New Rules Of Golf
For 2019


The R&A and the USGA have unveiled the new Rules of Golf which will take effect on 1 January 2019.

Please take special note of items 5 & 7

Highlights of the Rule changes include:

  1. Elimination or reduction of “ball moved” penalties
    There will be no penalty for accidentally moving a ball on the putting green or in searching for a ball.
  2. Relaxed putting green rules
    There will be no penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits an unattended flagstick in the hole. Players may repair spike marks and other damage made by shoes, animal damage and other damage on the putting green and there is no penalty for merely touching the line of putt.
  3. Relaxed rules for “penalty areas” (formerly water hazards)
    Expanded use of red penalty areas where lateral relief is allowed; and there will be no penalty for moving loose impediments or touching the ground or water in a penalty area.
  4. Relaxed bunker rules
    There will be no penalty for moving loose impediments in a bunker or for generally touching the sand with a hand or club. An extra relief option is added for an unplayable ball in a bunker, allowing the ball to be played from outside the bunker with a two-stroke penalty.
  5. Pace-of-play support
    Reduced time for searching for a lost ball (from five minutes to three); affirmative encouragement of “ready golf” in stroke play and other changes intended to help with pace of play.
  6. Simplified way of taking relief
    A new procedure for taking relief by dropping a ball in and playing it from a specific relief area; relaxed procedures for dropping a ball, allowing the ball to be dropped from knee height.
  7. Alternative to Stroke & Distance
    A new Local Rule permitting committees to allow golfers the option to drop the ball in the vicinity of where the ball is lost or out of bounds under a two-stroke penalty. It addresses concerns raised at the club level about the negative impact on pace of play when a player is required to go back under stroke and distance. The Local Rule is not intended for higher levels of play, such as professional or elite level competitions.