This is a short list of a few changes that will be in effect starting January 1st, 2019.
1. Hitting yourself with your ball
If you have a bad shot and the golf ball hits you, you won’t be penalize anymore. It might hurt but the Rule change does not help you on that one and the ball must be played where it lies.
2. Moving your golf ball in searching for it
If you move your ball by accident while you are searching for it, you will not have a penalty but you must replace the ball.
3. Flagstick in the hole
We will be allowed to keep the flagstick in the hole for a stroke from the green. Players don’t all agree if this is an advantage or not, but for sure it will be good for Pace of Play.
The caddie will not be allowed to stand behind the player when the player is taking his stance. This rule change was asked by the LPGA’s office. Most of the LPGA players need the caddie to align their feet. It takes time and LPGA wants to do something about Pace of Play….too bad the PGA Tour does not think the same…
5. Code of conduct
The committee may put into effect a code of conduct with penalty strokes in case of a breach. As an example if the Code says we can’t throw a club and someone does it, he may have a one stroke penalty.
6. Green reading book
In the past months, USGA and R&A had many discussions concerning the green reading books. The new rules will say the book must not be bigger than 4 inches X 7 inches and the ratio must be less than 1:480. This means that a 30 yards X 30 yards green must fit in a 3 inches X 3 inches piece of paper.
Also you will not be authorized to use a magnifying glass to read your book…
7. Water hazard
The new name for a water hazard will be PENALTY AREA. A Committee will have the possibility to put a forest as a penalty area. We will keep the possibility of having red or yellow stakes. Some golf courses have areas that are not maintained, and it takes a while to find balls. For Pace of Play purposes, red stakes will solve the problem.
We will also be allowed to remove any loose impediments in the penalty zone.