Every year, the United States Golf Association (USGA) implements rule changes to improve the game and clear up any inconsistencies that may arise. Each avid golfer should take the time to review these changes so we can all enjoy the game we love. Below, you will find the major changes to this year’s Rules of Golf. For an in-depth description of the rule changes, and the reasoning for them, go to the article on USGA’s site.

Ball At Rest

●        Search Moves Ball

This new rule allows the player who hit a ball out of play to search for their own ball— something they were not allowed to do before. If they accidentally move the ball in the search process, they are not penalized. If accidentally moved, the ball is automatically replaced by another ball in its estimated original place.

●        Ball Moved On Green

At times, it is nearly impossible to determine whether a ball was moved due to nature or a player. Because of this, the major penalty for accidentally moving a ball on the green has been revoked unless there is obvious fault.

●        What May Have Caused The Ball To Move Standards

If it can be virtually proven (95% likely) that one of the players or other people in the area (fans) caused the ball to move, then they are at fault, and a penalty will be given if it’s applicable. If it is nature related, no penalty is assessed and the ball is replaced.

●        Ball Replacement When The Origin Is Unknown

The obvious challenge in golf is having to play the ball no matter where it lies. In previous rules, when a ball was lost and had to be replaced, it was dropped at the estimated spot and allowed to roll, which could have improved or worsened the shot. With the new rule, in some cases, the ball has to be set on the ground in the area so it cannot roll.

Ball In Motion

●        Ball Accidentally Deflected

With this new rule, as long as the equipment was not intentionally set in a spot that put it in the way of play, a ball can hit it with no consequence. The same rule applies when the ball is accidentally deflected off a fan, player, opponent, caddie, or opponent’s caddie. If it is accidentally deflected, the golfer simply plays it from that spot.

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