Today we received a notice from the USGA that it and the R&A have announced the next step – of which I hope there will be many more—in modernizing (simplifying) the rules.
After a great deal of effort by many for this to happen over a long period of time I am pleased that both the USGA and the R&A are working together to make this very important step.
Today’s proposal includes 5 key changes which can be seen in the infographic below (there are more proposed changes detailed on the USGA website at www.usga.org which we will address in future web postings).
I’d like to congratulate the governing bodies for considering these changes and the fact they have asked for feedback.
Here are my personal comments re. each of these proposed 5 key changes:
How to Drop the Ball: Because there is no specified height from which the ball can be dropped a one inch, or even half an inch drop would be permissible. This may provide room for abuse and is difficult to monitor. If placing the ball instead of dropping the ball is not going to affect the intent of the change, then doing away with dropping the ball would be a better solution as it would avoid abuse and controversy, and rather, just allow golfers to place the ball.
Time for Ball Search: Three minutes from five minutes to look for your ball is not a significant change, but is a move in the right direction.
Repairing Spike Marks: This is a reasonable change, although may take extra time on the green and may be abused.
Leaving Flagstick in the Hole: This makes sense and will speed up play.
Relaxed Rules in Penalty Area: This will leave the demarcation of a water hazard for the sole purpose of determining where you can take relief if you so choose.
In general, the governing bodies must be congratulated for moving in the right direction.
Please review these proposed changes and give us your input and share your thoughts by replying below.
For those of you who are interested in learning more about the Rules of Golf, and how I have proposed that they should be changed is laid out very clearly in both books “Just Hit It- Our Equipment and Our Game” (with a foreword from Jack Nicklaus) and “From Sticks and Stones- The Evolution of Golf Equipment Rules”, which we are currently offering in a special book bundle.