So there was a lot of golf news that came out yesterday. Phil splits with Barclay’s. The PGA of America said that players can wear shorts in practice rounds for the PGA Championship, and then the small news about all of the rules changes proposed by the USGA and R&A.

Okay that was not small news. It is news that is going to impact every golfer out there. There are some of the changes that we really think make a lot of sense and should have happened a long time ago.

Being able to tap down a spike mark is amazing. Just because there was someone out there in front of you who doesn’t know how to walk with spikes on isn’t your fault and you shouldn’t be penalized by that.

All of us have left the flag stick in when we have putted out and someone in our group has jokingly added 2 strokes to our score. Now that will be legal to do. This is a great move for pace of play so that it keeps moving.

If you accidentally move your ball or ball marker on the putting green there is no penalty.  This is great but really in non-tournament golf this isn’t a big deal.  

You can now touch the line of your putt to indicate the line that you want it to be on.  Okay so most of us don’t use a caddy.  But if your playing your buddies in a match and your partner uses the flag stick or putter or finger and touches the line its no penalty.  This used to be a 2 stroke penalty.  This is an okay change no really impact here.

They are getting rid of the term “water hazard” and calling all areas penalty areas.  This will expand the areas to desert areas and lava rocks.  They are just simplifying this.

In the penalty areas you can now ground your club, touch the ground and remove loose impediments.  Can someone remind us why then this is a penalty area?  If you can do that then whats the penalty for hitting it in there?

They are marking all water hazards as red stake but giving tournament committees the authority to mark them as yellow should they deem it necessary.  This move is a complete pace of play move and a great one.  

You can’t take a drop now on the opposite side of a red staked water hazard from where it entered any more.  Okay so lets be real, the only players who ever did this played on TV!  There isn’t one of us out there playing with our buddies who is going to do this.

You can now touch and move loose impediments in a bunker with no penalty.  We should all be screaming from the rafters on this one.  Now if you hit it in a bunker and there is a small rock, pine cone or anything else in the bunker that you need to move out of the way you can move it!  This is great for everyone as long as you are not in the group ahead of The Golfing Dads and your taking ten minutes to remove everything from the bunker!

You can now take a 2 stroke penalty to remove a ball from a bunker but you need to keep it on line from the spot with the hole.  This is good if you have to take a unplayable in a bunker if your ball is buried under the lip of the bunker and now you can take it out of the bunker!  Great for pace of play.

Now its time for the Dustin Johnson rule.  In the old rules there just had to be 51% chance that you caused a ball to move to be penalized.  Now it is 95% certain that you caused it to move.  What this is saying is you need to have touched the ball and moved it, not soled your putter next to the ball on greens that are faster than the cars at Daytona and harder than our 2 year old’s heads.  The USGA is finally admitting they screwed up in assessing Dustin the penalty at the US Open and this is their way to correct it.  

If you are looking for your golf ball and move it there is now no penalty for accidentally moving it while looking.  You just need to replace it.  This rule isn’t used a lot but it makes things more simple for all of us and more enjoyable.

If your ball is off the putting green and it is deemed to move you can now put it back where you think it was.  So if your playing and a bird moved your ball you can put it back…Okay this is common sense.

If you strike a shot and the ball hits anything and then hits you there is no penalty.  First off this is just embarrassing and really just a dumb rule that they finally fixed.

The next rule we like and don’t like.  Under the current rules you had to drop the ball from shoulder height when taking a drop.  Now all the ball has to do is fall through the air at some point.  Essentially saying that you could drop the ball from an inch off the ground.  This will allow players to get a better lie and control the bounce when taking a drop.  We don’t see the PGA Tour adopting this rule as it is almost like placing a ball in a certain lie that you are trying to get.  For us we like this rule because it will help us get better lies when we have to take a drop.

Now a ball must come to rest in the drop area or you need to re-drop it.  So they have deemed the drop area 80 inches not two club lengths.  No big difference here.

You now have three minutes to look for a lost ball not five.  Shoot we think 90 seconds would be fine for pace of play but this is a good change.

Now if you are taking relief you can substitute a ball at that point.  We don’t think that there will be a lot of people taking advantage of this rule, unless your trying to get under someones skin in match play.

You can now take relief for an embedded ball anywhere except in a bunker.  This allows for free relief in a hazard (okay we don’t agree with that) and in the rough (finally).

A player can’t be second guessed after taking a drop with video review as long as they have used reasonable judgement.  So were the governing bodies upset with the guys on their couch who have never played golf before but know the rules calling in rules violations to courses on tour?  We think so.

Range finders and GPS’ are now legal for tournament golf.  So we do think that range finders tend to take time for players to use, but it makes it quicker than pacing off stuff and doing math.  Lets be realistic on this.  The Tour will never allow this so a local rule will be implement every week.  Interested to see if the USGA and R&A allow this in their perspective Opens.

You can now use a damaged club during a round.  If you damage it because you break it on accident or you break it by going Bo Jackson over your knee you can keep using it.  We don’t know about you but how many people are going to use a broken club.

You are now given the opportunity to check you golf ball for any reason without letting you opponent know.  We don’t see the Tour agreeing with this rule either.

Now for the rule that Brittany Lincicome is not pleased with.  A caddy will no longer be allowed to line up a player from behind.  This is very much common place on the LPGA tour.  Now a player has 40 seconds to hit a ball.  If it doesn’t exceed that there is no issue.  It just seems like it takes so much longer when the caddy is behind them lining them up.  At the end of the day the rest of us have no problem aligning ourselves when we play.  Figure it out.

A caddy can now lift, clean and place your golf ball on the green with our your direction.  Lets hope he doesn’t use a cracker and a homeless guy decides to eat it (if you haven’t seen it watch Happy Gilmore).  Pace of play rule.

In stroke play, a new rule is set for either triple bogey or double par.  Great for pace of play in recreational rounds.

There is now an encouragement to play ready golf, not the honors system, to keep play moving.  Unless your are a golf purest this is what most of us do on the course.  This is great for pace of play.  

The tournament committees can now set lesser penalties for breaches of etiquette not just disqualification.  YAY the committees now can use judgement.  

You have to declare you are playing a provisional before you hit it but you can declare it during the three minutes you are looking for a ball, not before you leave the tee box.  Really?  Who is going to do this?

You can now listen to music, watch sports or anything else for entertainment on the course during your round. You can’t do it if it keeps you in rhythm for your swing.  So The Golfing Dads are safe, except for our contributing editor Mel.  He loves him some Uptown Funk and always pulls off a good shot when its on cause he gets to dancing to it and in the rhythm of it.  

Dads Say So that there are some great changes here for pace of play and simplifying the rules for everyone to understand.  There are some here that are trying to make it more fun on the course as well.  There are a couple here that are confusing as they don’t really fit with the other rules but they are understandable.  There have been questions about bifurcation of the rules (two sets of rules, one for professionals and one for amateurs) and at the end of the day there may be a couple of these that have local rules put in at the professional level nullifying them. When its all said and done they are great to help speed up play and make the game more fun.  Last but not least, we will still let Mel listen to “The Funk.”


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