Earlier this year the USGA and R&A proposed several significant rule changes to the game of golf. Most of the reaction I’ve heard has been positive. Many have even said that some of the changes don’t go far enough. What I’ve heard most often is, “Why do we have to wait until 2019 to put these into effect?”
Not wanting to make a mistake, the ruling organizations are proceeding slowly. They want the proposed rules to be discussed and tested thoroughly. The USGA has provided the following infographic to explain the timeframe of the entire process:
As you can see from the image, the feedback and evaluation period for players will be closing on August 31st. The ruling bodies are expecting golfers to give these new rules a try and to let them know what they think. Have you done that yet?
The USGA has a number of ways for you to provide that feedback:
Anyone interested in offering feedback or a suggestion on the proposed new Rules can submit their views through usga.org/rules. In addition, you can share your thoughts through social media using #GolfRules2019, or you can contact the USGA directly by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (908-326-1850).
There are materials available to direct players on ways to test the new rules. The core guidance is that any round played using the new rules cannot be used to establish an official handicap.
It’s important that as players we put these rules to the test to see if they go too far or not far enough. Does allowing all green damage to be repaired slow down play? Does lowering the maximum search time for a lost ball to three minutes seem unreasonable? Could they lower the time even more? Should we encourage the elimination of stroke and distance penalties for lost balls and out of bounds?
This is our chance to participate in this process. Time is running out.