The U.S. Golf Association and the R&A have made changes to the Rules of Golf that will take effect Jan. 1, and there’s plenty to consider. These changes are part of the ruling bodies’ efforts to modernize the game, eliminate several unusual rules that could lead to head-scratching penalties and even possibly speed up play.
In all, the rule book was consolidated from 34 to 24 rules, but each of these has sub-rules. There’s a lot to consider. Some of these changes might require a change in thinking on the part of players, and competitive players in particular should grab a copy of the new rules or familiarize themselves with all the changes online.
That said, there are several basic rules changes that are likely to come into play on Day 1, even for casual golfers. Check out these 15 topic areas addressing rules that could pop up in a New Year’s Day round of golf. (The changes mentioned are in no way intended to replace reading the new Rules of Golf or to cover every change.)
We’ll start at the green.