The new rules of golf have been in place since the start of the year after golf's governing bodies wanted to make the game simpler and quicker.
New Golf Rules 2019: All You Need To Know
The R&A and USGA's new Rules of Golf were rolled out at the turn of the year and we have already seen a number of them in action out on course.
A number of major changes have been made in the hope to speed up the game and make it simpler.
WATCH - New Golf Rules 2019: Verdict
The Putting Green
- There will be no penalty for accidentally moving your ball on the putting green or when looking for it. A player is not responsible for causing a ball to move unless it is “virtually certain” that they did.
- The flagstick no longer has to be attended or removed when putting and there will be no penalty if a golfer hits an unattended flagstick in the hole.
- Golfers will be allowed to repair spike marks as well as other damage on the putting green.
- There will no longer be a penalty for merely touching your line of play on the green, as long as you do nothing to improve it.
- Once you have marked, lifted and replaced your ball that will now act as your 'stop' point. If the ball moves thereafter whether that be down to wind. water or any other natural force then you are entitled to put the back back on that spot - rather than playing it from the ball's new spot.
Read more: New Golf Rules 2019 Explained - The Putting Green
Searching For Your Ball
- The 5 minute golf ball search time has been scrapped. Golfers are now only be allowed three minutes to search for a strayed golf ball.
- There will now also be no penalty for accidental movement of the ball during your search for it. It must be replaced in its original spot and lie to the player's best knowledge and estimate.
- A player now does not have to announce their intention to mark and lift the ball to inspect it, though, they will still be penalised if you do it without good reason. Mark the ball before you lift it.
- Water hazards will be replaced by penalty areas to include not only ponds, lakes and streams but to also consist of deserts and jungles. Yellow and red markings will continue.
- Golfers can move loose impediments in bunkers and will not be penalised for generally grounding their club away from their ball so long as it doesn't improve conditions for their next stroke.
- Relief on the opposite side of red penalty areas has also been removed.
- A player will now be allowed to touch or move loose impediments in a bunker and touch the sand with their hand or club, providing it is not deliberately done to test the conditions.
- There is now an additional option which will allow a golfer to take a drop outside of the bunker for the penalty of two strokes.
Read more: New Golf Rules 2019 Explained - Bunkers
Dropping and Measuring
- Golfers are now required to drop the ball from knee height rather than shoulder height.
- After the proposal last year for golfers to measure relief by 20 inches or 80 inches, the standard one or two club lengths will remain. Golfers can take relief using the longest club in their bag, barring the putter.
Other New Golf Rules 2019
- There will no longer be a penalty for double-hitting a shot. Golfers will simply count the single stroke they took to strike the ball, rather than counting two shots for hitting the ball twice.
- The Out of Bounds Rule has been changed in a bid to speed up play. Golf clubs will be allowed to install a Local Rule that players can drop a new ball in the vicinity of where their ball has gone out of bounds, with a two stroke penalty. So no more walking back to the tee – if the course you’re playing installs this new local rule. This is only for club level, it doesn’t cover professional or elite level competitions.
- A player will also be allowed to continue using a club they have damaged during a round.
- Caddies will be able to lift and replace their player's ball on the putting green at any time without needing authorisation to do so.
- If your ball accidentally strikes you or your caddie, there is no penalty. Instead, the ball will be played from where the ball has landed.
- Distance Measuring Devices (DMDs) are still only permitted via Local Rule. Clubs themselves have the discretion on whether or not they are outlawed.
- Player integrity will be relied on to the point where a player’s “reasonable judgement” will be trusted on things like estimating/measuring a spot, point, line, area or distance.
- Golf’s governing bodies are also encouraging ready golf in stroke play and recommend golfers take no longer than 40 seconds over a shot.
Expand New Golf Rules Explained: Local Rules
The new golf rules have come into play,…
Expand New Golf Rules Explained: Bunker Changes
From 2019 the rules regarding loose impediments and…
Expand Golf Rules Explained: Putting Green
Several things changed on the shortest grass from…
Expand Golf Rules Explained: Dropping And Measuring
We explain the dropping and measuring techniques to…
Expand New Golf Rules Explained: Searching For Your Ball
Ball search time has been reduced to three…
Expand New Golf Rules Explained: Penalty Areas
The new Rules of Golf came into force…
David Rickman, Executive Director – Governance at The R&A, said, "The rules before this year have done a very good job. They are cleverly written and very comprehensive, but the trouble is they are quite daunting for many people. What we have tried to do is make the Rules much more accessible, much easier to use and understand and much more intuitive. Those are important aspects for a self-regulating game."
As always, let us know your thoughts on the Golf Monthly social channels
Get the Golf Monthly Newsletter
Tips on how to play better, latest equipment reviews, interviews with the biggest names and more.
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, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four 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 at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. 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 HL
Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Tiger Woods Hoping To Play ‘A Tournament A Month’ In 2024 After Admitting His Ankle Is ‘Pain Free’
The 47-year-old has set a positive target for his 2024 playing schedule after recovering from ankle surgery
By Mike Hall Published
‘It Can’t Happen And It Won’t Happen Again’ – Tiger Woods 'Very Frustrated' By PGA Tour/PIF Merger
Woods has expressed frustration at the secretive way the PGA Tour's negotiations with the PIF were conducted
By Mike Hall Published
Rules Of Golf: Unplayable Ball In Bunker
Unplayable ball in bunker? Jeremy Ellwood looks at what you can and can't do if you decide it would be impossible or unwise to play it
By Jeremy Ellwood Published
Golf Rules Explained: Local Rules
We explain what Local Rules are, where to look out for them and discuss one or two examples you might encounter
By Jeremy Ellwood Published
New Golf Rules Explained: Penalty Areas
The new Rules of Golf came into force in 2019 and the term 'hazard' is no longer of use.
By Sam Tremlett Published
8 Rules Golfers Break Without Realising
We take a look at 8 rules golfers break without realising
By Jeremy Ellwood Published
Significant Changes To Golf’s Rules Of Amateur Status Published
The R&A and USGA have published new Rules of Amateur Status to come into effect 1st January 2022. We spoke to Grant Moir, Director of Rules at The R&A to find out more
By Fergus Bisset Published
Golf Rules Explained: Putting Green
Several things changed on the shortest grass from 2019. Here's a summary...
By Tom Reid Published
Golf Rules Explained: Dropping And Measuring
We explain the dropping and measuring techniques to use out on the golf course.
By James Jankowski Published
New Golf Rules Explained: Bunker Changes
From 2019 the rules regarding loose impediments and unplayable lies in bunkers changed. Here is how.
By Elliott Heath Published