Winter 2019

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Pace of Play It's no secret that the one of the main driv- ers behind the changes was to help with pace of play. Clearly, the "While We're Young" campaign needed some extra help. The new Rules addressed pace of play in several ways, most visibly by providing a clear recommendation of the time it should take to play a stroke (Rule 5.6b). Pace of play is also addressed by defining and encouraging "ready golf " in stroke play and permitting players to play out of turn in match play specifically to save time (Rule 6.4). One of the most visible of all the major changes, allowing players to leave the flagstick in the hole when putting, is primarily intended to save time. But the new Rules go beyond just rec- ommendations and permissions that put the onus on the player to save time during the round. The time permitted to search for a ball has been reduced to three minutes. If you, like myself, find yourself searching multiple times per round this could result in a serious reduction of time spent in the weeds. The new concept of Penalty Areas is also designed to help courses save time by allowing facilities to designate more areas with quicker relief options. And at the club level, a new Local Rule that pro- vides an Alternative Option to Stroke and Distance will help players save time by not having to return to the previous spot for a ball that is lost or out of bounds (see Committee Procedures, Section 8, Model Local Rule E-5). All in all, a bunch of changes designed specifically to give your pace a swift poke with the cattle prod. Lessened Penalties Penalties are designed to cancel out any potential advantage a player could gain by the action. The new Rules eliminated or reduced a number of penalties seen as unfair or incongruent with the potential advantage a player could gain. Most are already familiar with the elimination of the penalty for acci- dentally moving your ball on the putting green from the 2017 Local Rule (now Rule 9.4b). The concept of Penalty Areas comes into play again in this category with the elim- ination of penalties for grounding your club, removing loose impediments or testing the condition of a penalty area. Playing a ball from a penalty area is the same as playing from the general area (Rule 17.1b). The new Rules also permit moving loose impedi- ments from a bunker without penalty (Rule 12.2a). So don't freak out when another player starts throwing away a bunch of leaves out of a bunker; I think most of our Rules Officials will have to do a double-take. Just as significant is the elimination of the penalty for accidentally hitting yourself, 80 WINTER 2019 | NCGA.ORG A fter a seemingly endless few years of comment periods, recommendations and waiting, the new Rules of Golf are finally here and in effect. Most of you have now struck the flagstick while putting without penalty, perfected your new knee height dropping position and given up on your search for that ball you "knew was right there" after only three minutes. But there is still a lot to learn from the new Rules and how they're designed to help you shave strokes off your game. By the Player For the Player: The New Rules and How They Work for You BY RYAN FARB, NCGA Director of Rules and Competitions (He twice has earned a perfect 100 score on the PGA/USGA Rules) Search Party: Players (upper right) will now have three minutes to look for a lost ball instead of five, which will help to speed up play. R U L E S O F G O L F

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