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USGA/R&A Finalize 2019 Rules of Golf

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So unless Im an idiot and missed it, was this new OB rule for lower play part of the suggested rules?

Unless Im remembering something else, I thought there was a thread here about a study the USGA did on changing stroke and distance for lost/OB? I remember the USGA considered a few options but thought none would work. Was this one of those? Anyone rember tjat thread or study?

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IMHO, the new OB/lost ball rule is too liberal...and may not speed up play much. For one thing, the area in which the player may take his drop is massive. I can picture players taking quite a bit of time surveying that area for the most advantageous location for their drop (avoidance of obstacles, grass providing the best lie, etc.). I also have an issue with the fact that you could completely take a stand of trees (for example) between you and the hole completely out of play and have an unobstructed shot.

I'd rather see the player drop within two club lengths of the spot where the ball was thought to have gone OB or been lost. That would certainly be quicker than wandering around the golf course looking for the ideal drop location.

I'm far from an "elite" player, and only play casual rounds. The last competition I entered (the local Senior Publinks) was almost 20 years ago. I don't have a USGA handicap. It's my experience that most casual players in those lost ball situations simply drop one where they expected to find the original ball anyway. For that matter, they'll probably continue to do that even with the new rule since they probably don't know the rules anyway :-)

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2 minutes ago, Joe Cartpath said:

IMHO, the new OB/lost ball rule is too liberal...and may not speed up play much. For one thing, the area in which the player may take his drop is massive. I can picture players taking quite a bit of time surveying that area for the most advantageous location for their drop (avoidance of obstacles, grass providing the best lie, etc.). I also have an issue with the fact that you could completely take a stand of trees (for example) between you and the hole completely out of play and have an unobstructed shot.

I disagree. Many casual golfers already drop in the fairway anyway. Also, if they have to drop near the OB they are probably going to be obstructed and have to hit through trees, etc. This would only slow play down even more as casual golfers hack their way out of trouble. Dropping in the fairway "resets" the hole, albeit with a higher score, but I am certain it will speed up play significantly. It doesn't take much time to navigate a drop when you can just go over the the fairway and hit. 

Additionally, before the rule change the two options were to re-tee or "cheat" and drop, it probably encouraged longer searches. Now, with a clear solution available it may speed play by limiting searches. 

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Found the USGA discussion on it. Interesting that the Local Rule part was discussed but said it should be denied. Wonder what changed?

 

http://www.usga.org/rules-hub/rules-modernization/text/stroke-and-distance-relief.html

 

Just now, Joe Cartpath said:

IMHO, the new OB/lost ball rule is too liberal...and may not speed up play much. For one thing, the area in which the player may take his drop is massive. I can picture players taking quite a bit of time surveying that area for the most advantageous location for their drop (avoidance of obstacles, grass providing the best lie, etc.). I also have an issue with the fact that you could completely take a stand of trees (for example) between you and the hole completely out of play and have an unobstructed shot.

I'd rather see the player drop within two club lengths of the spot where the ball was thought to have gone OB or been lost. That would certainly be quicker than wandering around the golf course looking for the ideal drop location.

I'm far from an "elite" player, and only play casual rounds. The last competition I entered (the local Senior Publinks) was almost 20 years ago. I don't have a USGA handicap. It's my experience that most casual players in those lost ball situations simply drop one where they expected to find the original ball anyway. For that matter, they'll probably continue to do that even with the new rule since they probably don't know the rules anyway :-)

In a way, isnt the new rule basically recreating a safer fairway shot? I mean if I hit OB, my next shot is usually with something that finds the fairway but not going as far. Isnt that what the new rule basically creates? It is forcing you to go back backwards.

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1 hour ago, Joe Cartpath said:

I can picture players taking quite a bit of time surveying that area for the most advantageous location for their drop (avoidance of obstacles, grass providing the best lie, etc.).

I don't see that happening much at all. Most people are probably just going to walk back to the nearest fairway and drop the ball there.

1 hour ago, Joe Cartpath said:

I also have an issue with the fact that you could completely take a stand of trees (for example) between you and the hole completely out of play and have an unobstructed shot

It's not meant for high level competitions, though. I'm ok with it for casual rounds and leagues, or even a club championship.

1 hour ago, Joe Cartpath said:

I'd rather see the player drop within two club lengths of the spot where the ball was thought to have gone OB or been lost.

The problem with that is, a lot of places where you can lose a ball or have it go OB are lined with woods and whatever. Some places are straight up unplayable. If I'm going to take 2 strokes and still have to play out of the woods, I'll take my chances back on the tee (and hold everyone else up in the process, having spent my allotted time searching for my ball and then walking all the way back). If this were the rule, the effect would be no different than the current rules as they are.

The other thing, as @iacas mentioned, it eliminates the debate of ESC vs par + handicap. As a guy with the tendency to knock consecutive balls in the woods or OB once in a while, this new rule gives me a chance to play out the hole and get a more accurate number for my handicap.

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5 hours ago, iacas said:

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.

Sorry. Skim reading isn't always the best way.

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The 2-stroke penalty for OB/lost ball was a surprise to me - didn't really hear any discussion or suggestion of that.  I think it's fine since it's a local rule.  I wonder if some courses will implement it only during fall/winter when leaves start to be a problem.  Since they introduced "penalty areas", I do wonder if it could have just been for lost balls, leaving the OB rule as-is.

The flagstick thing is the stupidest one.  I don't really care that it makes putting easier, actually...I don't necessarily think that golf has a "proper" level of difficulty.  My objection is that it completely changes the game (you're now putting towards a stick, not into a hole in the ground) with no real benefit to pace of play other than in a solo round.

