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.

New Rules of Golf 2019

Bryson DeChambeau putts with the flagstick in during the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)

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.

New Rules of Golf 2019

(Photo by Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images)

– 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.

Read more: New Golf Rules 2019 Explained – Searching For Your Ball

Penalty Areas

– 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.

Read more: New Golf Rules 2019 Explained – Penalty Areas


– 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.

New Rules of Golf 2019

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

– 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.

Read more: New Golf Rules 2019 Explained – Dropping and Measuring

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.

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.”

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