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USGA/R&A Finalize 2019 Rules of Golf

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1 hour ago, DeadMan said:

Looks like they kept the not removing flagstick when putting rule: http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/ball-played-from-the-putting-green-hits-unattended-flagstick-in-hole.html

Edit to add: and looks like they didn't do any actual research on this. :roll:

If I had one of those Perfect Putters, I would have done some experimenting. Not like it would change anyone's mind or anything, but it would be interesting to see definitively what happens.

9 minutes ago, iacas said:

Oh my.

Well, here you go: on every putt where you cannot basically guarantee that you're going to leave the putt within 3' of the hole, leave the flagstick in.

That's my advice.

Isn't it advantageous to have the stick in for all putts?

Most people are going to pull it when they get on the green anyway, so I predict that the flagstick will be pulled for the majority of my putts (pace of play thing - I'm not going to make anyone put the stick back in for me after they've already pulled it out).

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I'll post my thoughts as I read through them. The first one is a bit out of order.

New (Two-)Stroke and Distance Local Rule for Lost/OB Ball

http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/golfs-new-rules-stroke-and-distance.html

This is the new stroke and distance rule that's not intended for higher level events. It allows you to drop in a very wide pie slice (going all the way to the fairway, no closer to the hole), with a penalty of two strokes (so you'd be lying three if it was your tee shot).

I really like this rule. It's a Local Rule, and so it won't affect the higher level events. What it does is provide an actual rule for leagues that have made up their own rules, and similar types of situations where players just make up their own rules on their own, and still allow you to turn in an actual score that's played under the Rules of Golf. It should eliminate the debate over whether the hole was an ESC hole or whether it was par + handicap, too.

20 minutes ago, billchao said:

Isn't it advantageous to have the stick in for all putts?

What advantage do you think it offers on a one-inch putt?

No. Not really. In our testing if you can hit the ball to within about 3' (beyond the hole), the flagstick doesn't help or hurt. At faster speeds - a ball rolling out more than 3' past the hole - the flagstick starts to help.

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Ball at Rest Moved

During a Search - http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/ball-moved-during-search.html - No penalty. Replace the ball and re-create the lie.

I like this one.


Accidentally Moved on Putting Green - http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/no-penalty-for-moving-a-ball-on-the-putting-green.html - No penalty. Replace the ball.

Meh. I wish the rules still encouraged a bit more care around your golf ball, because I can see people being careless with a ball in play in other areas of the course thinking they just get to replace it for free, but specifically as it relates to this rule, I don't dislike it.


Standard for Deciding Cause of Ball Movementhttp://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/standard-for-deciding-why-a-ball-moved.html - Apply known or virtually certain standard to determine if player caused it to move.

I like the standardization of "known or virtually certain." That's a plus. I hope the "accidental" stuff above isn't applied here when someone, for example, presses down on some grass and moves their ball in the rough. That surpasses the KVC standard IMO (if it's near the ball, of course).


Replacing when Original Spot Not Knownhttp://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/replacing-ball-when-original-spot-is-not-known.html - Estimate the spot and replace it.

Okay. Good simplification.


Ball in Motion

Ball in Motion Accidentally Deflected - http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/ball-in-motion-accidentally-deflected.html - Accidentally? No penalty. Double hit? No penalty.

All good by me. Intentional deflections are still punishable, whether by you, an opponent, your caddie… etc.

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17 minutes ago, iacas said:

I'll post my thoughts as I read through them. The first one is a bit out of order.

New (Two-)Stroke and Distance Local Rule for Lost/OB Ball

http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/golfs-new-rules-stroke-and-distance.html

This is the new stroke and distance rule that's not intended for higher level events. It allows you to drop in a very wide pie slice (going all the way to the fairway, no closer to the hole), with a penalty of two strokes (so you'd be lying three if it was your tee shot).

I really like this rule. It's a Local Rule, and so it won't affect the higher level events. What it does is provide an actual rule for leagues that have made up their own rules, and similar types of situations where players just make up their own rules on their own, and still allow you to turn in an actual score that's played under the Rules of Golf. It should eliminate the debate over whether the hole was an ESC hole or whether it was par + handicap, too.

To make sure I'm reading this correct, if this local rule is in place, and you lose a ball or hit it O.B. off the tee, you'd potentially be able to drop in the fairway as long as its 2 club lengths from the edge of the fairway but no closer to the hole, lying three and hitting your 4th shot from the fairway?

