2019 brings with it the highly anticipated modernization of the Rules of Golf. The changes to the Rules are a key step in the R&A’s bid to make golf more accessible, and make the way it is played more in line with the modern sport. In doing so, governing bodies of the sport can ensure longevity and a healthy future for the sport.  

There has been a significant amount of information released over the past three months including the distribution of new Rules of Golf books in the form of a Players Guide, Full Rule Book and Official Guide to the Rules of Golf that contain various detail levels on the rules. The publications are full of great diagrams and easy to understand wording which has simplified the rules for the golfer.

Golf Australia has forwarded an open email reminder to all golf clubs in Australia regarding the new rules that come into effective on 1 January 2019. We encourage all golfers to take a few moments of the Christmas festive period to glance at the link and also our Rules page on our website.

A range of resources to assist administrators with the transition are available from www.golf.org.au/newrules.  Recent additions to this page include:

  • A special section at the top of the page for the use of club golfers.  We will heavily promote this section direct to golfers over the next 13 days and beyond.  It provides an easy-to-use, one-stop-shop on the key information a golfer needs to know to operate under the new Rules.
  • The updated Special Rules for Sand Greens (plus a listing of the notable changes to these special rules).

ASPIRATION – Educating your members for 1 January

  • It is unrealistic to expect each player in every group to know all of the major changes for the first round they play in 2019.
  • If only one player in each group knows the key changes, that player will be able to help their playing partners – eg ensuring everyone drops from knee height.  And the information will spread organically.
  • Most of the changes make things easier for players by providing extra flexibility – and there is no penalty for not taking advantage.  For example there is no penalty if players don’t tap down foot damage on the green, or don’t remove loose impediments from bunkers, or don’t putt with the flagstick in the hole, etc.
  • However there are a small number of changes that will have common use and that club golfers NEED to know.  We encourage you to try to focus on ensuring your members are aware of: the new requirement to drop at knee height, the new relief area requirements, and the new 3-minute ball search limit.  (Resources to point to are contained in the new Club Golfer section at the top of www.golf.org.au/newrules)
  • The Golf Australia website is visited by approximately 40,000 golfers per day.  There is an invasive alert now operating on the website that everyone will have to click through in order to view content on any page.  This alert will assist in spreading the Rules-change message to all golfers so they are ready for their first game in 2019.