Dramatic Changes to Golf Rules Proposed
Changes to be introduced devised to simplify the rules and to speed up the game
The proposals follow a four year review of the current rules by officials from the R&A and USGA, as well as the professional tours. A need to simplify the rule book and to introduce initiatives to speed up general play is recognised in these changes.
The changes are being introduced for amateur and professional players alike and a new rulebook will be drawn up in "a modern, plain style" that will be written from a "player's perspective".
The proposals include -
- Reduce time allowed to search for a lost ball from five to three minutes.
- Remove any penalty for accidentally moving ball.
- Allow club committees to set a maximum score for a hole (such as double par or triple bogey) to allow a player to pick up and move to the next hole.
- Relax protocols for taking free or penalty drops, with the ball dropped from only an inch above the ground, rather than shoulder height.
- Recommend no player takes more than 40 seconds to hit a shot.
- Use fixed distances (20 or 80 inches) rather than club lengths to measure areas where a ball should be dropped.
- Allow putting on the green with the flagstick left in the hole.
- Allow players to repair spike marks and animal damage on greens.
- Allow use of distance measuring devices. Ban caddies helping players’ alignment.
- Encourage players in stroke play to implement “ready golf” rather than waiting until their turn.
There will now be a six-month period to allow golfers to respond to the proposals, with the new rulebook set to be implemented for the start of 2019.
More information can be found here at the R&A website
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