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USGA/R&A Re-Evaluating All Rules, Top to Bottom

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As last happened in 1984, the USGA and R&A are reviewing the Rules of Golf, top to bottom, end to end, 1 through 34. They tend to do this every 25-35 years or so.

They may make sweeping changes. They may decide they pretty much like them as they are.

The only guiding principles are… the Principles as outlined in:

So, what changes do you think they should make? Why?

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They should allow you to place the ball instead of the 3 drop place rule they have now. It would speed up playing time for a lot of guys.

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13 minutes ago, freshmanUTA said:

They should allow you to place the ball instead of the 3 drop place rule they have now. It would speed up playing time for a lot of guys.

I don't think it would speed up playing time appreciably. I don't even think most drops take more than one time to get right. And… it would be at the cost of the randomness they like.

But everything is on the table, I've heard. Including drops. Including things that some of us might think go against Tufts' principles. At first.

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I am not sure how many weekend warriors actually play "strickly"  by the rules as it is.

They need to simplify the rules for the masses of non professionals.  Changing all OBs, and water hazards to laterals with a 1 stroke penalty, and a drop would help speed up the game. 

Me personally I would like a 15 club rule, since I always have an extra club laying around. 

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I couldn't disagree more with @Patch.  Bifurcation of the rules accomplishes nothing.  Those that choose to play by the rules will do so.  Those that choose not to, also will continue to do so, regardless of what the rules actually are.

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I am curious if they will make changes to appeal to those who complain that the rules are too complicated and/or difficult to follow or if they mostly stand pat with what they are today.  

I'll be okay with whatever they decide but I can see some areas where simplification might make it easier for some to adhere to the rules.  

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33 minutes ago, Patch said:

I am not sure how many weekend warriors actually play "strickly"  by the rules as it is.

They need to simplify the rules for the masses of non professionals.  Changing all OBs, and water hazards to laterals with a 1 stroke penalty, and a drop would help speed up the game. 

Those are non-starters, because they violate the very basic Principles.

They also don't care about changing the Rules to satisfy people who… don't play by the rules. That wouldn't make any sense.

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13 minutes ago, David in FL said:

I couldn't disagree more.  Bifurcation of the rules accomplishes nothing.  Those that choose to play by the rules will do so.  Those that choose not to, also will continue to do so, regardless of what the rules actually are.

That's definitely true on both levels.

7 minutes ago, iacas said:

Those are non-starters, because they violate the very basic Principles.

They also don't care about changing the Rules to satisfy people who… don't play by the rules. That wouldn't make any sense.

Erik, well said, people who don't play by the rules are going to continue to not play by the rules...

 

Let me clarify the two I'd like to see changed.

1. Unplayables in Bunkers: I'd like to see an option where you can drop outside of the bunker if it is within the two clublengths of the unplayable lie.

2. Sand-Filled Divots: They either need to make all sand filled divots GUR by the rules of golf or committees need to mark off the area of sand filled divots as ground under repair.

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7 minutes ago, onthehunt526 said:

1. Unplayables in Bunkers: I'd like to see an option where you can drop outside of the bunker if it is within the two clublengths of the unplayable lie.

That one's here:

Maybe I'll ask them about that one tomorrow.

7 minutes ago, onthehunt526 said:

2. Sand-Filled Divots: They either need to make all sand filled divots GUR by the rules of golf or committees need to mark off the area of sand filled divots as ground under repair.

Probably never gonna happen It violates the principle of playing the course as you find it, and you can't reasonably define "divot hole" in such a way that everyone will apply the definition similarly. How much sand is necessary? What if some sand washes away? What if someone forgets to fill a divot hole?

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You have a point, it would violate the play the course as you find it... 

I've noticed a lot of courses are going away from using sand as much, its more like a seed mix, they put on the carts now. 

They could outlaw sand for divot repair, but that is off-topic...

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There is only one part of the Rules/Decisions that I've thought could benefit from some simplification: Rule 8 (Advice; Indicating Line of Play).

I understand why the rules against advice exist (the principle of fair play), but it seems like they create subjective situations ("casually" indicating what club was just used, for example) whose complication exceeds that value of the rule itself.  Similarly, having the line of a putt only indicated by partners or caddies seems a strange distinction when the line of play can be indicated by anyone.

I certainly fall in the camp that is skeptical of pretty much any recommended change to the rules, but that's the one that always seemed a bit odd to me.

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1 hour ago, onthehunt526 said:

The one Erik wants to see, unplayables in bunkers, and sand filled divots are automatically ground under repair.

It's worth pointing out that I changed my mind later in that topic:

I think the only rule I'd support changing right now is…

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4 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

I think the rules are pretty good as they are.  Nothing really stands out that I think needs changing. :)

Erik, made me realize something. The rules as a whole don't need much changing. 

Even with the changes, I suggested above, they're something that doesn't come up very much.

One thing, I would like to see, possibly is some of the language is a little confusing for some beginners I know. Maybe simplify the language a bit.

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In thinking about this question, it was helpful (for me) to go back and look at the rules that were changed in 1984.  A little tough to find comprehensive information, but this was a good summary:

http://www.nytimes.com/1983/11/20/sports/golf-rules-changed-for-some-situations.html

Apologies if this is off-topic, but it was good background info for me.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

It's worth pointing out that I changed my mind later in that topic:

I think the only rule I'd support changing right now is…

I'd go along with you on alignment assistance, and I'd add one more.  

I'd like to see the R&A soften it's stand on the embedded ball and allow it to be in effect through the green.  My understanding is that the USGA has wanted this for some time, but the R&A always vetoes it.  

That way they could eliminate the fuzzy wording about grass closely mowed to fairway height.  By eliminating any reference to "fairway" they take a lot of the steam out of the lobbying for relief from divots.  If the rules don't recognize the existence of "fairway", then you couldn't realistically take relief from something just because the grass is shorter in one place than it is ten feet away.

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Note: This thread is 749 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!
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