CHANGES TO THE RULES OF GOLF FOR 2019
The following are the main changes to the Rules of Golf taking effect January 1, 2019 that are likely to occur during BDVGA competitions. The main reasons for the changes are to simplify the rules and to speed up play. It is recommended that all BDVGA Golfers obtain a copy of the “Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf” Effective January 2019 which is available free of charge from your home golf club. This will explain the rules of golf in a user friendly manner with explanatory notes and diagrams.
The number of rules has been considerably reduced and simplified. Hence they rely heavily on honesty and high standards of conduct expected from players with respect to integrity in following the rules and counting penalties, other players and the course on which you are playing. Rule 1.2.
Rule 6.4 will expressly allow and encourages players to play out of turn in both stroke and match play in a safe and responsible manner to save time.
It is recommended that you play “ready golf” and make each stroke in no more than 40 seconds after you are able to play without interference or distraction. Rule 5.6b.
Your ball is lost if not found in three minutes (rather than the current 5 minutes) to assist in pace of play. Rule 18.2a
When you have good reason to mark and lift your ball, you are no longer required to first announce your intention. Rule 4.2c, 7.3 and 16.4.
When a player does all that is reasonably expected under the circumstances to make a prompt and accurate estimation or measurement of a spot, point, line, area or other location as required by the rules, their reasonable judgement is accepted. Rule 1.3b(2).There is no penalty for small inaccuracies even if later shown to be wrong by other information.
A club damaged during a round can continue to be used, even if you damaged it in anger. Rule 4.1
You will not be allowed to replace a damaged club during a round if you were responsible for the damage. Rule 4.1
The use of DMDs will be allowed.
Specific Rules for Specific Areas
There are five areas of the course. The term “General Area” replaces the term “through the green”. The “General area covers the entire course with the exception of the following four areas. (i) the teeing area of the hole you are playing Rule 6.2 (ii) all penalty areas Rule 17 (iii) all bunkers Rule 12 (iv) the putting green of the hole you are playing Rule 13.
After your ball has been lifted and replaced, you would always replace your ball on its original spot, even if it was blown by the wind or moved for no clear reason. Rule 13.1d.
Reasonable repair of almost any damage allowed on the putting green (including spike marks and animal damage). Rule 13.1c.
There is no penalty for touching your line of play on the putting green so long as doing so does not improve the conditions for your stroke. Rule 13.
No penalty if your ball played from the putting green (or anywhere else) hits the unattended flagstick in the hole. Rule 13.2a. You must decide before making the stroke if you want the flagstick unattended. You must not try to gain an advantage by deliberately moving the flagstick to a position other than centred in the hole. Penalty two strokes. See Rule 13.2b for a ball hitting an attended flagstick
Ball Resting Against Flagstick in Hole
If your ball comes to rest against the flagstick left in the hole, and any part of your ball is in the hole below the surface of the putting green your ball is treated as holed. If not part of the ball is below the surface of the putting green your ball is not holed and must be played as it lies even if it subsequently drops in the hole when the flagstick is removed in which case it must be replaced on the lip of the hole. Rule 13.2c.
Areas of desert, jungle, lava rock, etc. (in addition to areas of water) may now be marked as red or yellow “penalty areas.” The term “water hazard” will no longer be used. Committees are given the discretion to mark any penalty area as red so that lateral relief is always allowed. Rule 17.
No penalty for moving loose impediments, touching the ground, or grounding your club in a penalty area, so long as your ball does not move. Rules 8.1a,15.1 and 17.
There are partially relaxed rules relating to loose impediments, moveable obstructions and touching the ground in a bunker. Rule 12.2. However a player may still not deliberately touch the sand in a bunker with a club in making a practice swing or grounding the club right in front or behind the ball or in making a backswing for a stroke.
Back on the Line relief is allowed outside a bunker for an unplayable ball for two penalty strokes. Rule 19.3. There is only one penalty stroke if relief is taken in the bunker.
Ball at Rest
No penalty for accidentally moving your ball during search. Rules 7.4 and 9.4b The ball must be replaced on its original spot except when it moves after commencing your stroke and you continue with your stroke. Rule 9.4a
No penalty for accidentally moving your ball or ball-marker on the putting green. See requirement for replacement in above item. Rule 9.4a.
There is a new standard to determine if you caused your ball to move. See Rules 9.2 and 9.3.
When the original location of your ball is not known, replace it on its estimated spot. Rules 7 and 9.
Ball in Motion
No penalty if your ball in motion is accidentally deflected by you or your equipment.. Exception: Ball putted from putting green hitting another ball stationary on putting green. Rule 11.1a.
Playing a Ball
If your club accidentally strikes your ball more than once during a stroke, there will be no penalty and your ball will be played as it lies. Rule 10.1a.
Your relief area for dropping a ball will be a fixed size no nearer the hole of either one or two club-lengths depending on the circumstances using the longest club in your bag, other than your putter.
Your ball must be let go from knee height and fall straight down (without imparting spin etc) through the air without touching any part of your body or equipment and must land in the relief area and come to rest in the relief area else it must be redropped. Rule 14. The relief area will depend on the applicable rule covering the situation.
You may always substitute a ball when taking relief but not when replacing ball on a spot. Rule 6.3b.
Relief allowed without penalty for an embedded ball anywhere (except in sand) in the “general area” (a new term for “through the green”). Rule 16.3a
In taking lateral relief (Red Penalty area only) you will drop within two club-lengths of where your ball entered the penalty area no nearer the hole. Rule 17.1d. Note that this rule removes the option to take relief on the opposite side of a red penalty area unless a local rule applies.
One of your options for relief from either a red or yellow penalty area will be called back-on-the-line relief. Rule 17.1d
Out of Bounds and Lost Ball
They allow a new Local Rule which has been adopted by BDVGA which provides an alternative to stroke-and-distance relief for a ball that is lost outside a penalty area or out of bounds. If a provisional ball has not been played, the player should drop a ball on the fairway within the vicinity of where it went out of bounds or was deemed to be lost with a penalty of two strokes.