The New 2019 Rules

Which Two New 2019 USGA Rule Changes Are You Most Happy About?

No penalty for a double strike
0
No votes
Drop from knee height instead of shoulder height
1
7%
Pin can be left in when putting--No penalty for hitting pin
4
27%
Ability to substitute ball in play with a new ball when taking (free or penal) relief
0
No votes
No penalty for moving your ball during a search for it
1
7%
Free relief for embedded ball anywhere on course (except bunkers)
1
7%
Areas of desert, jungle, woods, lava rock, etc., MAY now be marked as red or yellow (instead of white/OB)
3
20%
No penalty for repairing spike marks or other damage on greens
1
7%
Move loose impediments and/or touch the ground with hand or club in penalty areas (not bunkers)
2
13%
Allowed to move loose impediments in bunkers now---no penalty
1
7%
Ball search now limited to only 3 minutes
1
7%
 
Total votes: 15

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DougE
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The New 2019 Rules

Post by DougE » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:06 pm

Though the above selections are just the tip of the iceberg as far as new rules changes go this time around, many of these are likely to affect us regularly. There are some I really like and others I don't care about one way or another.

I like the new drop from knee height change. Much easier to control the lie you get, but certainly not as good as being able to virtually place the ball (drop from 1"), as was the original idea for this change.

Being able to leave the pin in the hole when putting is certainly much nicer, particularly when playing alone, but as much as I like the option, I don't know how much it will affect my play. I suppose in match play, when you have to make a putt or else lose the hole, it allows you to take the break out of a short putt and hit it hard enough, feeling confident that the pin will stop it if you hit it a bit too hard on center. Otherwise it's just more of a convenience. Not complaining though.

Always thought a penalty for repairing a spike mark on the green was ridiculous. So I like the new rule a lot, but it should have been that way a long time ago.

I think my favorite new rule change is the ability to move leaves and loose impediments, as well as ground your club in a hazard area (not a bunker) and more importantly, to be allowed to take practice swings which touch the ground within that area. The latter can give you much more info as to what to expect when you go after a ball sitting down in an area of thick cabbage, or in a wetland area.

The new embedded ball rule is nice, particularly when we have as much rain as we've had this past season. I have had many embedded in the rough this year. Full disclosure, they were in unofficial rounds, so I just moved them out. But in the tourney that is going on right now at my club, I'd have to take an unplayable lie penalty/drop. (Maryland State Senior Championship. Some great players, but I digress. I'll start a different thread if and when I have something to say about it, of which I feel might be interesting to more than just me.)

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by jasonfish11 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:56 pm

I don't really see the need for any of them.

I guess my favorite is no penalty for accidentally hitting your ball while searching for it.

Some of the others are nice and might lower my score by a stroke every 4 rounds, but I don't think they are needed.

The flag in/out will be interesting. Statistically it's better to leave it in, but I see there being the most advantage in match play. Being able to annoy your opponent by doing the opposite of what ever he/she does is probably worth more strokes than actually leaving the flag in.
Keep it short stupid.

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by sjduffers » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:06 pm

The flag stick in only helps good putters. Bad putters will miss the hole the same as before. Good ones can hole out a little more frequently by carrying more speed and minimizing the break around 6-10ft. It won't save any time (the stated purpose) until everyone realizes that they should leave the flag in at all times (unless leaning towards the player), and that's going to take a while: heck, people still take the flag out when chipping or putting from just off the green, when they should statistically leave it in, even the pros!

I like most of the changes. They are making the game easier (e.g. no more penalties for stupid stuff like walking on your ball while searching, or the double hit) and simpler to remember some the rules (e.g. embedded ball thru the green). They might even speed up the game a little bit (e.g. the 3 minutes search, the handling of OOB by dropping 2 club lengths in the fairway, or the knee high drop).

