By Dean Midyette
A number of changes have been made to the Rules of Golf this year. Those who watch golf on TV you will already be aware that the pin can now be left in when putting on the green with no penalty. In years past having a ball on the green striking the pin would have resulted in a penalty.
Here is a list of the other rule changes that were officially instituted on January 1st, 2019:
• Relief will now be a standard one club length, using the longest club remaining in the golf bag. Clubs that have been deposited in trees or ponds are not eligible for use when claiming relief.
• When moving the golf ball due to course conditions or a penalty area, relief should always be taken by using the nearest washroom facility.
• The penalty for double hitting a golf ball during the course of taking a stroke has been removed, much to the relief of players with the yips and TC Chen. Also, there will be no penalty for double hitting your opponent after losing a bet.
• When a ball has been lost or deemed to be out of bounds a new Local Rule will allow players to drop the ball in the vicinity where the ball is lost or out of bounds with a two stroke penalty being assessed. The out of bounds penalty will also apply to players who insist on discussing religion or politics.
• There will be no penalty for a ball that accidentally moves. A ball may not “accidentally move” more than 150 yards.
• Players may now repair damage to the greens including spike marks, pitch marks, animal marks and anything caused by bachelor parties.
• When playing from a bunker, plastic shovels and pails can now touch the sand with no penalty.
• a player’s integrity or reasonable judgment will be trusted when enforcing the rules. This rule will not apply to politicians.
• Players will only be allowed 3 minutes to look for a lost playing partner. This rule will be strictly enforced during Senior events.
These rules modifications should result in an improved pace of play and more enjoyment for the players. Have fun!