As of 2019, numerous changes have been made to the golf rules. The goal of the rule revision is to make the game faster and easier. Numerous rules have been deleted or simplified and the catalogue of rules now consists of only 24 rules. With this summary we give you a short overview of what is new and what you need to pay attention to. At the end of the article you will find an informative video with the most important rule changes in 2019.
Novelty 1: Search time
The search time for a ball is increased from five to three minutes shortened. The recommendation is made that each stroke should not last more than 40 seconds, and also the stroke is encouraged out of order (Ready Golf).
Innovation 2: Identify ball
You no longer have to announce that you want to pick up your ball for identification. However, you must mark the layer and not clean it.
Novelty 3: Moving the ball
Accidental moving of your ball in the search is unpunished. The ball must be returned to its original position.
Innovation 4: Change of the ball position
If the ball moves elsewhere than on the green, you will only get a penalty shot if you can really be held directly responsible for the change in the position of the ball. In the case of self-culpability the ball must be put back, if "forces of nature" were at work, is played from the new place.
Innovation 5: Caddie in the line
Caddie or Partner must not stand behind the player as soon as he begins to take the stand.
Innovation 6: Orientation
A player may no longer lay down a club to indicate his line of play, neither before nor during the stroke - i.e. also not for alignment.
Innovation 7: Playing line
Player or Caddie be allowed touch the playing line on the green - even with the flag stick.
Innovation 8: Clean and mark the ball
The caddie may mark, pick up and clean the ball on the green - even without the explicit consent of the player. Not the same person has to put the ball back.
Innovation 9: Bunker
If the ball lies in the bunker, loosely obstructed natural substances may be moved with impunity. The sand must not be touched with the club in front of or behind the ball (during a practice swing or back swing). But the player should lean on the bat while waiting.
Innovation 10: Repair spike marks
In addition to pitch marks, you may repair spike marks and other damage caused by shoes on the green. Damage caused by animals or care work may also be repaired. The playing line must not be improved beyond repairing the damage.
Innovation 11: Ball moves on green
If your ball moves on the green after it has been marked, picked up and put back for any reason - including its own or wind, for example - it must be returned to its original location with impunity.
Accidentally moving the ball or ball marker on the green is unpunished and both are simply returned to the original location.
Innovation 12: Flag during putting
It's unpunishedto hit the flag stick - even when putting from inside the green. If the ball doesn't go in the hole, play it as it lies.
Novelty 13: Ball of a strange player
If a foreign player's ball is accidentally picked up, it may simply be returned. If the exact location is no longer known, it may be estimated.
Innovation 14: Dropping
The ball must be from knee height dropped straight down (do not throw, roll, rotate and it must not hit you before it hits the ground).
If you are entitled to relief (dropping with impunity or with a penalty shot), you may change your ball in the future and continue to play another ball.
The ball must come to rest when dropping in a defined relief area ("club lengths"). Otherwise put the ball where it hit the ground at the second drop.
The longest club, except the putter, always counts as the club length for the dimensioning of a relief area.
Innovation 15: Drop zone
From 2019, the term Penalty Area will be used for areas marked in red or yellow (water hazards, forest, desert, canyons and others). There you may remove any loose natural substances that may be a hindrance, place the club on the ground and make test swings while touching the ground or water. The same rules apply as when playing on the fairway or rough.
If you wish to take advantage of relief in a Penalty Area, you may go as far back as you like on the flag line and intersection point to the Penalty Area, measure or estimate a relief area with a club length and drop.
Innovation 16: Unplayable in the bunker
If you think the ball in the bunker is unplayable, you have an additional option that lets you drop back on the line with two penalty shots outside the bunker. When measuring or estimating the relief area along a line, one racket length applies, as opposed to the two racket lengths measured from the original position of the ball.
Innovation 17: Ball out
If your ball is lost or out of play, the golf club may issue a course rule from 2019, which does not require you to play with stroke and distance loss (i.e. "go back"). Then you may estimate the position of the lost ball or the ball in the out and its distance from the hole, define a relief area with two club lengths on the fairway at the same distance from the hole at the nearest fairway edge and drop as far back as you like somewhere in this corridor and not closer to the flag with two penalty shots. However, the course rule cannot be applied if your ball is lost in a penalty area or you have played a provisional ball. If such a course rule is even enacted, it should be carefully considered and applied for "social golf" or EDS rounds rather than for more sporting tournaments.
Video with the 20 most important rule innovations