The USGA’s revisions to the 2019 Rules of Golf boils down to 20 big changes.
Since the goal of these rule changes is to make golf more simple, it only makes sense to learn these new rules in a simple way.
And what’s the most simple way to learn 20 new rules changes? To go over them one at a time, from the most basic new rule to the most complex new rule.
Northeast Ohio Golf will post one new 2019 Rules change every weekday in January until we cover all 20. Sound like a plan? Then let’s get started with the easiest of the batch.
Rules Change #20: Putting and the Flagstick
Starting in 2019, players may now choose to either remove the flagstick from the hole while putting from the green, or leave it in. If the flagstick is left in, it is no longer a penalty if a putt from the green hits that flagstick.
Easy peasy. But:
– Know that you can’t try to lean the flagstick any certain direction within the hole to gain an advantage. The flagstick should always be made to stand as straight as possible if you touch it.
– You must decide if you want the flagstick in or out before you make a play. If you ask someone tend the flagstick, the flagstick must be pulled from the hole after the stroke is made so the ball does not hit it. And a partner or caddie can’t jam the flagstick back into the hole if it looks like you’ve crushed that delicate downhill 25-footer. Both no-nos earn a penalty.
NEW SUGGESTED FLAGSTICK ETIQUETTE: do not ask each player if he or she wants the flagstick in or out. Just leave it in until someone clearly says “Take it out.” Otherwise it’s the same question six times on every hole, hole after hole…