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How Much "Simpler" Are the 2019 Rules, Really?

2019 Rules  

46 members have voted

  1. 1. Are the 2019 Rules of Golf simpler?

    • Yes, quite a bit.
      7
    • Yes, a little.
      18
    • No, they’re about the same.
      19
    • No, they’re more complex.
      2


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The 2019 Rules of Golf were pitched to many as not only a “modernized” version of the Rules, but also a rules package that encouraged faster play AND were simpler.

I don’t think they’re that much simpler. Nor can they be, really. A few of the disparate penalties were coalesced, others changed… otherwise, not much simpler.

Again I don’t think they CAN be much simpler. The NFL still may not know what a catch or roughing the passer is, the NHL can’t define goaltender interference or “head shots” very well, etc. Rules are complex especially when you play such varied fields, formats, etc. as golf.

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I voted about the same. Nothing really changed that made the game noticeably more simple. Further to that fact, I don't think the rules of Golf were too overly complex to begin with. They are sometimes presented that way, but I think that with a little study the nature of the rules becomes easy to understand generally. Thats a little OT, so Ill just reaffirm that the rules were not made drastically more simple if they were made more simple at all. I don't think they were. 

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I went with "about the same".  The big change for me is the one about leaving the flag in when putting. 

That said, I have to admit I am not 100% knowlegeable on all the changes. I have read them all, but have not wrapped my mind around all of them yet.

My opinion is that there is still alot room for improvement as far as making the rules simpler. 

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I really don´t know them yet. I have to take a look at them in december.

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I voted about the same. Things have changed, but it doesn't really simplify. In some cases, they have added more choices, OT and Bunkers for example.

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I think there are some simplifications, but the one that springs to mind doesn't make the game simpler for players, but rather for committees. That's the "penalty area" as opposed to water hazard. A water hazard under the current rules has to have water in it (or at least some of the time it must). That means that a committee can't just say if you hit it in the long grass, play it like a lateral hazard. Now they can (I think). Otherwise it seems like a fair amount of fiddling around and changing names of things, which will make things hard for a little while. I suspect that goes the other way.

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One of the things that make the rules tough for the average player is the rules may change or be open to interpretation. For example, the discussion on an integral part of the course. If I'm understanding correctly, if the committee calls a wall an integral part of the course you play it as it lies, otherwise you take relief. The only other sport that changes rules for venue is baseball with the DH.

I think the common things are pretty easy to anybody who makes any effort to learn the fundamental rules.

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Honestly I haven't gone through the changes, so I don't really know, except for what I've seen people talking about around here, like the pin in the flag thing.  Though my understanding from the bits and pieces I've heard make me think @iacas is basically right.  Maybe some things have been made a little clearer, or a few options added, but it seems almost impossible to make the rules dramatically simpler without seriously changing the game.

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10 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

I think there are some simplifications, but the one that springs to mind doesn't make the game simpler for players, but rather for committees. That's the "penalty area" as opposed to water hazard. A water hazard under the current rules has to have water in it (or at least some of the time it must). That means that a committee can't just say if you hit it in the long grass, play it like a lateral hazard. Now they can (I think). Otherwise it seems like a fair amount of fiddling around and changing names of things, which will make things hard for a little while. I suspect that goes the other way.

I'd argue that makes things more complex for the Committees. They now have to decide whether to call an area a Penalty Area instead of simply going by the pretty clear definition of "water hazard".

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

I'd argue that makes things more complex for the Committees. They now have to decide whether to call an area a Penalty Area instead of simply going by the pretty clear definition of "water hazard".

I agree with @Ty_Webb.  The committee doesn't have to worry about definitions or the like at all.  They only have to decide how they want an area to play.  It doesn't matter if an area is long grass, woods, water, desert, whatever.  If it's an area where you're certain or nearly certain to lose the ball – including water, long grass, dense woods with heavy leaves, etc. – does the committee want it treated basically as OB, since it's guaranteed (or almost) to be a lost ball so you have to take stroke and distance if you hit it in?  Or does the committee want it to be treated as a classic water hazard, where you have to take a stroke but not necessarily distance?  To me it seems simpler for the decision to be around how the hole should play, rather than whether it meets whatever definition.

