The R&A and USGA are making a great effort these days to try to change and simplify the Rules of Golf, and probably these changes will take effect in 2020.
There are now – according to Golfweek – some rumors as to what some of these changes of the golf rules might be:
- Searching time will be reduced from 5 to 3 minutes.
- It will be allowed to repair spike marks on the putting green (which in fact is the case also now, but only as long as the movement of the ball cannot be affected by the repair).
- You can drop the ball from whatever hight you wish (not – as now – from shoulder hight).
- Most water hazards will be deemed parallel water hzards (red), i.e. players will more often be allowed to use the “two-clublengths”-option.
- The requirement to drop the ball within some clublengths when taking relief will be eliminated (what that exactly means is not further explained).
The R&A when contacted by Golfweek did not want to comment on these rumours, but Golfweek usually is very well informed.
See Golf Channels thoughts about these changes to the Rules of Golf:
UPDATE 1/25/17 I: A representative from USGA has according to Golf Channel stated, that the changes will take effect already in 2019.
UPDATE 1/25/17 II: A representative from USGA has according to Golf Channel also stated, that the changes will be presented in March this year by USGA and the R&A.