2019 – Rules of Golf unveiled: Many changes!

Hi all.

There is exciting news from R&A/USGA: The final version of the 2019 Rules of Golf has been published (Monday, March 12th 2018).

Many things have been changed, also from the 2017-draft.

Below I have summarised 12 changes which I think are worth noticing:

  1. You must drop from knee height!
  2. Searching time will be 3 minutes instead of 5 minutes.
  3. You are always allowed to substitute your ball when taking relief… no matter if you take relief with penalty or relief without penalty.
  4. The rules for water hazards are changed:
    1. It will be called “penalty areas” (and can include desert, dense woods etc.).
    2. All penalty areas are as a starting point red.
    3. It will no longer be possible to drop on “the other side” of the red penalty area… unless the club applies a local rule allowing it.
    4. The procedure for dropping on “the straight line” will be changed: You must find a spot on the line and drop within one club length of it – not closer to the hole.
  5. A new playing form is introduced: “Maximum score”, where the club can decide that the highest score on a hole is e.g. a fixed number (e.g. 8 strokes) or double the net par of the hole.
  6. Out of bounds: The club can in a local rule decide that you can drop on e.g. the fairway with a two-stroke-penalty when your ball is out of bounds!
  7. Lost ball: The club can in a local rule decide that you can drop e.g. on the fairway with a two-stroke penalty, when you ball is lost e.g. in the rough.
  8. Many penalties are removed, and therefore there is no penalty when…:
    1. … making a double-hit.
    2. … removing leaves etc. from a bunker/penalty area.
    3. … holing out from the putting green with the flagstick in the hole.
    4. … unintentionally moving your ball during search.
  9. The rules for unplayable ball are changed:
    1. “The straight line” option is changed: You must find a spot on the straight line and then drop within one club length of this spot – not nearer the hole.
    2. When a ball lies in a bunker, you are allowed with a two-stroke penalty to drop on the “straight line” outside the bunker – same procedure as in no 1.
  10. You will no longer be allowed to measure one or two club lengths with your putter: “One club length” is considered to be the length of your longest club that is not the putter (usually the driver).
  11. You are no longer required to call your fellow player etc. when lifting your ball e.g. to identify it or to see if it is damaged.
  12. You are still going to measure one or two club lengths; the draft from March 2017 suggesting 20 inches and 80 inches has been changed in the final version as of March 2018.

Best regards
Brian Oswald

  1. MartinDroke says

    Hi All im noob here. Good post! Thx! Love your stories!

  2. David Grieve says

    I think Rule 8-2a is being infringed.

  3. Zafar Mehmood says

    Thanks. Looking forward to January 1st .

  4. Donald Flaglor says

    you changes to the rules are good but what about a divet on fairways when some one made it ahead of you and you have to hit from it not fair

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