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New Rules of Golf 1st January 2019
No Penalty for moving ball on the green
When a ball moves while the player is doing nothing more than taking normal actions to prepare for a stroke, it can seem unfair for the player to be penalized.
Most “ball moved? situations occur on the putting green, involve minimal movement of the ball, frequently occur when the player is taking reasonable actions to prepare for a stroke and the ball can be easily replaced.
These considerations are not the same when the ball lies off the putting green, and so the penalty will continue to apply (with exceptions, such as accidentally moving a ball during search) to a player or opponent in those circumstances to reinforce the principle that the ball should be played as it lies and that players should continue to exercise care when near to a ball in play.
New Procedure for dropping the ball
Players will continue to drop a ball when taking relief, but the dropping procedure will be change in several ways as detailed in Rule 14.3.
How a ball may be dropped is simplified; the only requirement will be that the ball be let go from knee height so that it falls through the air and does not touch any part of the player’s body or equipment before it hits the ground.
Reasons for Change:
The new procedure lowers the height from which the ball is dropped to increase the chance that it stays within the relief area. Requiring the player to drop a ball (as opposed to placing it) will retain a desired randomness about where the ball will end up: The player has no guarantee that the ball will come to rest on a desired spot or in a good lie. This is especially the case when a ball is dropped in more difficult conditions such as thick rough or longer grass. Allowing the player to drop a ball from knee height will help to limit the extent to which a ball will embed in sand in a bunker.
To learn more click here.
Measuring Relief Area Where Ball Must Be Dropped and Played
Players will continue to drop a ball when taking relief, but the dropping procedure will be changed in several ways as detailed in Rule 14.3:
The focus of the the dropping procedure will be on a specific “relief area” set by the Rule under which relief is being taken and will be either one or two club lengths from a reference point (and may have certain other limitations).
Using the longest club for measuring will minimize the inconsistency in the size of a relief area between players (including eliminating the advantage for players who currently can use a long putter for measuring).
Where A Dropped Ball Must Come To Rest
Reasons for Change:
The new procedure will mean there will be greater consistency across all relief procedures, making it simpler for players to know where and how to drop a ball: For example, many times today a player is required to drop a ball as near as possible to a certain spot (such as where the previous stroke was made or where a ball was embedded) and questions can arise about whether it was dropped near enough to that spot.The new procedure when dropping with reference to a spot will be to drop a ball anywhere in a relief area measured one or two club-lengths from (but not nearer the hole than) that spot.
It will be simpler for players to know when to re-drop a ball: A player currently needs to know the nine re-dropping scenarios in Rule 20-2c; these are difficult to understand and apply and this is a widely misunderstood Rule.Under the new Rule, the player will only need to know that the ball must be re-dropped if it comes to rest outside the relief area.