New Golf Rules 2019

The beloved game of golf has been played since the Middle Ages but golf rules and regulations are always evolving. If you play the game seriously, it’s important to know about the changes, but even if you just play for fun at nearby golf courses, it’s interesting to see what’s different. Check out the new golf rules 2019 introduced.

Play by Golf Rules and Regulations this Year

While many golf rules and regulations are still in play, there are some changes regarding the ball at rest and in motion, taking relief, areas of the course, equipment and more. Here’s a snapshot of what’s up on the course.

Ball at Rest

  • No penalties for the following:
    –     Accidentally moving your ball during search
  • Moving ball on the putting green
  • Accidentally moving your ball or ball-marker on putting green
  • New standard for why the ball has moved
  • A player, opponent or outside influence is deemed to have caused the ball to move if it is known or virtually certain that’s the case, otherwise it’s blamed on natural forces
  • When the original location of your ball isn’t known, you may now replace it on its estimated spot

Ball in Motion

  • No penalty if your ball in motion is accidentally deflected by you, your caddie or equipment

Taking Relief

  • Your relief area for dropping a ball is a fixed size of either one or two club-lengths using the longest club in your bag, other than your putter.
  • Unlike previous rules and regulations for dropping a ball, now, you must let your ball go from knee height and fall through the air without touching any part of your body or equipment
  • Your ball must come to rest in the relief area where it was dropped or it must be redropped
  • A fixed distance of the longest club in your bag, other than your putter, is used for measuring.
  • Your ball is now considered lost if not found in three minutes (previously five minutes).
  • Substitution of ball always allowed when taking relief
  • Relief is allowed without penalty for an embedded ball anywhere (except in sand) in the “general area” (a new term for “through the green”)
  • In taking lateral relief, drop within two club-lengths of where your ball entered the penalty area.
  • You can take back-on-the-line relief from either a red or yellow penalty area.

Areas of the Course

  • After you’ve lifted and replaced your ball, always replace it on its original spot even if it was blown by the wind or moved for no reason
  • Repair of nearly any damage is allowed on the putting green
  • No penalty for touching your line of play on the putting green as long as it doesn’t improve conditions for your stroke.
  • No penalty if your ball played from the putting green (or anywhere else) hits the unattended flagstick in the hole
  • Areas of jungle, desert, lava rock and water may now be marked as red or yellow “penalty areas”
  • No penalty for touching ground, moving loose impediments, or grounding your club in a penalty area
  • With expanded use of red-marked penalty areas, lateral relief is always allowed
  • Relief from a red penalty area is no longer allowed on the opposite side from where the ball last entered the penalty area
  • Relaxed rules relating to touching the ground and moving loose impediments in a bunker
  • For two penalty strokes, relief is allowed outside a bunker for an unplayable ball


  • A club damaged during a round can continue to be used, even if caused by anger
  • You cannot replace a damaged club during a round if you were responsible for the damage
  • Use of distance-measuring devices is allowed unless a local rule has been adopted prohibiting their use

Playing a Ball

  • Caddies can’t stand on a line behind you while you take your stance and until you make your stroke
  • Caddies may lift and replace your ball on the putting green without your specific authorization

When to Play During a Round

  • Prompt pace of play or “ready golf,” encourages each stroke to take no more than 40 seconds
  • A new “maximum score” form of stroke play now caps your hole at a max score

Player Behavior

  • New consolidated expected standards of player conduct require players to play in the spirit of the game by acting with integrity, showing consideration to others and taking good care of the course. Committee has authority to disqualify a player for any serious misconduct (a stronger phrase which replaced “breach of etiquette” from prior golf rules and regulations)
  • Committees have authority to adopt their own code of player conduct and set penalties for breaches of that code
  • The requirement to announce the player’s intent to lift a ball has been eliminated (when you have good reason to mark and lift your ball)
  • A player’s reasonable judgment will not be second-guessed based on later evidence

New Local Rule

  • An alternative to stroke and distance relief for a ball that is lost outside a penalty area or out of bounds allows a Committee to provide an extra relief option so a player can play on without returning to the location of the previous stroke

All these new golf rules for 2019 may seem overwhelming, but if you can be sure regular players at your nearby golf courses will remind you of them!