Not to mention there is an explicit 40s time reference now (most shots should take less than that), so that the next time somebody stands over their putt for a minute (I have timed a few folks doing just that), you can point them to the rule that says they should not and that the committee (i.e. me) will penalize them! :up
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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by legitimatebeef » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:58 pm

Dropping from knee height is bullshit! Takes so much of the randomness out of the result. The randomness was the point, motherfucker! I always appreciate the shoulder drop. It's like, you get to choose the general area for your drop, but you don't get to choose the lie. I liked that. Knee height is a whole different level of randomness. I'd like to compare rates of speed dropping from both places. I don't like it. :nope
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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by jfurr » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:30 am

I didn’t realize there were that many rules changes.
I'm gonna hit a provisional
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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by GBOGEY » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:37 am

You didn't allow voting for my favorite new rule which is handling of OB/Lost ball by dropping in fairway with penalty. I also like being able to mark more areas as "red".

I feel like most of these are common sense that reflect how most of us play anyways. I'm not crazy about a few, such as intentional grounding in a hazard. The OB/lost ball actually addresses a situation that most of us run into and aren't sure how to handle. In non-tournament situations you find your ball actually went OB - how do you handle? Going back to the tee isn't realistic. Okay, drop a ball and take two strokes - where do you drop? If you drop near OB, you are now lying 3 but are probably worse off than if you had hit a provisional but you didn't know you needed to? If you drop a ball and add a stroke, you likely now have an unfair advantage. So I really like the clarity this provides. Funny thing is that the courses I'm playing now have very OB / woods that will use these rules, but in NJ this would have been a nice change.

BTW - When I started playing golf I learned/read and believed that a putt is more likely to go in with the flag out. When putting off the green, I've always taken the flag out for uphill or level putts and left in for downhill, my thinking that the benefits of stopping a too hard putt outweigh the fact that the flag may keep the ball out. Is there a definitive opinion on this?

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by jasonfish11 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:43 am

GBOGEY wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:37 am
Is there a definitive opinion on this?
This is the most definitive research I've seen.

https://www.golf.com/instruction/flag-or-out
Keep it short stupid.

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by GBOGEY » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:44 am

Interesting - is the flag stick rule one that applies to everyone or just amateurs? Interested in seeing what the pros start doing.

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by DougE » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:22 pm

GBOGEY wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:37 am
You didn't allow voting for my favorite new rule which is handling of OB/Lost ball by dropping in fairway with penalty.
Yes, you are right, I did not include this rule.....but I meant to. Somehow I forgot it. It should have been included. I think it's a good way to satisfy the crowd on a busy golf course, instead of having to go back to the tee. Oh well, too late now. BTW, this is an OPTION as a LOCAL RULE. Don't think you will be seeing this in pro tournaments.

I also intended to add another option,"Other", but forgot that one too. Ooops.

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by jasonfish11 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:08 pm

GBOGEY wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:44 am
Interesting - is the flag stick rule one that applies to everyone or just amateurs? Interested in seeing what the pros start doing.
I'm pretty sure it applies to everyone. I also think it will be interesting to see what pro's do. I expect the stats minded guys will leave it in (Bryson comes to mind). The "artists" like Tiger (putting to the painting) and others, I'm not quite sure. Then there will be DJ and 6 tournaments in when someone asks him why he choose to take it out, he'll likely respond "wait, I can leave it in now?"

Also, is it possible the PGA tour implements a local rule not allowing you to leave it in when you are on the green (I don't know if this is even possible).
Keep it short stupid.

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by sjduffers » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:22 pm

Don't forget that the pros (and everyone else) can already leave the flag in when putting and chipping from just off the green, and when they are putting from close, they nearly all take it out, despite the stats saying leave it in. Don't think the pros have the best golf IQ: they don't necessarily (love the made up DJ quote by Mr Fish, by the way)... Then there is Phil taking the flag out (or having it tended) from 100 yards out, cuz he wants to hole it for the win. Riiiight.
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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by DougE » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:46 pm

jasonfish11 wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:08 pm


Also, is it possible the PGA tour implements a local rule not allowing you to leave it in when you are on the green (I don't know if this is even possible).
Though the rule is not technically written to allow for local rules, as, say for instance, the alternative to stroke and distance for lost ball or OB rule is, the PGA or RNA can override any rule the USGA makes if they so choose. eg. There is no such specific rule as "lift clean and place," yet both bodies, as well as the LPGA institute use the "concept" when they feel conditions are extremely wet. As far as I know, it has not been used in the US Open, since that event is run by the USGA and they don't recognize such a rule.

