In order to clear up any inconsistencies or questions the game of golf has year-to-year, the United States Golf Association (USGA) creates and changes rules to allow the game to be played and understood with more ease. Every avid golfer and fan should take the time to review the changes so we can all properly enjoy the game we love. Below, you will find a continuation of the 2019 changes to the Rules of Golf. For an in-depth analysis of the rule changes, visit this article on USGA’s site.
● Measuring The Relief Area
In certain situations or areas, a player is allowed to drop the ball and let it roll. With the new rule, the ball is only allowed to roll a set distance, which is determined to be one or two lengths of the player’s longest club, excluding the putter, currently in their bag.
● Dropping A Ball Procedure
For the new rule, the player has to drop the ball at knee height, and it cannot touch any part of them or their equipment on the way down. This brings back a certain randomness to the game that placing the ball did not allow for.
● Where The Dropped Ball Can Rest
When in relief and the player drops the golf ball, it must come to rest within a certain space. If it does go outside the relief area, it is dropped again. If it goes out again on the second drop, it is placed where it first hit the ground instead of where it rolls.
● Fixed Measuring Distance
Based on the clubs each player has chosen to use, in any given relief spot, they can be given one or two club lengths of relief. The standard club length measurement used for every player is the length of the longest club they are using.
● Search Time For Lost Ball
Previously, up to five minutes were allotted for players to search for a missing ball. However, in an effort to keep the game moving at a fast pace, that time has been reduced to three minutes.
● Ball Substitution Always Allowed In Relief
Due to the old rules being hard to follow, they have been changed for a much more simplistic approach. When a player is in relief, clean or penalty related, they can choose to substitute their ball if they would like.
● Embedded Ball Relief
When a golf ball is embedded in anything but sand, such as mud or wet grass, a different ball may be substituted in its place. The new ball has to be dropped within one club-length of the previous spot, but it cannot end up closer to the hole.
● Lateral Relief Procedures
As long as the dropped ball does not leave the relief area, if it hits another player, person, or equipment, it does not have to be re-dropped.
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