The USGA and R&A are proposing 30 broad scale changes to simplify the rules of golf for both amateurs and pros. In a recent press release, David Rickman, executive director of governance for the R&A, stated “We have looked at every rule to try to find ways of making them more intuitive and straightforward, and we believe we have identified many significant improvements.”
Once the rules go into effect in January 2019, the rule book would be reduced from 34 rules to 24. Most of the rule revisions proposed are focused on the relaxing restrictions by reducing “ball moved” penalties. Some most impactful changes proposed include:
- Players may drop golf balls from different heights, as opposed to the former rule of shoulder-height.
- If a player accidentally moves his/her ball or ball-marker on the putting green, there would no longer be a one-stroke penalty.
- Golf balls not found within 3 minutes (instead of 5 minutes) are considered lost.
- When a player is taking his/her stance and until the stroke is made, golf caddies are no longer allowed to stand on a line behind the player.
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