The R&A and United States Golf Association announced a significant set of proposed changes to the Rules of Golf. The objective behind the decision is to avoid unnecessary concepts and exceptions that may create ‘penalty traps’ for the players and to use concepts, procedures, and outcomes that are more intuitive and easier to learn.
Moreover, these changes result from the Rules Modernisation initiative that lit up five years ago in an effort to bring the Rules up to date to fit the needs of the sport today globally.
Key changes to the Rules of Golf for 2019:
1. When the ball at rest accidentally moves while searching for it or when your ball or ball-marker moves when it is on the putting green: There is no longer a penalty.
2. Relaxed Ball dropping procedures have been relaxed with the only requirement that one have to hold the ball above the ground without it touching any growing thing or other natural or artificial object, and let it go so that it falls through the air before coming to rest. And the ball needs to be dropped in and played from a single Defined relief area.
3. Relaxed putting green rules- There won’t be any penalty if the player play a ball from the putting green and it hits the unattended flagstick in the hole; No more penalty if the player or their caddie touches the line of putt or the putting green in pointing out target, so long as doing so does not improve the conditions affecting their stroke.
4. The player will be able to continue using any club that is damaged during the round, no matter how it happens (for example, even if it is damaged in anger).
5. Caddie will not be allowed to stand on a line behind the player from the time he/she begin taking their stance until they have made their stroke.