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Rules of Golf for 2019

Spring is upon us and with that comes the bulk of our golf calendar. Our entire Golf Professional staff has been working hard to come up with new ideas to enhance our golf calendar. Our focus has been heavily placed on tee gifts and awards for each event. We are all very excited, and we hope you are anxious to get the season started and support the events. 

To kick off the season we have The Cordillera Cup on March 23-24. Team Hill is looking to defend the title and keep their bragging rights for another year. We are excited to unveil a new Cordillera Cup perpetual trophy that will be displayed in the Men’s Grille and highlights the current year’s champion. Best of luck to both teams!

The Annual Masters One-Day Member-Guest event will be on April 12. I’m making a slight change this year from years past — I would like each team to be comprised of either one Member with three Guests or two Members with two Guests. We have some incredible tee gifts for this event and the trophies are very cool. The format will remain the same — two best balls of four plus each team picks two Masters participants and adds their score to their total. We have some other great ideas that are going to make this event special; you are going to have to play to see! 

El Compadre will be at the end of April, starting with an afternoon shotgun on April 26, followed by a mid-morning shotgun on April 27. One common theme I heard regarding this event was the format and the need for something different. We have decided to change the format to the following: 6 holes scramble, 6 holes shamble and 6 holes modified alternate shot. This event will be flighted as in previous years. The winner of each flight will participate in a shootout which will be played on holes 16, 17 and 18. The shootout will be a cumulative score over the three holes — scramble on 16, shamble on 17 and modified alternate shot on 18.

As most of you know, the USGA and R&A have modified the rules of golf starting in 2019. We held two rules seminars in January to review these changes. I would like to highlight some of the changes that took effect January 1, 2019. In total there were 31 Rule Changes. I have detailed nine rules and how they changed from 2018 to 2019. I believe these highlighted rules come in to play most frequently.

Happy Golfing!

Daren Johnson, PGA
Daren Johnson is the Director of Golf at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at djohnson@cordilleraranch.com or 813.468.7444.

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Rules of Golf for 2019

Time for Search Before Ball is Lost

Old Rule – Player had 5 minutes to search for a “lost” ball.

New Rule – Player now has 3 minutes to search for a “lost” ball.

Touching Line of Play on Putting Green

Old Rule – When a player’s ball is on the putting green, the player is generally prohibited from touching his/her line of putt. There was a two-stroke penalty for touching line of putt or tapping down spike marks.

New Rule – The prohibition of touching the line of play on the putting green will be eliminated. There will no longer be a penalty for touching the line of play on the putting green. 

Ball Played from Green Hits Unattended Flagstick in Hole

Old Rule – If a player made stroke while on green and the ball hit the unattended flagstick, the player received a two-stroke penalty.

New Rule – There is NO longer a penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits a flagstick in the hole.

Procedure for Dropping and Playing a Ball from a Relief Area

Old Rule – Player must drop the ball while standing erect and holding the ball at shoulder height and arm’s length. The ball must first strike the course in a specified place and must not strike any person or equipment before coming to rest. 

New Rule – Player must drop the ball from knee height and the ball must not touch any part of the players body or equipment before touching the ground. Ball must be dropped in and remain in the “Relief Area.”

Ball in Motion Accidentally Deflected

Old Rule – If a ball in motion accidentally hits the player or his/her equipment or caddie, the player gets a one-stroke penalty and ball is played as it lies. If a ball hits an opponent or his/her equipment or caddie there is no penalty and player has the choice to play ball as it lies or cancel stroke and play again.

New Rule – For all accidental deflections, including when the ball hits the player or opponent or their equipment or caddies, there will be NO penalty and the ball will be played as it lies.

Concept of “Penalty Areas” to Supersede “Water Hazards”

Old Rule – Rule 26-1 allows relief with penalty when a ball is in a “water hazard” (marked yellow) or a “lateral water hazard” (marked red). These hazards are limited to areas with water or where water may flow.

New Rule – “Water Hazards” will be superseded by the expanded concept of “penalty areas,” and Rule 17 will provide the same options for relief that exists under current rules. A “penalty area” will include (1) all areas currently defined in the Rules as a “water hazard” or “lateral hazard” and (2) any areas the Committee chooses to define as “penalty areas.”

Ball Moved During Search

Old Rule – If a player moves his/her ball while searching, the player generally gets a one-stroke penalty. 

New Rule – If a player accidentally moves his/her ball while searching, there is NO penalty for causing the ball to move. Ball will always be replaced in the estimated original spot. 

Touching Loose Impediments or Ground in a Penalty Area

Old Rule – When a player’s ball is in a water hazard, a player must not test the condition of the water hazard, touch the water or the ground with hand or club, or move loose impediments that are in the water hazard.

New Rule – There will no longer be any special restrictions when a ball is in a “penalty area.” A player will be allowed to touch or move loose impediments and touch the ground with hand or club. 

Ball Accidently Struck Multiple Times During Stroke

Old Rule – If a player accidentally strikes his/her ball two or more times when making a single stroke, the player receives a one-stroke penalty in addition to the stroke that was made and the ball is played as it lies.

New Rule – If a player’s club accidentally hits the ball more than once during a single stroke, there will be NO penalty and the ball will be played as it lies.

The Rules can be intimidating and the changes were meant to make it easier and more consistent. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact the Professional Staff.