Posted by: James Peters | January 27, 2018

Preparing for the 2019 changes

As most of us are aware there are some major revisions to the rules of golf as well as the introduction of the new World Handicap System, due to be introduced in 2019. It is important that we all keep up to date on these changes so I would like to give a brief summary of where we are so far, and where to find information about developments as they are unveiled over the course of this year.

World Handicap System

The R&A and USGA announced in 2017 that they would be working with golf handicapping authorities around the world to develop a single World Handicap System which would be adopted by all countries worldwide. Firm proposals are expected ‘early this year’ but so far no details have been forthcoming.

When the details are finally announced there will be a period of ‘education’ to familiarise golf clubs and golfers with the new system. The information at present seems to point to a full introduction in 2020.

Rule changes

The R&A and USGA have also announced a major set of proposed changes to the Rules of Golf to be implemented from 2019.

Examples of some of the changes are:

  • Flagsticks will no longer have to be removed for balls on the green
  • Damage to the green such as spike marks or pitch marks can be repaired before a putt is taken
  • Loose impediments such as leaves, stones etc. can be removed from a bunker before taking a shot.
  • Time allowed to search for a lost ball will be reduced from 5 minutes to 3 minutes.

A new edition of the Rules of Golf handbook is being prepared which should be clearer and will even have pictures and diagrams!

The details of these changes, featuring some short video explanations can be found on the R&A website

The England Golf Union also have an informative website

Doug Atchison

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