USGA and the R&A Announce Modern Golf Rules

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Golf is known as an old and storied sport that has carried its tradition throughout the test of time. But after reexamining some of the rules that golf is built upon, the USGA and R&A announced new “modern golf rules.”

The USGA and Royal & Ancient game took to doing a massive overhaul to the golf rulebook in order to make some rules simpler and easier to understand. The process began six years ago when the two groups began to analyze the rules and an agreement was finally reached this year. These new rules are set to take effect on January 1st of next year.

Both sides¬†acknowledge that as they tried to tweak the rules to make a better game, they ultimately just made the rulebook confusing.¬†“This was out of recognition that, in trying to make the rules fairer, they became too complicated,” said USGA’s senior director of rules and amateur status, Thomas Pagel. “With 30-plus years of tinkering, they got complicated, and that wasn’t good for the game.”

Executive Director Mike Davis on the SiriusXM Town Hall at the PGA…

Executive Director Mike Davis on the SiriusXM Town Hall at the PGA Merchandise Show on January 25, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Some of the notable changes are to rules that we follow almost every single round we’re on the course. For example, the new rules will have penalty drops come from knee high, as opposed to the shoulder. Some penalties have also been removed from the rules, including when a ball moves on the green, if a player’s club is grounded in a bunker, or if the ball hits the flagstick while not being tended. None of these will now result in a penalty stroke.

For the six years that the USGA and R&A were working on this, it’s good to see that their hard work did not go to waste as many big changes were made. In fact, this is the largest change to the rules since they were first published back in 1744. For reference, there are only 24 rules now in the official rule book while there were 34 previously.

Overall, this looks like a good thing for the game of golf, simplifying the game for all folks who play. But just make sure you don’t start implementing them on the course until the beginning of next year.

Cover Image via Flickr