New Rules of Golf


Here’s my own copy of the big tome of the new Rules of Golf, which I have read. Unlike Rory McIlroy, who says “I don’t know many,  that that’s why the  Rules Officials are here”.

But Bryson de Chambeau has been out practice putting with the flagstick left in the cup even for 1 footers. Interesting that amongst professionals at this week’s Tournament of Champions in Kapalua in Hawaii quite a few admit that they are not sure what’s in the new rules and they will have to learn, They’re professionals – in any other job you would be expected to read and abide by the staff handbook – Guess that these days they think that updating their Instagram accounts is more important to their job. So the PGA Tour have put up a poster in the locker room, for those with a low attention span.


HAAB7279A-2101-4654-A468-75DC624705CC Here’s a summary of the main rules. This overhaul is long overdue to speed up and modernise the game to make the rules simpler and less petty.

There are lots of the new rules that I find more agreeable, Rule 19.3 where, for a 2 stroke penalty, you can get relief from an unplayable lie in a bunker. 16.3 which allows a drop within a club length of an embedded ball. And most of all changing the daft old rule that when a ball was hit out of bounds back to the tee you had to go. Players are now allowed to drop near, but not closer to the hole, where the original ball came to rest, within bounds for 2 shots. Rule 13.1c allows the repair of spike marks at long last, but not aereation holes.

The rules deal with some drama on the course. I remember watching this on TV at the 1985 US Open when TC Chen took a sand wedge off the green and did this.

The new rules acknowledge that a double hit is nearly always accidental and there is now no extra penalty.

Also, those who break a club in anger or for any other reason, can play on with that club and not have to play with another club instead. For example a punished putter replaced with a 1 iron now the angry player can continue with the mangled club. All in the spirit of speeding up play.


It will be interesting to see on a professional level what happens when rules officials get called in to decide about players accidentally causing the ball to move, which now does not attract a penalty as long as the ball is returned to the original spot. There is a world of difference between what Dustin Johnson did in the 2016 US Open, who was just away with the fairies in my opinion

and what Mickelson did in the 2018 US Open, which he referred to using the rules to my advantage…This is not what the rules were intended for to be used to make a point to the USGA about the condition of a championship course and to bring a dramatic climax to a personal 25 year battle to win the US Open. he failed so he stuck it to them.








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