Just in case you are not familiar with the changes to the rules of Golf made in 2019, listed below are some of the one you can use to your advantage plus a full list of all the changes.
One of the biggest changes to the rules in 2019 was is that you can now ground your club in penalty areas and make rehearsal swings that touch the ground. You can’t do anything to improve your lie, but you can get a better feel for how to play your next shot.
You can remove loose impediments in all penalty areas so you’re allowed to clear away any of those stones that might cause damage your club when playing your recovery shot. Be careful though because if your ball moves when you are removing a loose impediment, you will gain a penalty shot.
Before 2019, if your ball plugged in grass that wasn’t cut to fairway height or lower, you either play the shot or deem it unplayable and take a penalty shot. The good news now is that you can get free relief for an embedded ball in the rough so if you’re playing throughout the winter, this rule will come in handy.
If you are searching for your ball under leaves, there is no penalty if you move your ball whilst searching for it. If you do, you simply replace it and there’s no penalty if removing the leaves by the ball results in better conditions for your next shot. This includes a ball resting in a penalty area.
If you are new to golf and find yourself in a particularly bad spot in a bunker, you don’t have to play it. You can drop your ball outside of a bunker as far back as you like keeping the spot where your ball was laying between you and the hole. This option comes with a two-stroke penalty but if you are just starting out then it may save you a few shots.
CHANGES TO THE RULES OF GOLF IN 2019
1. Drop from knee height (NOT shoulder height)
2. Measure the area to drop in with the longest club in your bag (except a putter)
3. Drop in and play from the relief area
4. When dropping back-on-the-line, your ball cannot be played from nearer the hole
5. Time to search - 3 minutes (NOT 5 minutes)
6. If you accidentally move your ball when searching for it, replace it without penalty
7. No penalty for a double hit - it only counts as one stroke
8. No penalty if your ball hits you or your equipment accidentally after a stroke
9. No penalty if your ball strikes the flagstick when you have chosen to leave it in the hole
10.Spike mark and other shoe damage on the putting green can be repaired
11.Ball accidentally moved on putting green - no penalty and replace
12.Ball marked, lifted and replaced on putting green that is moved by wind can be replaced
13.Penalty areas replace water hazards, and you can move loose impediments, ground your club and take practice swings in penalty areas without penalty, just as you can on the fairway or in the rough
14.You can take relief from a penalty area if you are at least 95% certain your ball is in the penalty area
15.In bunkers you can move loose impediments
16.Free relief is allowed if your ball is embedded on the fairway or in the rough
17.Unplayable ball in bunker - extra option to drop outside the bunker for 2 penalty strokes
18.You cannot have your caddie or your partner standing behind you once you begin taking your stance
19. Take no longer than 40 seconds to make a stroke and Ready Golf is encouraged