. Three days ago, I registered for the free, online Level 1 Golf Rules program through Golf Canada. This course is run by the R&A and is a universal course no matter where you live in the world. What a great opportunity for everyone who has some extra time on their hands due to COVID; I am looking forward to increasing my knowledge and saving strokes in the upcoming 2021 golf season.
After completing this new golf rules course, I plan to explore (actually complete) my Level 2 with Golf Canada. I missed the January intake, but will look to see what March has to offer.
If you are interested in learning more about the rules of golf, check out what the R&A has to offer. It is free and I am sure you will not be disappointed.
As we approach the end of 2020 (thank goodness), it is easy to think back at our golf game and suggest that things were not all that bad. Excluding events of the golf course, I think that 2020 turned out to be one of my better years in the past 15. I am not going to offer up a bunch of stats and brag about my successes, I want to focus a bit more on how I grew as a golfer. It might seem strange that as I approach 60 years of age I am still learning. Well, I believe you can teach a old dog new tricks!