Understanding the Proposed Rule Changes

Met Area Golfers,

As most of you are aware, golf’s governing bodies—the USGA and R&A—have proposed some major changes to the Rules of Golf for 2019. These changes are part of the Rules Modernization initiative that intends to bring the Rules up to date to fit the needs of the game today globally.

The USGA has set a two-year timeline for these proposals, with set periods for feedback and evaluation, review and approval, and an announcement when the new Rules are released—all prior to the new Rules actually taking effect on January 1, 2019. We are currently in the period of “feedback and evaluation” and the USGA is encouraging golfers to test out the proposed changes to the Rules and to provide feedback from your experience. None of these proposed changes are authorized for use by a Local Rule and any rounds that are played under these rules are INELIGIBLE to be posted for Handicap purposes.

After the feedback and evaluation period, there is potential for the USGA and R&A to make changes to their current propositions; some may be eliminated, some may stay exactly as they are. There is no way to know what the exact Rules will read in 2019 because we are so early in the process. With this said, we encourage all of you to try the proposed Rules changes at your leisure, but must emphasize that no club should be adopting these Rules for the 2017 season and you may NOT post a score that is played under these proposed Rules.

It is important to note that with all the talk about changes to the Rules of Golf, there is one major change for 2017 that all Committees have the option to adopt: the Local Rule for “A Ball Accidentally Moved on a Putting Green.” This Local Rule will be in effect at all MGA, USGA, and WGA championships and qualifiers in 2017 and is a great first step on the road to Rules Modernization. We encourage all MGA Clubs and Members to adopt this Local Rule.

The next few years will see some major changes in golf and we look forward to being your resource for information.

Chris Gaffney
Director, Championships

Kevin Kline
Director, Member Services

More FAQs regarding the proposed changes to the Rules of Golf are available on the USGA's website.