Rules of Golf - 2019 Proposed Rule Changes

January 2019 Rules of Golf Modernisation – Possible rule changes

Rules & Regulations

From January 2019 a whole host of rule changes may come into play. As it stands the R & A rule book has 34 rules, this could be reduced to as little as 24.

David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director, governance, said: “We are really about modernising the rules of golf and, in very simple terms, trying to make them easier to understand and apply. The concern was that, over time and despite our best efforts, the rules have grown in length and complexity and therefore have become confusing and intimidating.”

Proposed rule changes include removing penalties for:

  • Accidentally moving your ball while searching for it.
  • Accidentally moving your ball or ball-marker when it is on the green.
  • Your ball hitting you, your equipment, your caddie, someone attending the flagstick or a removed or attended flagstick.
  • Touching your line of putt or touching the putting green in pointing out target. The same applies to your caddie.
  • Your caddie marking and lifting your ball on the green.
  • Touching or moving loose impediments in a bunker.

Rule changes will allow golfers to:

  • Repair almost all damage on the green.
  • Use a damaged club during the round, no matter how it happens.
  • Use distance-measuring devices.
  • Play out of turn in stroke play.

This huge shake up of the Rules of Golf promise to increase the speed of play and simplify the game at both amateur & professional levels.


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