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by legitimatebeef » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:56 pm

I am not opposed to change in and of itself. But these new changes will instantaneously make everyone a better golfer, and that's just silly. It's as if millennialism is beginning to infect all generations now. Don't even attempt to refute what I am saying. You are asleep, of course you cannot see what is actually going on.
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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by jasonfish11 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:12 pm

I agree with you Beef. They keep saying the changes are to make understanding the rules easier, but when you look at it that's not true.

How is it easier to understand dropping from knee height than shoulder height? How is it easier to know you had 2 club lengths to drop a ball compared to this new "drop zone" crap?

These rules aren't easier, they make the game easier. If they made the rules easier I would be ok with it, but they didn't really make the rules easier to follow. They just made the game easier to play, so I'm not too enthused about the outcome.
Keep it short stupid.

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by GBOGEY » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:57 pm

I guess I don't see it changing easiness that much with maybe two exceptions: 1) removing impediments and grounding in hazards could make it easier (however, I doubt if many golfers today charge themselves a penalty if they accidentally ground in a hazard); 2) the dropping ob/lost balls in the fairway could make it harder - my guess is that most golfers, even those who try to keep a good handicap, follow the current rule too well and the clarity of the new rule should make golfers follow it.

Most of the rest IMO are how golfers play anyway, even those who are serious about their game. If you step on your ball while searching for it, do you really take a penalty? As for drops, my guess is that I might get a better lie every 4 or 5 rounds. Maybe I'll save a stroke 50% of the time, meaning that over a 20 round handicap period I might save 2 strokes and if those are in my best 10 rounds get a .2 handicap benefit. Really I don't expect my handicap to benefit or hurt from these rules and my guess is that the USGA thought about this before making any changes. So I think this reflects how people play and if anything it might get more people to be stricter about the rules and that's a good thing.

That said, I think intentionally testing a bunker or hazard should have been sacred and I don't like the idea of leaving the pin in.

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by DougE » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:02 pm

I agree with the part about making the game easier, particularly in some cases. However I disagree that they aren't easier to understand---or at least, will be---once you get more used to them. Some things are different than they were. Yes, you have to learn the new rules, which initially may seem like a lot of work, but it really isn't once you understand why each rule was rewritten. For the most part, I am satisfied with the changes and truly believe they are much simpler to understand.

The new 2019 rule book is also purposely written in a style meant to (hopefully) make the rules, both new and existing, easier to understand. I have perused it and think it is much better than the previous versions I've read. And I have read the rules top to bottom in the past many times. I enjoy the rules actually. Each new rule was instituted to serve a useful purpose, typically to make the existing rule less confusing, but also sometimes to help pace of play.

The new "drop zone" is still measured by 1 or 2 clublengths (depending on a free or penalty drop), just like it always was, except now your driver is the only measuring club you use. Before, there were certain circumstances that dictated which specific clublength was to be used to measure the drop zone, based on the shot you would theoretically be making from that position. And, in the old rules, the ball could roll outside the drop zone, no closer to the hole, up to two clublengths from where it "first struck the course" from the drop. Now you just drop inside the zone you identified by using your longest club (that's not a putter) and the ball has to stay inside the zone when it comes to rest. Period. How hard is that? It's not. It's much easier to understand IMO.

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by DougE » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:08 pm

GBOGEY wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:57 pm
I think intentionally testing a bunker or hazard should have been sacred....
You still can't touch the ground or test the sand in a bunker, but you now can in a designated penalty area (no longer called water hazards).

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by bkuehn1952 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:01 pm

My new approach for "finding" my ball in the rough will be to first evaluate the lie from a distance. If it looks poor, I will need to accidentally walk on top of the ball, say "Oops, I stepped on my ball" and then attempt to get a better lie by dropping from knee height.

Now back to reality. I had not thought too much about whether this made the Rules easier or the Game easier until Beef's comment. He is right that in a number of ways, the changes make the Game easier while maintaining the somewhat complex Rules structure. Let's face it, 2-club lengths possibly was easier to understand and follow than creating a drop area.

