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Five of the 20 Most Important Rule Changes for 2019 (Part 1)
Fore April Newsletter: Golf Rules

Jim Antkiewicz, the Club at Nevillewood's Director of Golf, outlines here with some additional explanation the first five of the 20 most important changes to the rules of golf for 2019. Over the next three months, he will explain the remaining 15 rules and how they pertain to your golf rounds this summer. Some of the rule changes are fairly easy to understand; others are a bit more difficult. This month, he discusses the first five of the new 20 rules. 

1) Search time reduced from five minutes to three minutes. 
Rule #18. Nothing out of the ordinary here. The clock starts when the player arrives at the spot and starts looking for his/her golf ball.

2) Ball moved during search.  Replace with no penalty. Rule #7. Previously, a one shot penalty would incur if the player moved his/her ball during the search.

3) Embedded ball.  Free relief in the "general area." Rule #16. An "embedded ball" is when a player's ball is in its own pitch-mark made as a result of the player's previous stroke and where part of the ball is below the level of the ground.  Previously, a player would only get relief in "closely mowed areas" such as a fairway or the approach.  "General Area" is defined as the area that covers all the course except for four defined areas: 1) the teeing area the player must play from in starting a hole he/she is playing; 2) all penalty areas; 3) all bunkers; and 4) the putting green of the hole being played.  So for 2019, if your ball embeds anywhere on the course except in the four area mentioned above, you are to drop your ball within one club length or where it originally lie, no closer to the hole.  [One of the first things you may notice if you read the 2019 Rules of Golf is that the "Definitions" have been placed at the back of the Rule Book. Up until this year, they were at the beginning of the Rules. So if you are not familiar with any of the terms in the 2019 Rules of Golf, I would suggest you refer to the "Definitions" section first.]      

4) Measuring a drop.  Use the longest club in your bag (except a putter). Definitions section. When measuring a drop, a player is to use his longest club with the exception of his/her putter. Previously, a player could use any club in measuring for a drop.

5) Dropping.  Drop from knee height rather than shoulder height. Rule #14. When taking a drop you are now to drop your ball from knee height. If you forget and drop from shoulder height, no problem, just pick up your ball and drop it correctly, no penalty.

Next month, Jim will review the next five rules.

Read More Articles from the April edition of our newsletter, 
Fore: News from Nevillewood