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2 minutes ago, klineka said:

To make sure I'm reading this correct, if this local rule is in place, and you lose a ball or hit it O.B. off the tee, you'd potentially be able to drop in the fairway as long as its 2 club lengths from the edge of the fairway but no closer to the hole, lying three and hitting your 4th shot from the fairway?

Yes.

If the Local Rule is in place. And not "potentially." Always.

Then again, what are they going to do if you lose a ball and haven't reached the fairway? Do you just get to go as far across the hole as you'd like?

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20 minutes ago, iacas said:

What advantage do you think it offers on a one-inch putt?

No. Not really. In our testing if you can hit the ball to within about 3' (beyond the hole), the flagstick doesn't help or hurt. At faster speeds - a ball rolling out more than 3' past the hole - the flagstick starts to help.

What I meant was, there's no disadvantage to just leaving the flagstick in all the time, is there? I'd probably leave it in all the time if I could.

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Just now, billchao said:

What I meant was, there's no disadvantage to just leaving the flagstick in all the time, is there? I'd probably leave it in all the time if I could.

Not really.

If it leans too much, or if it's windy, that could be a potential disadvantage. Those times are pretty rare.

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I like a lot of these changes. Especially the ones where you accidentally do something that does not help you in any way, but by the old rules you got penalized for. Like ball in motion accidentally deflected and ball at rest on the green moved. I also like the local rule on lost ball/OB.

Oh, and the change to water hazards, or penalty areas, allowing you to move lose impediments and ground your club.

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24 minutes ago, iacas said:

I'll post my thoughts as I read through them. The first one is a bit out of order.

New (Two-)Stroke and Distance Local Rule for Lost/OB Ball

http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/golfs-new-rules-stroke-and-distance.html

This is the new stroke and distance rule that's not intended for higher level events. It allows you to drop in a very wide pie slice (going all the way to the fairway, no closer to the hole), with a penalty of two strokes (so you'd be lying three if it was your tee shot).

I really like this rule. It's a Local Rule, and so it won't affect the higher level events. What it does is provide an actual rule for leagues that have made up their own rules, and similar types of situations where players just make up their own rules on their own, and still allow you to turn in an actual score that's played under the Rules of Golf. It should eliminate the debate over whether the hole was an ESC hole or whether it was par + handicap, too.

I tend to agree that it's a good idea for the reasons you said there.

My one concern is that it will be too widely adopted in competitions. I foresee a fight in my men's club next year about whether to include this. Dropping in the fairway with a 2 stroke penalty instead of taking stroke and distance is an advantage. And I'm not sure I want that for a serious-ish competition.

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1 minute ago, DeadMan said:

I tend to agree that it's a good idea for the reasons you said there.

My one concern is that it will be too widely adopted in competitions. I foresee a fight in my men's club next year about whether to include this. Dropping in the fairway with a 2 stroke penalty instead of taking stroke and distance is an advantage. And I'm not sure I want that for a serious-ish competition.

It's not supposed to be used for serious competitions.

An if the guy hit it OB or lost it, he's still hitting 4. Yes, it does basically just let him pretend he hit his next tee shot in the fairway, instead of having to face the same tee shot he just hit OB again, but… it's not supposed to be used for serious competitions. Leagues, etc. should adopt the local rule.

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Taking Relief

Measuring the Size of the Area for Relief - http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/measuring-the-size-of-the-relief-area.html - Drops are now all in an "area." This means that you can't drop "on a line" or "on the exact spot." The area around there (often one club length) is all the same. It's all good. And the ball must be dropped, land in, and remain in the area, or it's not a valid drop. Finally, the longest club in your bag other than your putter is the determinant of the "club length."

I like this. Dropping "on the line" or "on the exact spot" is tough given the lack of dimensionality. This provides an area, so you don't have to fear dropping in your divot (if you caught one really fat, maybe), or missing the spot by a foot or two and someone calling you out on that.


New Procedure for Dropping a Ballhttp://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/new-procedure-for-dropping-a-ball.html - You have to drop from knee height, without spinning, etc., and the ball has to stay in the relief area.

Fine by me. Preserves the "randomness" a bit while eliminating a lot of energy from the ball so it can roll to farther distances. I wish they'd defined the area a bit better - maybe "between hip and knee height" or something - because knee height is a smaller area (we've had rules infractions for people dropping above or below "shoulder height"), and becomes some older people don't like to bend over.


Where a Dropped Ball Must Come to Resthttp://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/where-a-dropped-ball-must-come-to-rest.html - Balls must be dropped and come to rest in the defined relief area. Place it where it first touched if the second legal drop doesn't work.

