Copyright 2021 - Beith Golf Club (Est. 1896)

20 Must Know Rules of Golf Changes for 2019

  1. Drop from knee height (NOT shoulder height)

Dropping procedure: When taking relief (from an abnormal course condition or penalty area, for example), golfers will now drop from knee height. This will ensure consistency and simplicity in the dropping process while also preserving the randomness of the drop.

  1. Measure the area to drop in with the longest club in your bag (except a putter)

Measuring in taking relief: The golfer’s relief area will be measured by using the longest club in his/her bag (other than a putter) to measure one club-length or two club-lengths, depending on the situation, providing a consistent process for golfers to establish his/her relief area.

  1. Drop in and play from the relief area
  1. When dropping back-on-the-line, your ball cannot be played from nearer the hole than your chosen reference point
  1. Time to search — 3 minutes (NOT 5 minutes)

Pace-of-play support: Reduced time for searching for a lost ball (from five minutes to three); affirmative encouragement of “ready golf”.

  1. If you accidentally move your ball when searching for it, replace it without penalty
  1. No penalty for a double hit — it only counts as one stroke

The penalty stroke for accidentally striking the ball more than once in the course of a stroke has been removed. Golfers will simply count the one stroke they made to strike the ball.

  1. No penalty if your ball hits you or your equipment accidentally after a stroke
  1. No penalty if your ball strikes the flagstick when you have chosen to leave it in the hole

There will be no penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits an unattended flagstick in the hole; players may putt without having the flagstick attended or removed.

  1. Spike mark and other shoe damage on the putting green can be repaired

Players may repair spike marks and other damage made by shoes, animal damage and other damage on the putting green and there is no penalty for merely touching the line of putt.

  1. Ball accidentally moved on putting green — no penalty and replace

There will be no penalty for accidentally moving a ball on the putting green or in searching for a ball; and a player is not responsible for causing a ball to move unless it is “virtually certain” that he or she did so.

  1. Ball marked, lifted and replaced on putting green is moved by wind to another position — replace ball on the original spot
  1. Penalty areas replace water hazards, and you can move loose impediments, ground your club and take practice swings in penalty areas without penalty, just as you can on the fairway or in the rough

Relaxed rules for “penalty areas” (currently called “water hazards”): Red and yellow-marked penalty areas may cover areas of desert, jungle, lava rock, etc., in addition to areas of water; expanded use of red penalty areas where lateral relief is allowed; and there will be no penalty for moving loose impediments or touching the ground or water in a penalty area.

  1. You can't take relief from a penalty area unless you are at least 95% certain your ball is in the penalty area
  1. In bunkers you can move loose impediments

There will be no penalty for moving loose impediments in a bunker or for generally touching the sand with a hand or club. A limited set of restrictions (such as not grounding the club right next to the ball) is kept to preserve the challenge of playing from the sand; however, an extra relief option is added for an unplayable ball in a bunker, allowing the ball to be played from outside the bunker with a two-stroke penalty.

  1. In bunkers you cannot touch the sand with your club in the area right in front of or right behind your ball, during your backswing or in taking practice swings
  1. Free relief is allowed if your ball is embedded on the fairway or in the rough (but “embedded” means that part of your ball is below the level of the ground)
  1. Unplayable ball in bunker – extra option to drop outside the bunker for 2 penalty strokes
  1. You cannot have your caddie or your partner standing behind you once you begin taking your stance
  1. Pace of Play - in stroke play it is recommended that you take no longer than 40 seconds to make a stroke (and usually you should be able to play more quickly than that) and Ready Golf in stroke play is encouraged

Relying on player integrity: A player’s “reasonable judgment” when estimating or measuring a spot, point, line, area or distance will be upheld, even if video evidence later shows it to be wrong; and elimination of announcement procedures when lifting a ball to identify it or to see if it is damaged.