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Golf Rules set for Major Changes to Modernize Game

Dustin Johnson Swing

On Wednesday, the USGA and the R&A released a big set of proposed rule changes for golf that are “expected to have the most impact on the game and to be of most interest to golfers and those who follow the game.” The proposed rules are broken down into eight categories, along with supporting reasons.

The possible changes have been about five years in the making so it appears that both golf organizations have put a lot of time and thought into this proposed overhaul. There will also be a six-month review period with a target date of January 1, 2019 to officially put the rules into play.

Some of the proposed changes include:

  • No penalty if a golfer accidentally moves his or her ball during a search
  • No penalty if a golfer accidentally moves his or her ball or ball-marker on the putting green
  • A dropped ball must come to rest in the relief area where it was dropped or it must be dropped again
  • If a ball is not found in three minutes (instead of five), it is lost
  • No penalty if a golfer touches his or her line of play on the putting green as long as it does not improve conditions of his or her stroke
  • A caddie can lift and replace a player’s ball on the putting green without permission from the player

The executive director of governance for the R&A, David Rickman, had this to say about the exciting news:

“Our aim is to make the rules easier to follow and to apply for all golfers. We have looked at every rule to try to find ways of making them more intuitive and straightforward, and we believe we have identified a number of significant improvements.

It is important that the rules continue to evolve and remain in tune with the way the modern game is played, but we have been careful not to change the game’s longstanding principles and character.”

If the new rules are adopted, the golf rulebook will go from having 34 primary rules to 24, marking the most significant modification since the inaugural golf rules of 1744. The USGA and R&A are also welcoming feedback from all players until August 31, 2017.

USGA senior director of Rules and Amateur Status, Thomas Pagel, offered this take on the changes:

We are excited and encouraged by the potential this work brings, both through the proposed new language and the opportunities to use technology to deliver them. We look forward to an ongoing conversation with golfers through the feedback period during the months ahead.”

To check out all of the proposed rules, here is the USGA page with a thumbnail link to “Share Your Thoughts” near the bottom. The R&A page has a 10-minute survey if you want to give feedback there (also at bottom of page).

Check out this quick video from Thomas Pagel (USGA) and Grant Moir (R&A) below.

How do the new proposed rules sound to you? Let us know your thoughts!

h/t: usga.org, randa.org, espn.com, cbssports.com

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Written by BP Staff

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