Several new rules were introduced to golf in 2019. Not everyone is aware of the changes but some of them can have a big impact on the game. Below you will find some of the major rule changes you should know, starting with the green.
If you accidentally move the ball or ball marker on the green, there is no longer a penalty.
Previously there was a one stroke penalty when this happened. Clearly you should never be moving either deliberately but if it was to happen by mistake, there is no penalty.
When you lift your ball and replace it on the putting green and it moves, you can place it back in the original position. This differs to the previous rule which stated you must play the ball from the new location unless it was moved by you.
Previously, if you touched the line of a putt with anything, it was an automatic loss of the hole in match play or a two stroke penalty. That rule has changed in 2019 and you can touch the line of putt as long as you do not change the condition of the green. This can be useful when indicating a target on a breaking putt.
If your ball lands inside a penalty area, you can move loose impediments around the ball.
You can ground your club and touch the ground with your hand without penalty. This has changed from the previous rule which would have resulted in a two shot penalty or loss of hole in match play.
You can also move any loose impediments in a bunker but only when your ball is in that bunker.
The old rules gave a one stroke penalty if you moved your ball when searching for it. You may be searching for it in deep rough or some bushes for example and accidentally kick the ball. Now, it does not matter where you are on the course, if you accidentally move the ball when looking for it, you can replace it without penalty.
It may be rare but sometimes players accidentally hit the ball twice. However, gone has the rule of a one stroke penalty should this happen. Instead, you carry on as normal and play the next shot from where the ball lies. This has helped to clear up any confusion should it appear someone has hit the ball twice.
Finally, and in an attempt to speed the game up, the time for finding a lost ball has changed.
Previously, you could spend up to 5 minutes searching for a lost golf ball. That has been reduced to 3 minutes.
If you are playing in any of Los Naranjos GC tournaments, keep this in mind because 3 minuets can disappear very quickly. As golf etiquette, you should also be willing to help other golfers look for their ball where possible.