This is cleaner. Before, the ball could roll up to two clublengths away, and people were always confused if it rolled forward a little, or too far away from where it touched. Also, before, you could end up getting almost four clublengths relief in some situations. I like.


Fixed Distances Used for Measuringhttp://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/taking-relief.html - Longest club in your bag except your putter is the standard measurement. One or two clublengths in all cases.

Okay.


Time for Search is 3 Minuteshttp://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/reduced-time-for-search-before-a-ball-is-lost.html - Instead of 5, you have 3.

Good.


Substitution Allowed When Taking Reliefhttp://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/substitution-of-a-ball-always-allowed-when-taking-relief.html - You can substitute a ball any time you get to take relief under the rules.

Okay. Fine by me. I may even encourage my players to leave the original ball there throughout the procedure so that they can easily demonstrate it to a fellow competitor or something. But at the same time that can cause confusion about which ball is in play (though it shouldn't, I'm just saying an unscrupulous person can "drop" and then claim that was an accident, and play the original ball). But that person's a cheat anyway. :-)


Relief for an Embedded Ballhttp://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/relief-for-an-embedded-ball.html - You can take relief for an embedded ball anywhere in the General Area (except in sand). The committee (i.e. the R&A? :-D) can adopt a Local Rule flipping the thing back to the current 2018 rule: only in fairway height grass or lower. Drop within one clublength.

The R&A caved to the USGA (finally!) on this one. Good for them. Just wish it hadn't taken so long.


Procedure for Taking Lateral Reliefhttp://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/procedure-for-taking-lateral-relief.html - I'm not sure why this is separate. It's two clublengths from the lateral margin. Then the area and dropping parts of the Rules come into play.

Not really sure why this is listed as a "major change." So… I like it, because it's basically the same. If they're talking about it for eliminating yellow water hazards (i.e. "water hazards"), or the "opposite margin" stuff, then that's fine too.


Procedure for Back on a Line Reliefhttp://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/procedure-for-taking-back-on-a-line-relief.html - Rather than dropping on a line, you get to drop in an area from the spot you choose.

Good. Dropping on an exact spot is tough.

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Fixing spike marks? Sounds like that'll clear things up on Tour.

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7 minutes ago, iacas said:

 

New Procedure for Dropping a Ballhttp://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/new-procedure-for-dropping-a-ball.html - You have to drop from knee height, without spinning, etc., and the ball has to stay in the relief area.

Fine by me. Preserves the "randomness" a bit while eliminating a lot of energy from the ball so it can roll to farther distances. I wish they'd defined the area a bit better - maybe "between hip and knee height" or something - because knee height is a smaller area (we've had rules infractions for people dropping above or below "shoulder height"), and becomes some older people don't like to bend over.

This is the one place where I'm glad the original proposed rule was modified.  I can agree that a range of height might have been appropriate, just to avoid conflicts, but I'm glad that some unpredictability was maintained.

I also agree with the idea of a "relief area",  Of course, a player still can't go 3 yards back when he's required to replay a shot, but its cleaner to specify an area rather than a single spot.

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36 minutes ago, iacas said:

It's not supposed to be used for serious competitions.

 but… it's not supposed to be used for serious competitions. Leagues, etc. should adopt the local rule.

I'm not sure that 'leagues' would necessarily qualify as "higher levels of play, such as professional or elite level competitions". Do leagues have players of all handicap levels?

I would only consider competitions for amateur cappers below 2 or three as high level or elite, possibly upto 5 but no higher.

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2 minutes ago, Rulesman said:

I'm not sure that 'leagues' would necessarily qualify as "higher levels of play, such as professional or elite level competitions". Do leagues have players of all handicap levels?

You misread what I wrote.

I said that for leagues they'd likely implement the Local Rule, and that it gives them an established rule to follow, rather than making up their own like they do now.

I didn't classify leagues as higher level events.

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31 minutes ago, iacas said:

Preserves the "randomness" a bit while eliminating a lot of energy from the ball so it can roll to farther distances. I wish they'd defined the area a bit better - maybe "between hip and knee height" or something - because knee height is a smaller area (we've had rules infractions for people dropping above or below "shoulder height"), and becomes some older people don't like to bend over.

I agree.

Maybe something more like, "Above knee height" would work. If someone wants to drop it chest height, find by me.

I like the idea of dropping in a defined area, instead of a spot.

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