Golf’s Rules 2019: Most Recent (summary of major changes)

  1. No penalty for accidentally moving your ball during search. [Rule 7.4]

  2. No penalty for accidentally moving your ball or ball-marker on the putting green. [Rule 13.1d]

  3. New standard to determine if you caused your ball to move. [Rule 9.2]

  4. When the original location of your ball is not known, replace it on its estimated spot. [Rule 14.2c]

  5. No penalty if your ball in motion is accidentally deflected by you, your equipment, or your caddie. [Rule 11.1]

  6. Your relief area for dropping a ball will be a fixed size of either one or two club-lengths using the longest club in your bag, other than your putter. [Rule 14.3]

  7. Your ball must be let go from knee height and fall through the air without touching any part of your body or equipment. [Rule 14.3]

  8. Your ball must come to rest in the relief area where it was dropped, or else it must be redropped. [Rule 14.3]

  9. A fixed distance of the longest club in your bag, other than your putter, will be used for measuring. [Rule 14.3]

  10. Your ball is lost if not found in three minutes (rather than the current 5 minutes). [Rule 18.2]

  11. You may always substitute a ball when taking relief. [Rule 14.3]

  12. Relief allowed without penalty for an embedded ball anywhere (except in sand) in the “general area” (a new term for “through the green”). [Rule 16.3]

  13. In taking lateral relief, you will drop within two club-lengths of where your ball entered the penalty area. The size of a club-length will always be measured using the longest club in your bag, other than your putter. [Rule 14.3]

  14. One of your options for relief from either a red or yellow penalty area will be called back-on-the-line relief. [Rule 14.3]

  15. After your ball has been lifted and replaced, you would always replace your ball on its original spot, even if it was blown by the wind or moved for no clear reason. [Rule 13.1d]

  16. Repair of almost any damage allowed on the putting green (including spike marks and animal damage). [Rule 13.1c(2)]

  17. No penalty for touching your line of play on the putting green so long as doing so does not improve the conditions for your stroke.

  18. No penalty if your ball played from the putting green (or anywhere else) hits the unattended flagstick in the hole. [Rule 13.2a(2)]

  19. Areas of desert, jungle, lava rock, etc. (in addition to areas of water) may now be marked as red or yellow “penalty areas.”

  20. No penalty for moving loose impediments, touching the ground, or grounding your club in a penalty area. [Rule 17]

  21. Committees are given the discretion to mark any penalty area as red so that lateral relief is always allowed. [Rule 17]

  22. Relief from a red penalty area no longer allowed on the opposite side from where the ball last entered the penalty area. [Rule 17.1d]

  23. Relaxed Rules relating to loose impediments and touching the ground in a bunker. [Rules 12.2a and 12.2b]

  24. Relief allowed outside a bunker for an unplayable ball for two penalty strokes. [Rule 19.3b]

  25. A club damaged during a round can continue to be used, even if you damaged it in anger. [Rule 4.1]

  26. You will not be allowed to replace a damaged club during a round if you were responsible for the damage. [Rule 4.1]

  27. The use of DMDs will be allowed unless a Local Rule has been adopted prohibiting their use. [Rule 4.1]

  28. A caddie is not allowed to stand on a line behind you while you are taking your stance and until your stroke is made. [Rule 10.2b(4)]

  29. Your caddie may lift and replace your ball on the putting green without your specific authorization to do so. [Rule 14.1b]

  30. If your club accidentally strikes your ball more than once during a stroke, there will be no penalty and your ball will be played as it lies. [Rule 10.1a]

  31. It is recommended that you play “ready golf” and make each stroke in no more than 40 seconds. [Rule 5.6]

  32. A new “Maximum Score” form of stroke play is recognized, where your score for a hole is capped at a max score. [New permitted Local Rule, Rule 21.2]

  33. The proposed new Rules speak to the high standards of conduct expected from players. [Rule 1.2a]

  34. Committees are given authority to adopt their own code of player conduct and to set penalties for breaches of that code. [Rule 1.3b]

  35. When you have good reason to mark and lift your ball, you are no longer required to first announce your intention. [Rules 4.2c, 7.3 and 16.4]

  36. A player’s reasonable judgment will not be second-guessed based on later evidence. [Rule 1.3b(2)]

  37. A new Local Rule will provide an alternative to stroke-and-distance relief for a ball that is lost outside a penalty area or out of bounds. [New permitted Local Rule]