The R&A - Working for Golf

20 Must Know Rules of Golf Changes for 2019

Read our guide below or download the PDF version.

  1. Drop from knee height (NOT shoulder height)
  2. Measure the area to drop in with the longest club in your bag (except a putter)
  3. Drop in and play from the relief area
  4. When dropping back-on-the-line, your ball cannot be played from nearer the hole than your chosen reference point
  5. Time to search – 3 minutes (NOT 5 minutes)
  6. If you accidentally move your ball when searching for it, replace it without penalty
  7. No penalty for a double hit – it only counts as one stroke
  8. No penalty if your ball hits you or your equipment accidentally after a stroke
  9. No penalty if your ball strikes the flagstick when you have chosen to leave it in the hole
  10. Spike mark and other shoe damage on the putting green can be repaired
  11. Ball accidentally moved on putting green – no penalty and replace
  12. Ball marked, lifted and replaced on putting green is moved by wind to another position –replace ball on the original spot
  13. 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
  14. You can’t take relief from a penalty area unless you are at least 95% certain your ball is in the penalty area
  15. In bunkers you can move loose impediments
  16. 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
  17. 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)
  18. Unplayable ball in bunker – extra option to drop outside the bunker for 2 penalty strokes
  19. You cannot have your caddie or your partner standing behind you once you begin taking your stance
  20. 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