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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