Changes to Rules of Golf

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As of 1 January 2019, the results of the first fundamental review of the Rules of Golf in 34 years come into effect. Below are the top 20 major changes and how they will affect your play.

  1. Search time: reduced from 5 to 3 minutes.
  2. Ball moved during search: replace with no penalty.
  3. Embedded ball: free relief anywhere through the green.
  4. Measuring a drop: use longest club (except putter).
  5. Dropping: drop from knee height rather than from shoulder height.
  6. Taking stance on the wrong green is no longer allowed.
  7. Ball unintentionally hits player or equipment: no penalty.
  8. Double hit: no penalty, now counts as one shot.
  9. Touching sand in bunker incidentally is permitted.
  10. Loose impediments can be removed anywhere including hazards.
  11. Dropping a ball outside of a bunker: two penalty strokes.
  12. Water hazards: now called “penalty areas”.
  13. Touching ground in penalty area: no penalty.
  14. Ball moves on green after being marked: replace without penalty.
  15. Ball accidentally moved on putting green: replace without penalty.
  16. All damage to green can now be repaired.
  17. Positioning a club for alignment is not permitted.
  18. Caddie assisting with alignment is now not permitted.
  19. Putting with flag stick in the hole is permitted.
  20. Ball wedged against the flag stick and the side of the hole is deemed as holed.

Here is a handy video quickly explaining the 20 main rules changes: