Summary Rule Changes from 1st January 2019

Thursday, 27th December, 2018

Drop from knee height (NOT shoulder height)
Measure the area to drop in with the longest club in your bag (except a putter)
Drop in and play from the relief area
When dropping back-on-the-line, your ball cannot be played from nearer the hole than your chosen reference point
Time to search – 3 minutes (NOT 5 minutes)
If you accidentally move your ball when searching for it, replace it without penalty
No penalty for a double hit – it only counts as one stroke
No penalty if your ball hits you or your equipment accidentally after a stroke
No penalty if your ball strikes the flagstick when you have chosen to leave it in the hole
Spike mark and other shoe damage on the putting green can be repaired
Ball accidentally moved on putting green – no penalty and replace
Ball marked, lifted and replaced on putting green is moved by wind to another position –replace ball on the original spot
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
You can’t take relief from a penalty area unless you are at least 95% certain your ball is in the penalty area
In bunkers you can move loose impediments
In bunkers you cannot touch the sand with your club in the area right in front of or right behind your ball, during your backswing or in taking practice swings
Free relief is allowed if your ball is embedded on the fairway or in the rough (but “embedded” means that part of your ball is below the level of the ground)
Unplayable ball in bunker – extra option to drop outside the bunker for 2 penalty strokes
You cannot have your caddie or your partner standing behind you once you begin taking your stance
Pace of Play - it is recommended that you take no longer than 40 seconds to make a stroke (and usually you should be able to play more quickly than that) and Ready Golf in stroke play is encouraged