5 Controversial Proposed Changes in the Game

With golf being one of the oldest games in history, it’s seen its share of changes through the years. The USGA and R&A (Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews) recently announced a series of proposals to alter the ‘Rules of Golf,’ which will be put before various committees for review. If the proposal gets approved, those changes would go into effect in 2019. Changes vary widely from equipment acceptability to player behavior and conduct.

Here are a few proposed changes within the series for all you golf nerds out there!

  1. Topic: Taking Relief

‘Measuring the size of the relief area where a ball must be dropped and played’

Currently, the ball is measured by using 1 or 2 club-lengths (length being player’s choice).

Change: A fixed distance of 20-80 inches will be measured within the relief area from the reference point or line, which can be measured by using markings on the shaft of a club.

  1. Topic: Playing a Ball

‘Caddie standing behind a player to help with that player’s alignment’

Current rule is that a Caddie is allowed to stand on a line behind a player while the player prepares his or her shot, but cannot stand there while the player makes a stroke.

Change: Caddie cannot stand on a line behind a player while he or she is taking their stance until the stroke is made.

  1. Topic: Equipment

‘Use of distance-measuring devices (DMDs)’ 

Current rule states that these devices are prohibited, with the exception of a possible Local Rule that has been put in place to allow their use.

Change: A total reverse of the previous rule would allow players to use DMDs unless otherwise specified by said Local Rule.

  1. Topic: Areas of the Course

‘Areas of the Committee may mark as a penalty area – where relief with 1-stroke penalty is allowed’

Current rule is that relief is only allowed in the case of water hazards.

Change: Penalty areas with red/yellow-marks may now also pertain to other unpredictable natural zones, such as desert, jungle, lava rock areas, and more, as well as water hazards.

  1. Topic: Player Behavior

‘Eliminating announcement requirements before lifting a ball under certain Rules’

Current rule on this subject is that before lifting a ball, the player in question must announce to a fellow player, or the marker, in order to let that person act as a proper observer during their next move.

Change: The player would no longer be required to announce his or her intention before lifting the ball IF the player has a justifiable reason to mark and lift a ball to check for damage, for example.

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