GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Every four years, world golf officials make changes to the official Rules of Golf, but this year, the proposed changes are getting some controversial reactions.
In total, 30 rule adjustments have been proposed by the United States Golf Association and the R&A. Golf officials have said the changes are designed to modernize and simplify the game. Here are a few of the proposals:
- If a player accidentally moves their ball while searching for it, (currently 1-stroke penalty) it will no longer cost the player a stroke.
- If a ball hits a player’s caddy or hits a flagstick while removed or attended, this will no longer be a penalty.
- Currently, a player has five minutes to find a lost ball. The new rule reduces that to three minutes (nothing more frustrating).
- A player can putt with the flagstick in the hole.
- If a player can’t get out of the bunker, or doesn’t want to even try, he or she can take the ball out and drop it behind the bunker along the path of that previous shot in exchange for a two-stroke penalty.
“I would prefer the flag be out,” said Perry Jacobson, and amateur golfer. “I’m a traditionalist absolutely. I think there should be some adjustments, but I don’t like some of the extremes that are being proposed.”
Dan Fowler, another amateur golfer thinks some of the proposed changes could be beneficial to the weekend warriors.
“I could hit it six times and not get out (of the bunker). So that one is good. I’ll take the two strokes,” said Fowler.
Tom Malowney seemed fine to some of the changes, but one—the bunker rule.
“If your playing partners want to do it fine, but as far as high school tournaments and stuff like that, no. You got to hit it out of the bunker,” said Malowney.
The USGA will listen to feedback regarding the changes through August and will finalize the rules after that. The official changes won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2019.