R&A changes to the rules of Golf: January 2019

Colleagues
All golfers will be aware that from 01 January 2019 the rules of golf will be changing to a much greater extent than has been the case in the past. In essence the R&A have enacted a number of changes which are primarily designed to quicken the pace of play and others which are designed to remove some of the odd anomalies that have emerged over the years.
Nick has copies of the GOLF rule book in the club house and this is available to all members. I will assume that all members are familiar with the rules of golf and where needed have acquired a copy of the rule book from Nick.
The R&A have very helpfully published a shorthand brief on the most important changes under the title "20 Must Know Rules of Golf 2019". I attach a copy of this one page brief which does what it says on the tin and tells you all you need to know about the rule changes. It also has a link to the R&A website for those who wish to know more and explore further.
There is one further change to the rules where clubs can decide on the appropriate course of action. This concerns balls potentially lost off the tee or in general play. 
Hitherto if you hit your ball in to the rough or potentially OB then you must declare a provisional ball and play a second ball from the original spot-the stroke and distance penalty. This second ball is 3 off the tee or in the case of field shot a one shot penalty (if you lose your second shot you drop a provisional ball and play four from the point of the original shot). These rules have been extant for many years and will continue to apply in ALL COMPETITIVE golf. For PRGC this traditional ruling will apply to all monthly medals and stablefords, all board competitions, winter eclectic and all Inter Club matches. This will apply to all full club and seniors events as appropriate.
In all friendly golf we will apply a new rule. In this case if you find you have indeed hit a shot OB or your ball is lost in general play you can take a drop, two clubs lengths inside the course at the point nearest to where the ball was lost. Players should agree with their playing partners where the nearest point would be. In taking this relief you incur a two shot penalty: thus if you lose your tee shot, you drop two shots and will then be playing 4 from the nearest point to where the original ball was lost. The Committee has agreed that Friendly Golf will include the WAGS and TOFFS, the two formalised midweek friendly playing competitions at the club and all other friendly golf including Visitors and Societies.
Overall this change in rules for friendly golf will improve the speed of play.
That's all there is to it!! I am sure we will get used to the new rules pretty quickly once we are in to the swing of it all. If you have any queries please do get back to me.
Best wishes and a happy golfing New Year to you all.
Barry
Competitions Secretary

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