The one Rule change that I appreciate is the movement of loose impediments in bunkers. Ordinarily, this is not an issue with the courses I play but there are times (like Autumn) when bunkers are often filled with leaves, dead branches and the like. I don't expect a manicured beach like the PGA Tour but at least let me see the darn ball and not make a strange swing in order to avoid disturbing the leaves during my back swing.
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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by GBOGEY » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:07 pm

So I spent an hour reviewing all of the changes. I'm still not convinced that it changes much in terms of golf easiness. From reviewing the rules I see it as follows:
1. Leaving pin in hole - still not totally convinced that this makes putting easier, but if it does it might save a stroke every couple of rounds.
2. Grounding club in hazard - definitely makes golf easier. Let's say a stroke every 2-4 rounds.
3. Local rule regarding stroke and distance - makes golf easier in terms of stroke and tournament play, but doesn't change much in terms of handicap scores.

So best case these might make me a stroke better every 5 rounds or so. Don't think that changes much. What am I missing?

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by jasonfish11 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:53 am

I agree it won't really have any effect on someone's handicap (at best half a stroke). But some of the rules do nothing but make the game easier.

Leaving the pin in, does this really speed up play? Maybe for a single, but they couldn't post handicap scores anyway, so they can putt flag in now (I do most of the time). Now with groups I expect people to pause and ask "in or out", and occasionally someone will do the opposite of what someone else did. So I don't see it saving time.

The intent of the rule change in this case was to make things easier, either that or the usga and r&a can't do any critical thinking, which is a very valid argument too.
Keep it short stupid.

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by jasonfish11 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:01 am

Think of it this way. If one group in 20 has a guy/girl that is wanting to putt the opposite way of the group we can agree that there is no time savings and it might take them a hair longer to play. Now look at a busy course that sends a group off every 8 min.

That means that there is a 33% chance that in the first hour the course is already back to normal or backed up. After 2 hours of tee times it's now 66% chance that group is in front of you. Once they are in front of you there is essentially no benefits to any group behind them.

Either way I think it's minimal to the length of a 5 hour round but it's easy to see there is absolutely no way this rule speeds up play other than for a single with an empty course who couldn't post scores anyway.
Keep it short stupid.

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by DougE » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:12 am

Another one I didn't include, mostly because it is only a "recommendation" is the 40-second time span in which to hit the ball. I foresee that one getting ugly on a busy golf course. I wouldn't be surprised if guys like Beef start carrying stopwatches and air horns in their bags. I picture him standing on the tee watching :cmon, waiting and timing the guy in the group ahead who has been taking forever over every shot, ultimately slowing his group to a crawl. He's had enough already! That's it, out comes the airhorn. ....38....39...40.....HOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNK! :fk

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by jasonfish11 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:36 am

DougE wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:12 am
Another one I didn't include, mostly because it is only a "recommendation" is the 40-second time span in which to hit the ball. I foresee that one getting ugly on a busy golf course. I wouldn't be surprised if guys like Beef start carrying stopwatches and air horns in their bags. I picture him standing on the tee watching :cmon, waiting and timing the guy in the group ahead who has been taking forever over every shot, ultimately slowing his group to a crawl. He's had enough already! That's it, out comes the airhorn. ....38....39...40.....HOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNK! :fk
Wait was this intended as a suggestion? I really like the idea.

I've played with some people who were complete ass holes. If this "recommendation" were in place before I'd consider yelling "40" at them when ever it took them longer than 39 seconds.
Keep it short stupid.

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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by legitimatebeef » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:40 am

I am definitely going invoke the 40-second recommendation. Now I can be a dick and the USGA backs it up. "Um, excuse me Bob. I notice you've been taking way longer than 40 seconds to hit your shots. Here, I have the USGA rules book here in my bag, let's open it up and read what it has to say about that."
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Re: The New 2019 Rules

Post by legitimatebeef » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:41 am

"I didn't come up with this recommendation. The USGA did. I don't like it anymore than you Bob. But hey if you gotta a problem with it, take it up with them. Not me."
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