Are Golf’s Governing Bodies Planning Major Rules Changes?

Golf's governing bodies are expected to make an announcement in March over five new rules in a bid to make the game more simple

Are Golf’s Governing Bodies Planning Major Rules Changes?
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The R&A and USGA are expected to make an announcement in March over five new rule changes in a bid to make the game more simple

Are Golf’s Governing Bodies Planning Major Rules Changes?

The rules of golf may soon be getting a huge shake up within the next two years according to both Golfweek and the Golf Channel's Tim Rosaforte.

The marquee change is that lost ball searches may be reduced from five minutes to three, indicating a real signal of intent from the game's governing bodies to speed up golf's pace of play.

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It's reported that four other potential changes are planned in the hope to "simplify the code by which the game is played."

The five changes are:

1 Reduce lost ball search time from five to three minutes

2 Allow spike mark repairs on greens

3 Allow dropping from any height

4 Emphasising use of red stakes for water hazards

5 Eliminate the use of club lengths when taking relief

The R&A’s executive director of rules, David Rickman, spoke to the European Tour’s players during a meeting at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, where he apparently explained the rules changes to the players.

The changes were expected be implemented on Jan 1st 2020 in the usual four year cycle, however Rosaforte reported that they would come into effect in 2019.

An official announcement on the new changes is expected to be made in March.

The rules of golf came under fire in 2016 at the US Open where neither the players or fans knew of Dustin Johnson's score on the final nine holes after he was deemed to have accidentally moved his ball on the fifth green.

Read: Dustin Johnson wins controversial US Open

He was eventually penalised a stroke after the completion of his round.

The USGA later admitted that they had got the situation wrong.

The R&A is golf's global governing body aside from in the USA and Mexico. The game is governed in both of these countries by the USGA who, together with the R&A, produce the Rules of Golf.

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV