Every year a committee breaks down the Rules of Golf and updates them to ensure there are fewer inconsistencies and questions that arise during competitions. Each avid golfer should take the time to review these changes so players and fans of all ages and skill sets can enjoy the game we love. Below, you will find the final update to the 2019 Rules of Golf. For an in-depth analysis, visit this article on the United States Golf Association (USGA) website.



●        Using Damaged Clubs

If a player’s club is damaged during their round, they can continue to use it or get it repaired, even if they damaged it themselves. The only time they are allowed to replace a club is if it was damaged by nature, or another person on the course. If the player or their caddie damages it, it cannot be replaced.

●        Replacing Clubs

With this new rule, the player can now replace their club if it was damaged due to nature, or if another person or piece of equipment damaged it on the course.

●        Distance-Measuring Devices

The 2019 rules now state that distance-measuring devices (DMDs) are allowed to be used by players. However, certain courses or committees can ban them if they choose to do so.


Playing a Ball

●        Caddie Standing Behind Player to Aid Them

With this rule, the caddie is still allowed to consult with a player or offer their advice. However, if they stand behind the player to help them line up for the shot, there will be repercussions. The caddie can move behind the player after they begin their shot or have already hit the ball. If the caddie is accidentally too close to the player, there is no penalty.

●        Caddie Lifting the Ball

The caddie is allowed to lift a ball off the green anytime the player is. However, if they remove the ball and replace it with a sticker, they have to be the one to replace the ball when it comes time for their player’s shot.


When to Play in a Round

●        Prompt Play

This new rule encourages players to move quickly through the course when they can. Each player’s pace affects the rest of the players’ pace. By moving as quickly as they can, while still getting the shots and time they need to be successful, the game is kept at a continuous, manageable pace.

●        Maximum Score

At each course and competition, the committee will set a maximum score for each hole based on the par and the player’s handicap. If the player does not complete the hole and hits the maximum score, that will be their score for the hole, and they move to the next.


Player Behavior

●        Player Conduct Standards

The rules of golf dictate that players must respect the game by playing with spirit and grace. The committee for each competition can disqualify or penalize a player for not playing or acting with integrity.

●        Code of Player Conduct

While the committees of each competition are the ultimate judges, the 2019 Rules of Golf are pushing for more penalties for poor conduct, rather than disqualification. By penalizing more often than disqualifying, they are hoping to teach players a lesson to respect the game, especially new players.

●        Announcing Lifting the Ball

In the previous rules, it stated a player had to announce when they were planning on lifting a ball to mark it. However in the new rules, the players do not have to announce the decision.

●        Judgement in Estimating and Measuring

With this rule, a player’s initial judgement or estimate is accepted even if the committee later discovers it was wrong. In the heat of the moment, a player has to make a quick judgement, and unless it is totally off base and way off, the judges have to accept it.


Local Rule

●        Stroke and Distance Local Rule

On certain courses and in certain competitions, the committee can alter the rules for relief if a ball cannot be found or is out of bounds.


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