January 1, 2019 – Rule Changes Take Effect

Starting January 1st, 2019 some major rule changes will be taking effect on the golfing world. There will be many changes to the game at the start of the new year. Not all are drastic but some are worth taking note of. Here is a list of some of the main subjects to the rule changes I think will affect the amateur golfer the most.

  1. Ball at Rest
  2. Ball in Motion
  3. Areas of the Course
  4. Taking Relief

Ball at Rest

There are several different rule changes that are taking effect in 2019 but I think a couple of the most important rules for an amateur golfer to be aware of are.

  1. The ball moving during the search
    • Under the old rules, if you moved your ball on accident during a search for its location you would be assessed a penalty stroke.
    • Under the new rules, if you now move it on accident during your search no penalty will be assessed and you will replace your ball to its original location or your best guess.
  2. No penalty for the ball moving on the putting surface
    • Under the old rules, if your ball was moved while addressing it due to whatever circumstance, wind for example or accidentally tapping it with putter or foot, you would be assessed a penalty.
    • Under the new rules, if your ball now moves due to any of these circumstances you will now replace the ball and proceed with no penalty.


Ball in Motion

The ball will then be played as it lies (with limited exceptions)


Areas of the Course

Many rules have been changed in this category.

  1. Repairing Damage on the Putting Surface

  • Under the old rules, you could not fix certain things on the putting surface, without assessing a penalty. (Spike Marks & Animal Damage)
  • Under the new rules, players are allowed to fix such marks. This is a much-needed rule, two claps for the USGA!

Many other rules in this category are taking effect and I will have a list towards the bottom that shows what those are.

  1. Ball played from green hits unattended flagstick
    • Players will no longer be assessed penalty strokes for hitting the flagstick while putting now.
    • Personally, I am not a fan of this one. For example, I believe this rule is going to slow up play. I think you will have several amateur golfers want to putt with the flagstick in. This creates a dilemma when the flagstick has already been pulled from the hole and will cause slow play when a player must put the flagstick back in for a member of the group.
    • On the other side of the spectrum, it will benefit the player playing alone the doesn’t care to remove the flagstick when playing.


Taking Relief

Again, there are many different rules changing in this category and I will cover a few that I think are important for players to be aware of.

  1. Time to Search Before Ball is Lost
    • Under the old rules, a player has 5 minutes to search for his or her lost ball before it is declared lost.
    • Under the new rules, the time to search is reduced to 3 minutes.
  2. Dropping the Golf Ball
    • Under the old rules, a player must drop the ball from about chest high.
    • Under the new rules, a player must now drop the ball from around knee high.

These are just some of the new rules taking effect in 2019. The game of golf is a confusing game and I believe these rules are in place to clear up some confusion. I don’t necessarily think all of these rules are going to be good for the game from the perspective of an amateur but I do think some were overdue!


20 Most Important Rule Changes



2019 Predictions

The 2019 PGA Tour Season is going to be one for the books, with Rickie Fowler still looking to capture his first major, Tiger Woods healthy and competing once again, Jordan Spieth’s rebound season, the United States defending the Presidents Cup in October 2019, or the “Major” shake up happening to the major tournaments this year there’s a lot to be excited about this year!

Major Championship Schedule

  • April 11-14: Masters — Augusta National; Augusta, Ga.
  • May 16-19: PGA Championship — Bethpage State Park (Black Course); Farmingdale, N.Y.
  • June 13-16: U.S. Open — Pebble Beach Golf Links; Pebble Beach, Calif.
  • July 18-21: British Open — Royal Portrush Golf Club; Portrush, Northern Ireland

Top 5 2019 Predictions

  1. Cameron Champ has a multiple win season and wins Rookie of the Year.
  2. Tiger Wins another Major. (Masters)
  3. Spieth has a multiple win season….. Including a Major.
  4. The United States win the Presidents Cup.
  5. Rickie will not win a Major or even place top 3 in any of the Majors.



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