These changes have been made in an effort to modernize the game and eliminate several unusual rules that were confusing and also speed up play. Some of these changes will impact a players thinking, that said, there are several basic rule changes that will come into play for casual golfers.
The new rules will increase the pace of play if managed well. Golfaround has always promoted Ready Golf resulting in a great pace of play and I found it interesting to see some of the new rules support what many of us have already been doing. Watch this video as it demonstrates a number of the rule changes, a big thanks to Debbie McKelvey for sending it to us.
Clubs will have local rules that they will implement and follow and I think the majority of Golfaround members already follow a set of local rules. Some of the new rules will impact us:
The flag stick can be left in the hole and if your ball hits it you do not have to incur a penalty. Initially I thought this may hurt pace of play but when you all agree that you are going to leave the flag in it did save time. In addition, it will eliminate green damage caused by inappropriate removal and placement of the pin.
Goodbye water hazards, hello “penalty areas.” The new rules do away with traditional terminology and include hazardous spots now called penalty areas. For one penalty stroke, you may use specific relief options to play a ball from outside the penalty area. The penalty area could be a dry ravine, thick woods, a pond or any area you can’t hit your ball from.
Local Rule for out of bounds, lost ball
As recreational golfers we play ready golf and only take one mulligan (do over) per nine holes so we would probably drop a ball where we think it went in. Provisional balls are played in Pro circuit and some tournaments but we wouldn’t hit a 2nd ball or return to the tee to hit another ball as the Pros would. The same local rule applies to a lost ball, with the player able to drop in the fairway across from where the previous ball is estimated to have come to rest.
Take a knee
Speaking of all these drops, players should drop the ball from knee height instead of shoulder height whenever a drop is specified for relief.
There is a quiet & discreet way to use our toys, they can hinder pace of play if not used properly. In professional play distance-measuring devices used to be prohibited unless the committee allowed them. Our local rules have always allowed them as the new rule now states. But don’t expect to see them in the U.S. Open anytime soon.
The old double-hit
There is no longer a penalty for hitting a ball multiple times on the same swing. The old rules stated that if a player swung and hit the ball more than once, the player had to count the stroke and take a penalty stroke.
Time to look for a lost ball has been reduce from 5 min to 3 min, the Golfaround local rule is to go have a quick look and if you don’t find it drop a ball and continue on. How will I count – 1 stroke
You now get a free drop or you can move it, so we don’t have to play it where it lies. Nice to know we don’t have to take a stroke for this anymore.
As a recreational golfers in Golfaround rules are not that important, having said that it is important to have this knowledge if you are going to compete in tournaments or want to keep an accurate score for handicapping purposes. The main change as we see it would be leaving the flag stick in place vs minding and pulling it & and the penalty strokes will improve our scores….Hey I like that.