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3 minutes ago, mdl said:

I agree with @Ty_Webb.  The committee doesn't have to worry about definitions or the like at all.

That's precisely backward. It's more complex now.

Before, they didn't have to decide anything. It was a water hazard or it wasn't. Technically, though they were supposed to mark it, they didn't have to because the Rules let you play it as a water hazard if it met the definition.

Now, they have decisions to make. Decisions are more complex than very clear definitions about what you're to do.

It's off topic, but it's more complex for the Committees now.

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Getting used to the new numbering and finding your way about is the short term complication. But coming new to the game (or simply deciding to play by the rules now),  with the player's edition is a plus.

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

Again I don’t think they CAN be much simpler. 

I voted 'quite a bit' until I read your answer. I looked at how much they simplified compared to how much they could have simplified and concluded they did a lot. But in absolute value of simpleness, I think it's about the same so I changed my vote to that.

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5 minutes ago, Dick Kusleika said:

I voted 'quite a bit' until I read your answer. I looked at how much they simplified compared to how much they could have simplified and concluded they did a lot. But in absolute value of simpleness, I think it's about the same so I changed my vote to that.

What big things to warrant an initial "quite a bit" do you think they "simplified"?

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Having the same relief options for penalty areas. Removing the choice of clubs for marking off a drop. And generally any time they remove a penalty, I consider it a simplification (hitting the flag stick from on the green, loose impediments in bunkers and penalty areas). If there's no penalty, there's nothing to remember.

None of those are big, even collectively. But like you said, what could they have done. I can't come up with any way that I would simplify the rules that wouldn't drastically alter the nature of the game.

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26 minutes ago, Dick Kusleika said:

Having the same relief options for penalty areas.

You can still have yellow penalty areas.

26 minutes ago, Dick Kusleika said:

Removing the choice of clubs for marking off a drop.

I'm not entirely sure what this one means. IIRC they only stopped someone from using a long putter to measure things. And they eliminated the fact that the ball could roll up to two club lengths.

26 minutes ago, Dick Kusleika said:

And generally any time they remove a penalty, I consider it a simplification (hitting the flag stick from on the green, loose impediments in bunkers and penalty areas). If there's no penalty, there's nothing to remember.

Okay. Those count, but yeah, I don't consider those "big" at all.

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13 minutes ago, iacas said:

You can still have yellow penalty areas.

I'm not entirely sure what this one means. IIRC they only stopped someone from using a long putter to measure things. And they eliminated the fact that the ball could roll up to two club lengths.

Okay. Those count, but yeah, I don't consider those "big" at all.

I'm in dangerous territory talking about these changes given the small amount of time I've spent on them. 

My understanding was that the relief options are the same for red and yellow stakes. That is, they eliminated dropping on the other side of a hazard. But as I type this I realize that wasn't the only difference so it's even less of a simplification than I had in my head. 

I think the drop area is measured by your longest club (excluding putter) where it used to be any club you choose. One club instead of a choice of clubs. Simpler. Although I have to admit I never saw anyone use their sand wedge to measure, so the "simplicity" probably affects zero people.

I agree. None of these are big. But what would be? They could have made the relief options for all penalty areas identical, but even that wouldn't have been that big of a change. 

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34 minutes ago, Dick Kusleika said:

My understanding was that the relief options are the same for red and yellow stakes. That is, they eliminated dropping on the other side of a hazard. But as I type this I realize that wasn't the only difference so it's even less of a simplification than I had in my head. 

They did eliminate dropping on the other side of a lateral, but you still have the two club lengths option for a red, and do not for a yellow.

34 minutes ago, Dick Kusleika said:

I think the drop area is measured by your longest club (excluding putter) where it used to be any club you choose.

I could argue "any club except your putter" is more complex than "any club." 🙂

34 minutes ago, Dick Kusleika said:

I agree. None of these are big. But what would be? They could have made the relief options for all penalty areas identical, but even that wouldn't have been that big of a change. 

Right.

I think it being a "simplification" was massively over-sold. 🙂

I don't think they were too complex to begin with, though.

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