Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Twenty must know rules of Golf for 2019

There are a lot of golfers who hibernate for the Winter period and re-emerge in the Spring ready for the competitive golfing season that lies ahead. This Winter though whether you be in hibernation or still actively playing you will have to familiarize yourself with the New Rules which will come into play on Jan 1 2019. As golf is a global game the R&A and USGA have issued a single set of Rules to apply worldwide to all golfers.

The Rules of golf have existed for over 270 years. Consistantly evolving the Rules is a central tenet of golf, but this current iteration is a significant and laudable change, one that aspires to make the game more inclusive, approachable and welcoming to all.

All golf clubs have been supplied with rule books for their members so you are advised to pick up one as soon as possible or attend one of the Rules information nights which are to be held at designated golf clubs. As every golfer knows the Rules of Golf can be a complex matter and are fully explained in the New Rules Book but for your convenience here is a list of the 20 must know golf rules for 2019.

1.Drop from knee height (NOT shoulder height)

2.Measure the area to drop in with the longest club in your bag (except a putter)

3. Drop in and play from the relief area

4. When dropping back-on-the-line, your ball cannot be played from nearer the hole than your chosen reference point

5. Time to search – 3 minutes (NOT 5 minutes)

6. If you accidentally move your ball when searching for it, replace it without penalty

7. No penalty for a double hit – it only counts as one stroke

8. No penalty if your ball hits you or your equipment accidentally after a stroke

9. No penalty if your ball strikes the flagstick when you have chosen to leave it in the hole

10. Spike mark and other shoe damage on the putting green can be repaired

11. Ball accidentally moved on putting green – no penalty and replace

12. Ball marked, lifted and replaced on putting green is moved by wind to another position –replace ball on the original spot

13. Penalty areas replace water hazards, and you can move lose impediments, ground your club and take practice swings in penalty areas without penalty, just as you can on the fairway or in the rough

14. You can’t take relief from a penalty area unless you are at least 95% certain your ball is in the penalty area

15. In bunkers you can move loose impediments

16. In bunkers you cannot touch the sand with your club in the area right in front of or right behind your ball, during your backswing or in taking practice swings

17. Free relief is allowed if your ball is embedded on the fairway or in the rough (but “embedded” means that part of your ball is below the level of the ground)

18. Unplayable ball in bunker – extra option to drop outside the bunker for 2 penalty strokes

19. You cannot have your caddie or your partner standing behind you once you begin taking your stance

20. Pace of Play – it is recommended that you take no longer than 40 seconds to make a stroke (and usually you should be able to play more quickly than that) and Ready Golf in stroke play is encouraged.