Column: Golf about to modernize rule book

A series of changes taking effect in the new year aim to make the game friendlier for all ages.

The traditional, yet also highly controversial rules of golf are about to change.

Starting in the new year, the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient will be implementing several changes in attempt to modernize, simplify and improve the overall golf experience for golfers of all skill levels.

This modernization process started in 2012 with the release of proposed changes to the worldwide golfing community, asking for feedback across the globe.

With some modifications to the initial proposed changes, the final version was released earlier this year, with the implementation due to officially take place as of Jan. 1, 2019.

The most common changes will effect dropping procedures, relax rules on the putting green and relax hazard rules, to name a few.

The hope is that these changes will make the rules easier to understand, and ‘friendlier’ by reducing severity to rules breaches.

The modernized rules will therefore state that an official drop will occur from knee-height, rather than from shoulder height.

This change will make it easier for the golfer to predict the final resting place of the ball, and therefore should also help improve overall pace of play.

Furthermore, in another attempt to reduce pace of play, the official time allotted to look for a lost ball will be reduced from five minutes to three minutes.

The putting green has also been an area of contention for many years, including golf balls accidentally moving.

There will no longer be a penalty for accidentally moving a ball on the putting green. The new rules will also allow the golfer to repair spike marks on the green, and touch the line of putt. In addition, golfers may elect to keep the flagstick in the hole while putting, as there will be no penalty for the ball striking the flagstick in the hole when putting on the green.

There will also no longer be a penalty stroke for a ball that has been ‘double hit,’ such as when chipping.

Hazards, such as water hazards and bunkers, will also incur relaxed rules. Golfers will now have the option to move loose impediments in hazards and bunkers, and will also be allowed to generally touch the ground with the club or hand in these areas.

An extra option will also be allowed for an unplayable ball in a sand trap, allowing the golfer to drop outside the bunker with a two stroke penalty. A drop outside of the bunker has not been allowed in the past with traditional rulings.

These are just a few of the rules changes that will be taking place in the new year.

Although these changes are considered controversial by the most traditional golfers in our community, the intent of these rules changes are to improve the overall golf experience for all who enjoy the game. The golf industry in general is excited to make the game of golf friendlier for golfers of all abilities.

Jennifer teaches golf to adults and juniors at the Chilliwack Golf Academy.

She played professionally on tour for over 10 years, won the 2016 LPGA Western Section Teacher of the Year award, and is the Head Women’s and Girls Provincial Coach for BC Golf.

She can be contacted at 604-798-9805, chilliwackgolfacademy.com, or at Jennifer@chilliwackgolf.com

Just Posted

Nominations open for UFV Betty Urquhart Community Service award

Award recognizes those who make community a better place to live

Parent concerned over privacy breach is a candidate for Chilliwack school board

Brian Mielke said sharing of student names with U.S. research firm shows trustees disregarding law

Chilliwack athletes run in the rain at first cross-country race

Dozens of elementary/middle/high schoolers tackled a mucky course next to Twin Rinks last Thursday.

Fraser River First Nations say they aren’t getting their share of sockeye

Shortage is a result of decisions made by DFO, not a shortage of sockeye, complaint says

Chilliwack Chiefs benefit from BCHL Showcase exposure

Carter Wilkie’s first BCHL goal Saturday against Wenatchee earned him talks with several NCAA scouts.

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Vancouver, Delta police won’t use new roadside saliva test to detect pot

The Dräger DrugTest 5000 is designed to find THC, the high-inducing part of marijuana

Canada aiming for the moon, and beyond, with new space technology efforts

With an eye on future lunar exploration, Canada’s space agency is calling on companies to present their ideas for everything from moon-rover power systems to innovative mineral prospecting techniques.

New Brunswick Premier meets with lieutenant-governor as Tories, Liberals vie for power

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said the only other leader he had spoken with since results came in was Green Leader David Coon.

Trudeau looks to restart Canada’s UN charm offensive in New York City

Freeland says the question of job retraining in the 21st century — and the uncertainty that surrounds it — is the federal government’s central preoccupation.

Calgary mayor seeks person who leaked details of closed-door Olympic meeting

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he will ask the city’s integrity commissioner to investigate a leak of details from an in-camera council meeting.

South Surrey boy, 10, to help kids in need

Ronin Bulmer, 10, is going door-to-door asking for donations

B.C. MP Cannings spared brunt of Ottawa tornadoes

MP Richard Cannings was spared the impact of the tornadoes that hit the Ottawa region

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

Most Read