Changes to Golf Rules this Year
Not unexpectedly, the number one new 2019 golf league rules have to with the adoption of the US golf associations rule changes, which took place on January 1st of this year.
Rule changes include:
- The golf flagstick no longer has to be attended, and there are no penalties incurred if a golfer hits the ball into the hole while the flagstick is standing.
- Golfers are now permitted to repair spike marks on putting greens prior to putting,
- You are permitted to touch your line of play on the green providing you do nothing to improve it.
- You are now allowed only three minutes, instead of the previous five to find a lost ball.
- Golfers in the bunker are allowed to touch the sand to test their conditions.
- If you have to drop a ball, you now do so from knee height rather than shoulder height.
- Golfers shall play quickly, with a recommended 40-seconds established to play your stroke.
- Golfers can take a penalty stroke rather than play again over certain hazards such as water.
- No penalty occurs for accidentally striking your golf bag or your caddy post stroke.
- If you accidentally move your ball while searching for it, you can replace it where it was, and incur no penalty.
- The penalty for a double hit is removed. Golfers simply count the one stroke they made to hit the ball.
- To speed up play, players may drop a ball in the vicinity of where it was lost or went out of bounds.
All in all, the USGA changed 20 total rules this year, all designed to encourage more seamless play when on the golf course.
New 2019 Golf League Rules
Leagues, often played after working hours, are adopting similar changes to encourage swift play. Rules to speed up the game or enhance the league include:
- Maximum scoring. Generally, leagues limit players attempts on each hole to a double bogey plus one.
- Limits on the application of handicaps.
- The allowance or disallowance of measuring devices.
- The presence or absence of team members.
- The allowance of substitute golfers.
- The appointed hours of official play are set and rarely flexible.
- Dues are due prior to the league start date in most cases.
- The addition of new players should not be added after league start date unless approved by manager.
- Turning in officially signed scorecards which can now be done with ease electronically in real-time with select golf league management software.
- Assigning match play opponents.
- Assigning points for various golf milestones such as closest to the pin or points per hole.
Managing your Golf League
As described, managing your golf league is not without its challenges. Most golf leagues, particularly those with a hundred or more members purchase league tracking equipment, which enables a secretary or other official to keep track of the reams of data such as handicaps for all league members, the tracking of points, skins, requests for substitutes, communicate with players, print scorecards and allow the communication of announcements.
Most golf tracking software is hosted over the cloud so that the head of the league doesn’t need not install any software on his or her computer, and all members need is a username and password to access results.
Running a golf league is not without its challenges and frustrations. But with the right software, the intricate tracking of a league can be made easy and fairly painless.