The process to modernize the Rules began in 2012 and was initiated to ensure that the Rules are easier to understand and apply for all golfers and to make the game more attractive and accessible for newcomers.
While the majority of proposed Rules remain intact in the final version, several important changes to the initial proposals and further clarification of many Rules were incorporated. The most significant adjustments made following a review of the feedback received from golfers around the world include:
- Dropping procedure: When taking relief (from an abnormal course condition or penalty area, for example), golfers will now drop from knee height. This will ensure consistency and simplicity in the dropping process while also preserving the randomness of the drop. (Key change: the proposed Rules released in 2017 suggested dropping from any height).
- Measuring in taking relief: The golfer’s relief area will be measured by using the longest club in his/her bag (other than a putter) to measure one club-length or two club-lengths, depending on the situation, providing a consistent process for golfers to establish his/her relief area. (Key change: the proposed Rules released in 2017 suggested a 20-inch or 80-inch standard measurement).
- Removing the penalty for a double hit: The penalty stroke for accidentally striking the ball more than once in the course of a stroke has been removed. Golfers will simply count the one stroke they made to strike the ball. (Key change: the proposed Rules released in 2017 retained the existing one-stroke penalty).