Rules of Golf Changes
(effective January 1, 2019)



  • One change is designed specifically for the recreational golfer
    Regarding out of bounds or a lost ball - instead of stroke and distance, a new local rule allows the option of dropping a ball in the vicinity of where the original was lost or out of bounds, including the nearest fairway area, with a two-stroke penalty. Basically, if you blow your first drive into the woods, you no longer have to hit your third from the tee box. Instead, you can play your fourth from the fairway—basically, the best case scenario (save for a hole-in-three) with your third shot. This was done to help pace of pace.
    This rule will not be in play at the professional level, or other elite competitions

  • There's no longer a penalty for a double-chip
  • No more penalty for accidentally moving a ball on the green (You are still penalized, however, if it is "virtually certain" you caused it to move on purpose)
  • You can putt with the flagstick in
  • You can repair spike marks (As well as repair animal or other damage on the green)
  • Another penalty removed: touching the line of the putt (caddies are not allowed to stand behind or serve as an extension of the line)
  • You can now move impediments in bunkers and water hazards (There's also no penalty for touching the ground or water in a penalty area. In the sand, however, you cannot ground the club right next to the ball. However, if you're "generally" touching the sand with the club, that's OK.)
  • An extra relief option has been added for an unplayable ball in a bunker (You can play the ball to be outside the sand with a two-stroke penalty)
  • You are no longer required to announce when you are lifting a ball to identify or see if it's damaged
  • You're no longer allowed five minutes to look for a lost ball (Your search party now has three minutes. Let's be honest, you weren't going to find it in five, anyway)
  • A player can take no more than 40 seconds to play a stroke

Click here and check out the videos that demonstrate these respective rules