USGA Rule Changes – All We Should Know

A lot is changing in the golf world, new players are taking the spotlight, new tournaments are being played. Above all, defunct rules are being replaced by new and more flexible rules. If you have been away for too long, chances are you are unaware of the new USGA rules. The old and defunct rules have been revamped to cater to players' ease and comfort allowing much leniency in the sport.


Here are some of the most important new USGA rules that you must know. Effective from January 1st, 2019, they are listed as follows;

New USGA Rules When The Ball Is Not In Motion

Previously, golf players were imposed upon a penalty for moving the ball on the green or while searching. Most times while searching, the players would stumble upon the ball and move it accidentally. This would amount to a penalty resulting in a bad score. This highly impacted the golf players and the score. According to new rules, if you accidentally move the ball on the green, no penalty would be imposed. Similarly, there is no penalty on accidentally moving the ball or the marker on the putting green as long as you put the ball and the marker back at the original position.

Also, if you've lost your original playing ball, you can replace it with a new ball at the expected location.

New USGA Rules Centered Around When The Ball Is Moving Or While Relief

Thanks to the new rules, now you will not be penalized if your golf ball accidentally hits you, your caddie or your golf bag and deflects accidentally. Other new rules in this domain cover essential points to provide the golf players maximum comfort and flexibility. The standard for dropping the ball is now no longer from a shoulder's length, now you can drop the ball from your knee-length and resume the game.

 Similarly, the relief area is now two length's club. The ball must be dropped in this area. While previously; in case you lost the ball, you had 5 minutes to find it. Now you only have 3 minutes so that the other players don't have to wait much longer if you're set to swing first.

New USGA Rules Centered Around The Playing Course

Many old rules have been revamped in this domain. For starters, if you wish to replace your golf ball on the putting green, you shall place the new ball at the original position of the previous ball. Old ball once lifted and replaced, the new ball must be put back on the original position of the replaced ball if displaced by wind. Similarly, now you are also allowed (and encouraged) to repair any damage on the putting green.

No penalty will be imposed on the player if the ball hits the flagstick in the hole while from the green or from the course. If your golf ball is stuck inside the bunker and cannot be played, relief must be awarded in the form of a playable shot outside the bunker but at the cost of 2 strokes.

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Happy Golfing!

Photo by Michael Jasmund on Unsplash

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