As hopefully you are all aware, there are a significant number of changes to Golf Rules that come into effect on January 1, 2019.
This communication is designed to help all members know where to see the changes to the Rules (both in summary and in detail), watch videos of the main changes and understand where to go to get help if there is anything that you don’t understand.
The new Rules also have some different definitions and allow course changes to be made. This email also covers these changes.
Firstly in relation to the Rule changes, this message covers the first four main areas of the changes. These cover:
1. Dropping the ball
In 2019, players will continue to drop a ball when taking relief, but the dropping procedure will be changed in several ways:
• The ball must be let go from knee height so that it falls through the air
• The focus of the dropping procedure will be to drop the ball in a specific “relief area”
• No re-drop is required if the dropped ball accidentally hits a person or object after hitting the ground but before coming to rest in the relief area
• If the dropped ball comes to rest outside the relief area, it will be dropped a second time; if it comes to rest outside the relief area after being dropped a second time it will be placed where it first touched the ground
• If the placed ball will not come to rest on that spot after two attempts, the player will then place the ball on the nearest spot (not nearer the hole) where it will come to rest
2. Penalty Areas
In 2019 the word ‘hazard’ will vanish from the Rules. So it’s goodbye to ‘water hazards’ and hello to the concept of ‘penalty areas.’
Players will have the same basic options for relief that exist under the current Rules. But – new for 2019 – when a ball is in a penalty area, players can touch or move loose impediments and touch the ground with hand or club. This includes grounding the club right behind the ball.
As a result of these changes, the General Committee has approved the following changes to the Course:
• On 7, the Red stakes on the Left Hand Side (as seen from the tee) will be moved out along the lines of the little trees and made visible. An intermediate cut of rough will be introduced from the current first cut to the new Red stake line.
• On 9, the Lake will be changed to be a Red penalty area. There is sufficient space on the other side of the lake to enable dropping should a ball hit a tree and go back into the water.
• On 15, the Red stakes around the lake will be extended back in a straight line back to the boundary fence.
In 2019, bunkers will be given their very own Rule number and specific relief Rules. Under Rule 12, players will be allowed to touch or move loose impediments in a bunker and will be generally allowed to touch the sand with a hand or club. However limitations will remain, including prohibiting testing the condition of the sand or touching the sand whilst preparing for the stroke.
In addition to this Rule change, when a player decides to treat their ball as unplayable within a bunker, there will now be an extra relief option: taking relief outside the bunker using the back-on-the-line procedure, for a total of two penalty strokes.
4. The Green
Players will see a range of new Rules when it comes to getting the ball in the hole:
• Any damage on the green caused by a person or outside influence can now be repaired without penalty.
• There will no longer be any penalty for merely touching the line of play on the putting green.
• Players will no longer face a penalty if the ball played from the putting green hits a flagstick left in the hole.
To find out more about these changes, the reasons for them and to watch videos describing the changes click the following link:
(This page is also available if you browse as follows from the SWGC home page: members pages, competitions-rules&handicaps, clubrules&documents)