2019 Golf Rule Changes for the Mayfield Golf Society membership to implement, note and ratify for the coming season

The ones that will affect you and me as MGS Golf Society members are as follows and on which we would like to gain agreement to the following recommendations at the Christmas AGM to adopt local rules 3, 8 & 12 below: -

  • Reason for Change: All about speeding up the game with less time waiting as players trudge up and down the tree-line searching for a ball
  • MGS View: Despite Captain elect Kelvin and Mr. Weaver having palpitations as they only have 40 secs to size up each shot including calculating the ∆V value, were the resistance value R read on the ohmmeter can be used to calculate the resistivity by applying the following simplified formula: ρ = 2 π a R Where ρ is the resistivity in Ω.m to the flag/hole. Then double checking via three telescopes and rechecking the weather forecast – how can that be done in under 15 mins a shot? That said this is about speeding the game up, so it gets the thumbs up from the MGS and will be adopted at all MGS events.


  • Reason for change: Where a double hit occurs as part of a single stroke and was not the intention of the player, it was felt unfair and unnecessary for the player to be penalized. Just as there is no penalty if a player’s ball accidentally deflects off his or her body or equipment, there is no need for a penalty when a player accidentally strikes his or her own ball in making a stroke.
  • MGS View: - Mr Mann sponsored this change as someone who is prone to the odd double hit around the green saying this will save him at least 1 stroke per round so this should be introduced immediately from Jan 2019.


  • Reason for change: Maximum Score will be an alternative form of play that addresses slow play, by allowing a player to “pick up” when he or she scores at or above the maximum and capping the player’s score for any hole at the maximum.
  • MGS View: - As we tend to play stableford this is not that relevant but would apply to our odd strokeplay event. Tips the Hon Treasurer who has to take his shoes and socks off to count above 10 suggests a maximum score of 5 over par should be used by the society in strokeplay competitions so a “pick up” on a par 3 would be recorded as an 8 and on a par 5 as a 10 would the membership be agreeable to this! NB: Technically this would mean that a person with two shots on a hole would not get a point for picking up – hope that makes sense!!


  • Reason for change: The new procedure lowers the height from which the ball is dropped to increase the chance that it stays within the relief area. This will also will help prevent balls from embedding in the sand.
  • MGS View: - Although knee height for Messrs Ablitt and Watkiss is far closer to the ground than for Messrs Bigley, Hawkins and Bond maybe gaining a slight advantage this will be adopted by the MGS in full from January 2019.


  • Reason for change: Because putting greens are specially prepared for playing the ball along the ground, the rules allow the player to do things on the green that are not allowed anywhere else.
  • MGS View: - Messrs Coppard, Goulding, Layen and Bennett are furious and want to know what they are now going to blame for all those missed putts?! That said MGS will adopt this rule from January 2019
  • NB: However, you still CANNOT ground your club when playing a BUNKER shot (you can elsewhere in the bunker!)


  • Reason for change: The challenge is to play out of a bunker, not to negotiate leaves, stones or other loose impediments left in place in the bunker. Additionally, grounding your club in a hazard marked with red or yellow stakes gives no real advantage – the challenge itself of getting your ball back in to play is difficult enough.
  • MGS View: Like this is really going to help Mr Butler, Mr Collingwood or Hon Sec Howroyd to get the ball back in play from the middle of a stream or lake!! MGS will adopt this rule from 1 January 2019


  • Reason for change: Allowing a player to putt with the flagstick in the hole without fear of penalty should generally help speed up play.
  • MGS View: - Mr Buck who currently has the flagged tendered from 9 inches for a putt fully supports this change. A good thing for Messrs Cudmore and Gallifant who usually run their putts 20 feet past the hole – the flagstick might slow down the odd straight one!!


  • Reason for change: It is designed to try and speed up play when a player would normally be required to go back to the tee or play a provisional under stroke and distance. It won’t apply to professional and elite level competitions.
  • MGS View: Makes sense for the MGS Society to adopt this rule but would like to gain the membership agreement as a local rule. This will help with the likes of Messrs Valentine, Bigley and Hillman hitting a drive 250y to see it enter the rough by an inch or two – never to be found again thus saving them a 500yd roundtrip back to the tee to hit another one


  • Reason for Change: It is terribly unfair to be penalised for accidentally stepping on, and moving, your ball say while looking for it. However, the key word is accidentally and your MGS playing group will decide if it was accidental or not.
  • MGS View: With Mr Gorringe, Mr Browning and Mr Bishop trampling around in the rough like a small heard of elephants accidentally stepping on your ball from time to time is hardly surprising. The MGS Society will adopt this rule from January 2019.


  • Reason for Change: Nobody should be expected to play a ball from within its plug-mark unless you find yourself in sand. However, see below for clarity on where and when you can and cannot take relief: -
  • Rule 25-2 allows you to lift, clean and drop a ball embedded in its own pitchmark on any “closely mown area” of the course. “Closely mown” includes not only the fairways and the fringes or aprons of the greens, but also any paths cut through the rough to fairway height or less. Contrary to what some golfers believe, there is no automatic relief from a ball embedded in the rough.
  • MGS View: The Phil Milchesonesk players such as Messrs Williams, Hughes and Day will be pleased that as they play the impossible flop shot to towards the green that just drops short of the green on the fairway and plugs in a damp patch can be lifted and dropped without penalty. MGS will adopt this common-sense rule from 1 January.


  • Reason For Change: Again, a time saving proposal. Members can of course still ask their playing partners if they are happy with a point taken for a drop – but the emphasis is placed on the player to do their very best to understand the rules and make the right decision.
  • MGS View: Makes sense for the player’s to be trusted to and not break the rules. As a courtesy letting your partners know why you lifted your ball or why you dropped it where you did will never hurt.


  • Reason For Change: In short to speed up play so hopefully a fourball can comfortably play 18 holes in under four hours
  • MGS View: We will adopt this for the new season – the only worry is our speed merchants such as Ken Wapling, Tony Batchelder, Sandi Hoolahan whom hit the ball straight down the middle might lap other members of the society during a round - no names mentioned (Kelvin)
    Check out the full list of USGA’s modernized rules here