Home' Australian Golf Digest : July 2017 Contents 94 australiangolfdigest.com.au | june 2017
wind moved it, or there was no clear reason.
Currently: the ball is played from its new
location unless you or an outside agency
moved it. Then it would be replaced.
You can repair almost any damage on the
putting green, including spike marks and
animal damage. You cannot repair natural
imperfections. Currently: you can only
repair ball marks or old hole plugs.
As long as you don’t improve the
conditions for your stroke, you can
touch the line of putt to indicate a target.
Currently: touching the line comes with a
penalty of loss of hole in matchplay or two
shots in strokeplay.
You can leave an unattended flagstick
in the cup when your ball is on the putting
green, and there is no penalty if your ball
strikes it. Currently: you lose the hole in
matchplay or incur a two-shot penalty in
strokeplay if you strike the flagstick with a
stroke from the putting green.
BALL IN MOTION
If your ball accidentally strikes you, your
caddie, your opponent or any equipment,
there is no penalty. Play it as it lies. But you
can’t deliberately try to carom a shot off
your equipment. Currently: accidentally
hitting yourself, your caddie, the person
attending a flagstick on the green – or
an attended or removed flagstick when
making a stroke from the putting green
– results in a one- or two-stroke penalty
depending on the circumstances.
The term “water hazard” is being changed
to “penalty area” and will consist of red-
and yellow-marked areas. This could
include additional areas that don’t contain
water, such as desert, jungle and lava rock.
If your ball ends up in one of these areas, a
one-stroke penalty is applied if you take
relief. Currently: relief is allowed only
from a water hazard (marked yellow) or a
lateral water hazard (marked red).
You can move loose impediments in
penalty areas, touch the ground with your
hand or club, or ground your club without
penalty. Currently: if you did any of the
preceding, it’s a loss of hole (matchplay)
or a two-shot penalty (strokeplay).
Committees are allowed to mark all
penalty areas as red so that lateral relief
is always allowed. However, they can
mark a penalty area yellow (no lateral
relief) when they believe it’s appropriate.
Currently: all water hazards have to be
marked yellow unless it’s impossible or
unreasonable for you to drop behind the
hazard. Then it can be marked red.
You can’t drop on the opposite side from
where the ball last entered a penalty area
marked red. Currently: you can take relief
on the opposite side of a lateral water hazard
from where your ball last entered it.
You can touch and move a loose impediment
in a bunker when your ball is in that bunker.
Currently: penalty for doing so is loss of hole
(matchplay) or two shots (strokeplay).
You can touch the sand with your hand
or club as long as you’re not testing the
conditions of the bunker, you’re not placing
the club right in front of or behind the ball,
and you’re not making a practice swing or
backswing. Currently: with some exceptions,
such as accidentally falling when entering
the bunker, touching the sand with a hand
or club results in loss of hole (matchplay) or a
two-shot penalty (strokeplay).
You can take a two-stroke penalty to
obtain relief outside a bunker on a line from
the hole through where the ball was at rest
in the sand. Currently: the only penalty
relief you can take outside a bunker is to
play from where your last stroke was made.
BALL AT REST
You are considered to have caused your
ball to move only if it is virtually certain
(at least 95 percent likely) that you were
the cause. Currently: you are considered to
have caused your ball to move if it is more
likely than not (50.1 percent) that you were
No matter where you are on the course,
there is no penalty if you accidentally move
your ball while searching for it. Just replace
it. Currently: there is a one-stroke penalty
for accidentally moving it.
If your ball is lying off the putting green
when it moves, and its original spot isn’t
known, just replace it on the estimated
spot. An example: if your ball was buried
in matted-down grass, replace it in the
estimated spot, buried in matted-down
grass. Currently: you would drop when
you’re not sure of the location.
The only requirements when taking a
drop are to hold the ball above the ground
without it touching any object and ensure it
falls through the air before coming to rest.
Height is not a requirement. Currently: you
must stand and hold the ball at shoulder
height, with your arm extended, before
When a ball must be dropped, it has to be
in a defined relief area. Currently: you are
sometimes allowed to drop on or as near as
possible to a spot or a line. The proposed
change would give you 20 inches on either
side of a line, and 20 or 80 inches around a
spot depending on the type of drop.
A dropped ball must come to rest in the
You could drop behind the bunker
from this lie – with penalty
the proposed rule changes.
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