Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and are now looking forward to what the 2019 golfing season is going to bring us.
I wonder how many of you have the same, and completely unoriginal New Year’s resolutions as me; go to the gym more and to play more golf!
One of the biggest changes in the golfing world for 2019 is the introduction of the updated R&A rules commencing from 1st January. Now I love the rules of golf, mainly because understanding the rules allows you to use them to your advantage and in turn, enjoy the game more. For those that have seen the updated rules, you will notice that most of the changes are aimed at improving the pace of play as that is one of the greatest factors for current poor uptake of new golfers, the time required to play. It’s now recommended that a player take no longer than 40 seconds to play their shot and ‘Ready Golf’ is actively encouraged.
For those that haven’t seen the rules updates, here are my 20 most relevant updates for you to understand the rule changes and how they affect you:
- When dropping the ball, the longest club in your bag must be used to measure your dropping area, except the putter
- Drop the ball from knee height, not shoulder height
- You only have 3 minutes to search for a lost ball
- You now get free relief from an embedded ball anywhere through the course, except hazards
- If you accidently move your ball while searching for it, you can now replace it without penalty
- No penalty for a ‘Double hit’
- No penalty if your ball accidently strikes you or your equipment after your stroke
- No penalty if ball accidently moved on the green (e.g. during practice stroke etc.) and replaced to original position
- If you mark, lift and replace your ball on the green and it is then moved by forces such as the wind, the ball is replaced to its original spot with no penalty
- You can now repair spike marks on the green and line of putt
- You can leave the flagstick in while putting, and no penalty for striking the flagstick
- If the ball is in the hole, but held up by the flag, aslong as any part of the ball is below the level of the lip it is classed as being holed (previously you take to take the flag out and allow the ball the settle at the bottom of the hole to class as being holed)
- Not permitted to lay clubs on the floor to use as alignment aids
- Not permitted the use of caddies to assist with alignment
- If your ball comes to rest on the wrong green, free relief must be taken where ball and stance are off the green (previously only ball had to be off the green and your stance could be on the green)
- ‘Penalty Areas’ now replace the term water hazards and don’t have to contain water (e.g. waste areas etc.) and are called Red and Yellow Penalty Areas
- You can now take practice swings and ground your club in Penalty Areas
- You can remove loose impediments in Penalty Areas and bunkers
- Touching the sand in a bunker incidentally is now permitted. You can rest on your club while waiting or smooth the sand in the bunker as long as it is not directly behind or in front of the ball, or the line of play or deemed to be testing the sand
- You can now drop your ball behind of the bunker if the ball is unplayable for a 2 stroke penalty
There is a rule for hitting you're ball out of bounds that some may have heard of. If your ball goes out of bounds, you may take a drop in the vicinity of where the ball was lost under a 2 stroke penalty, saving the player hitting a provisional ball. This is a local rule only so please check with your Club Professional if this rule will be implemented at your club!
December was a busy month for golf at Rockliffe Hall, especially towards the end over the Christmas holiday thanks to the favourable weather we are still enjoying. We hosted our inaugural Christmas Team Competition sponsored by J Lindeberg and Douglas Laing Whiskey which was a huge success! 100 players (25 teams) played in the shotgun Texas Scramble competition with everyone on thoroughly enjoying the day, so much so it has given us food for through to host multiple events for Christmas 2019 as the competition entry was full weeks before the date.
The winter sprinter is still going strong and again, thanks to the weather, we have had no cancellations or date changes. With 3 more dated for the series in January (3rd, 16th & 31st) and the last scheduled for February 13th, make sure not to miss out on the perfect chance for some winter golf.
We also have our popular Open Pairs competitions happening on Sunday 27th January and 3rd March, at £60 per pair it’s the perfect way to fulfil the New Year’s resolution of playing more golf!! Or if you’re looking further ahead, all our Open Competitions for 2019 are now available on the Rockliffe Hall website for you to put in your diary.
Until next time, keep golfing!