Summer 2018

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it is worth noting that you will be free to move loose impediments when your ball is in a bunker without penalty (so long as the ball is not moved in doing so). New Rules 12.2a and 15.1 give specific permis- sion to move loose impediments in a bunker, an action that would earn you either a lost hole or two strokes under the current Rules. Be careful though, you are still not permitted to ground your club in the bunker around your ball or take prac- tice swings that touch the sand. Dropping and Re-dropping One of the best changes in the new Rules, including some tweaks from the Rules pro- posed last year, involves the procedure for dropping the ball. The current Rules have a lengthy list and incredibly complex Rule (20-2) to govern how to drop a ball, where to drop it and when to re- drop it. The new Rules really do simplify dropping (the awkward knee drop po- sition notwithstanding) by nailing it to two key concepts: the ball must be dropped in the given relief area (defined by the Rule you are taking re- lief under) and the dropped ball must stay in the given relief area. Instead of the infamous list of 7 times you must re-drop (current Rule 20-2c), if the ball rolls out of the relief area, you re-drop. Diverging from the original proposal, the newly released Rules also reinstated the "two drops then place" Rule that the current code uses, which will make things much simpler for players and Rules offi- cials alike. If you drop a ball and it lands in then rolls out of the relief area, then you re-drop the ball and it does it again, you place the ball on the spot where the re-drop struck the ground – the same procedure we use now but somehow much easier to remember (new Rule 14.3c). Overall, the ruling bodies showed great flexibility in designing a new code that lives up to the current state of the game of golf. A tremendous amount of work went into new verbiage and to agreeing to a code that modern players can follow and learn, but also sticks true to the fundamental principles of "play the ball as it lies and play the course as you find it." The only problem remaining now – the new Rules don't go into effect until January! Ryan Farb is the NCGA's Director of Rules and Competitions. In 2017, he earned his second straight perfect 100 score on the PGA/USGA Rules Exam.

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