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The Rules Of Golf are being updated….

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As of the January 2019 the Rules of Golf are being updated. We’ve chosen the most ‘relevant to the amateur game’ rule changes for you to study. Knowing these changes could help lower your scores:
  1. You’ll be able to ground your club in hazards (except in bunkers next to the ball) and remove loose impediments. Hazards will be reclassified as ‘penalty areas’. This should remove the ‘conversation’ when the ‘Fun Police’ claim you touched the reeds 3ft off the floor whilst taking your address position in a water hazard.

  2. You’ll be able to ground your club in bunkers BUT NOT RIGHT NEXT TO THE BALL. There won’t be a penalty if you ‘generally touch the sand’ in a bunker. What ‘generally touching the sand’ means is up for discussion but I’m guessing it means lightly touching the sand anywhere other than next to your ball. You can now drop your club in a bunker and not be penalised. If your Golf Club’s local rule doesn’t allow you to remove loose impediments, as of January worry no more.

  3. You’ll be able to repair spikemarks or any damage on the green. This also incorporates touching the line of the putt which from January 2019 you’ll be able to do. You can repair damage made by other golfers and animals. Basically you should primp and prepare the surface to the best of your ability to hole the putt.

  4. You can leave the flagstick in when putting from on the green. There’s no penalty if your ball comes into contact with an unattended flagstick in the hole. This rule is designed to speed up play, so rather than waiting for someone to cover the 40feet to attend the flag, putt away and hole it without penalty.

  5. You can hit yourself with the ball and not be penalised. We’re not advocating self-harm here but if you’re ‘unlucky’ enough to hit a shot and the ball hit you or your equipment you won’t be penalised. You can also strike your ball against playing partners without penalty; just a thought!

  6. Double hit away! It only counts as one shot from January. The dreaded double hit used to be a shot and penalty shot. It’s now just one shot and play on. A sensible rule as the double hit is mortifying enough! If you double hit chip shots you have bigger issues than this new rule so give us a call and get it sorted!

  7. Drop the ball from knee height as of January. No idea why they’ve changed this as knee height to some is shoulder height to others (maybe that’s exactly why). The ‘Fun Police’ need not worry when they spot someone half a mile away dropping from knee height, as of January it’s allowed.

I think these changes are showing a move in the right direction as most are common sense decisions made to speed up play and remove the odd ‘grey’ area. More is needed but with each updated edition of the Rules of Golf from the R&A comes simplification and common sense, both of which are positive.