Rules of Golf 2019 – What is not changing?

Rules of Golf 2019 – What is not changing

While Golf Clubs are still working on implementing the Handicapping changes introduced by CONGU, the  countdown begins on the introduction of the new Rules of Golf; there is now just over 8 months until the new Rules of Golf are brought in on 1st January 2019.

I will be concentrating on the new Rules in future posts and Newsletters, but first I will mention what will not be markedly changing.

The R&A and USGA,in March 2018, published a draft of their proposed changes to the Rules of Golf, these will be confirmed in print in July 2018 with the other publications, Players’ Handbook and ‘Decisions Book’ due in September 2018.

The objective in modernising the Rules  of Golf is to ensure that they can be:

  1. More easily understood and applied by all golfers
  2. More consistent, simple and fair and
  3. Reinforce golf’s longstanding principles and character
  4. Help to improve the pace of playing a round of golf

To this end the R&A and USGA have recognised that, in order to preserve the essential character of the game, some rules will be retained. These are:

  1. The dimensions of the hole – retained at 41/4 inches in diameter
  2. The number of clubs a player may carry during a round will remain at 14 (an arbitrary number that was first established in 1938)
  3. The number of holes in a stipulated round remains at 18 (maximum allowed), or fewer played in the order set by a  Committee. This takes into account the allowing and encouraging of shorter rounds e.g. Nine-hole
  4. Recognising Match Play and Stroke Play as separate formats
  5. Playing the ball as it lies – this retains the fundamental challenge of the game to deal with the position of the ball wherever it comes to rest; relief may be offered for some necessary exceptions e.g obstructions, abnormal course conditions or divot holes, but these will remain as exceptions and not become the norm.
  6. Some prohibitions to improving the lie of a ball
  7. Some restrictions on touching sand in bunkers
  8. Retaining a penalty for moving a ball when it lies off the putting green
  9. Dropping procedure retained but simplified
  10. Rules on conforming equipment retained
  11. Practising on the course before a round; differences between Match Play and Stroke Play retained but the rules on practising after a round will be relaxed

My next post will deal with the changes in the Rules of Golf Definitions.