The new golf rules will come into effect on the 1st January 2019.
Over the next few weeks I will highlight a few of them incase you missed them when they were released earlier in the year:
New Rule: Reduced time able to spend looking for golf ball (players will only have 3 minutes to search for a ball instead of the current 5 minutes)
The reason is that 5 minutes is quite a considerable amount of time and one that can quite easily slow play down. The R and A believe that if a ball is going to be found then most of them will be found within the 3 minutes. This will also put more emphasis on players hitting a provisional ball as they will have considerably less time to find the lost ball.
New Rule: Relief from an embedded ball in general play (You may take relief if your ball is embedded anywhere expect the sand except where local rules restrict this
The reason being that the rules are now being altered to adapt to any particular course across the world. Although embedded balls are few and far between on a links course, other courses that are more susceptible to the heavy rain and wet conditions should be allow to take relief where it is needed.
New Rule: There will no longer to a penalty if the player putts with the flagstick in the hole and hit it when playing a shot from on the green.
The reason is that the ability to leave the flagstick in the hole when putting could increase the speed of play. A player can be playing there putt from a distance while other players are doing something else and therefore not waiting for the flagstick to be attended or moved. Also leaving the flag in is not always beneficial to players as this narrows the hole and can cause bounce outs so players won’t be gaining a huge advantage.
7. Putting Green
New Rule: players can repair almost everything on the green including pitch marks, animal tracks and even stud marks without being punished.
The reason is that putting greens will roll much better if people can attend to most of the divots on a green. This shouldnt have an effect on the pace of play as more greens should have less damage due to the repairing. Even if the pace of play does suffer slightly as a consequence of this rule it seems only right that the putting green be as smooth as possible to allow the ball to ‘roll’ along the floor.