Sep 12th, 2018
Announced – new golf rules to make life worth living
Words: Tim Southwell
Thank the Lord, golf is getting a bit of an overhaul in an attempt to make it not look so ominous to would-be players, plus make our own lives on the links easier.
No penalty for an accidental double hit, no penalty for putting into the hole with the flag in. These are just two of the changes coming our way.
They've also put the glove puppets on for us in order to make it all easier to understand. There are pictures and everything.
"This is a pretty exciting day for us, it has been six-and-a-half years in the making," David Rickman, the R&A's director of governance told BBC Sport. "We have millions of people around the world who love this sport and want to play by the rules. We needed to step up and give them the best opportunity to do that."
30,000 people have given feedback on the proposals which were first mooted in 2017.
"The general tenor of these changes has been the removal of penalties, the removal of restrictions, creating a slightly more relaxed approach," Rickman said.
"There are one or two areas, and caddie lining up is perhaps the primary example, where there is a new restriction coming in 2019.
"The rules were cleverly written but they were quite sophisticated and you had to know your way round them so we did spend a lot of time looking at layout and structure," Rickman added.
"This is all now very real and now the new rules are out there. The new players' edition, something we have not done before, concentrates on the most commonly occurring rules and allows us to focus on those.
"We can present them in different ways, more direct language, a lot of diagrams and illustrations which are particularly useful around relief options.
"It is also worth noting modified rules for players with disabilities. We've had these modifications in place for the best part of 20 years but we haven't promoted them as much as we perhaps should.
"We've been delighted to work with individual players and group organisations to modernise these as well and launch them at the same time."
The R&A say they are leaving no stone unturned (including an investment of £200m) in a bid to make golf more accessible, appealing and inclusive while not throwing the tradition-baby out with the bath water.
"Our new brand brings together everything we have done over the last three years on ways to modernise golf and take the sport forward," said R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers.
"We have a global role to play in leading the sport, while working collaboratively with our partners and international affiliated organisations to grow and nurture golf to ensure that it continues to thrive in 50 years' time."
1. Free and penalty drops being made from knee rather than shoulder height
2. The flag no longer needing to be removed from the hole for putts on the green
3. Caddies not allowed to line up players before they hit shots
4. No penalty for an accidental double hit.
Not sure about the double hit rule. Surely it's just a rubbish shot? Everything else looks pretty sound. Thanks, lads.