The golfing 'powers-that-be' have been making real efforts to reinvigorate the game; aiming to boost its appeal to a wider audience in an attempt to reverse the declining trend in participation.
Well, this month the rulebook has been given a thorough once over. And, for the first time in what's probably forever, the number of rules surrounding golf has actually gone down! From 34 to 24 to be precise.
The new proposal now faces 6 months of public scrutiny, but here's a summary of some of the suggested revisions:
- No more penalties on the accidental moving of a ball.
- The ball can now be dropped from only an inch above the ground, rather than shoulder height as it has been.
- Set fixed distances for a drop zone rather than basing it on club lengths.
- You'll have 3 minutes rather than 5 to search for a lost ball.
- The flagstick can remain in when putting on the green.
- Players will be allowed to repair spike marks and damage on the greens.
- Distance measuring devices will be allowed.
- Caddies will no longer be allowed to line up a player's shot as they prepare to hit.
- 40 second limit on taking a shot.
- When playing strokeplay, "ready-golf" (hitting when you are ready) will be encouraged over waiting.
These rule changes will certainly simplify things for beginner golfers, making the game more approachable. They'll also serve a purpose in speeding up the pace of play.
For us, these changes are very welcome. It's great to see the rule makers taking steps to refresh the sport and proactively shaping the game to bolster its appeal.
What do you think? Is this a step in the right direction? Or a step backward?