And, since all flagsticks are different, it adds another equipment variable for no reason.  I actually think this is a dumb half-measure - I'd rather have a rule where you HAVE to leave the flag in, than one that permits either.

I give it six months before someone is marketing a "dampening" flagstick that makes it really easy to hole out.

It's going to be weird as shit the first time you see a PGA player do it.

 

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16 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

I give it six months before someone is marketing a "dampening" flagstick that makes it really easy to hole out.

The "flagstick" is a movable straight indicator, with or without bunting or other material attached, centered in the hole to show its position. It must be circular in cross-section. Padding or shock absorbent material that might unduly influence the movement of the ball is prohibited.

That's the current definition. You can't really make it out of "dampening" material. But who knows what qualifies as "dampening…".

What about "sticky" flagsticks?

Anyway, the "arms race" was one of my four reasons above re: why this is a horrible rule, IMO.

This one and one other one are the only two rules I really didn't like. And half the time (like now) I can't remember what the other one is.

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14 minutes ago, iacas said:

That's the current definition. You can't really make it out of "dampening" material. But who knows what qualifies as "dampening…".

What about "sticky" flagsticks?

Yeah, I was thinking of a super-light flexible flagstick, with no actual flag (to avoid it bending in the breeze)...something like that.

But you’re right, it doesn’t matter - the point is there is absolutely no good reason to introduce this as a variable when it fundamentally changes the game.

On the plus side, “that guy” in everyone’s league who never picks up the flag is now off the hook.

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25 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

Yeah, I was thinking of a super-light flexible flagstick, with no actual flag (to avoid it bending in the breeze)...something like that.

Merion doesn't have a flag. It has those little wicker "balloons". (People call them baskets, but they're closed, so that's not a basket IMO.)

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I'm actually good with these.  Though since I don't compete it won't affect much so I don't have a horse in this race.  I like the new drop and the OB rule (it's already a lot of strokes, so whining that it's not penal enough.....) and the penalty area stuff.  and the accidental double hits. etc  lots I like here.

Agree the flagstick one is a bit silly, but it really doesn't change my approach much.  I'll leave it if I'm a long ways away (and don't actually have a reason to walk over there.....) and pull it when I get within 15 or so.  In a group, it's almost always pulled by someone that's close by and they usually ask if it needs tending for long putts - so that's equivalent as someone is near to pull it, or leave it.  If someone wants it in, I usually tend for people anyway and when I putt out (not last) I go retrieve the flag for when we're done, so It's almost always in hand.

I'd leave the serious assessment for those that compete.  IMO - it's about them.

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10 minutes ago, rehmwa said:

Agree the flagstick one is a bit silly, but it really doesn't change my approach much.  I'll leave it if I'm a long ways away (and don't actually have a reason to walk over there.....) and pull it when I get within 15 or so.  In a group, it's almost always pulled by someone that's close by and they usually ask if it needs tending for long putts - so that's equivalent as someone is near to pull it, or leave it.  If someone wants it in, I usually tend for people anyway and when I putt out (not last) I go retrieve the flag for when we're done, so It's almost always in hand.

You're not accounting for the fact that some players may want it in for nine footers down the hill. Curling three-footers. Etc.

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3 minutes ago, iacas said:

You're not accounting for the fact that some players may want it in for nine footers down the hill. Curling three-footers. Etc.

I get that.  I was just talking my game.  As I noted, I'm usually the guy that picks up the stick and watches the others play out.  If they want to replace the stick, I'm already tending it, so it won't delay much.  (i think it's cheap if they do it, but I don't compete, so i don't tend to play other people's games for them.  I can see it being annoying and distracting when money and titles are on the line - and counterproductive to the 'stated' intent.)

Short version - I agree with you.  But personally I don't have a dog in the hunt.

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So going back to the USGA stroke and distance paper, any idea as to why they reversed their decision. They seemed pretty decided against help there even as a local rule.

I wonder how last minute was the change as it wasnt really in the initial release?

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4 minutes ago, cutchemist42 said:

So going back to the USGA stroke and distance paper, any idea as to why they reversed their decision. They seemed pretty decided against help there even as a local rule.

I wonder how last minute was the change as it wasnt really in the initial release?

It was in the poll. They were clearly considering it. The initial stuff was a YEAR ago, remember.

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Does the tickness of the flagstick affect it's usefulness? I've played some courses with pretty thin sticks and some with thicker ones.

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8 hours ago, iacas said:

And half the time (like now) I can't remember what the other one is.

:whistle:

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9 hours ago, iacas said:

It was in the poll. They were clearly considering it. The initial stuff was a YEAR ago, remember.

Im just surprised as their paper on the topic from 2016 seemed strongly adamant no solution could actually be done well in practise, that it required too much guesswork on where the ball ended up and other considerations.

Just figured they already debated it a few years back and Im having a hard time imagining how that opinion could be swayed so quickly.

Im just really curious how this and other rules discussions happened. Would have been interesting to listen in on. I mean, I legit wanted a change, but their own paper kind of convinced me there wasnt a great solution.

So after a day of thought I got a few quick thoughts.

-I dislike the knee drop, as I legit know older folks who might hurt from this. Does it also specify knee position? Does it have to be a straight knee or squatted position?

-For new stroke and distance.....if your ball is lost in the middle of the fairway, would you do the cone shape to the edge of the fairway and drop there?

Edited by cutchemist42

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