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USGA Rules       Safety      
      The United States Golf Association Rules for 2019 are 162 pages long so this is a link directly to them. If you are looking for a particular rule while on the golf course it might be more of a challenge but if you use the 'find' option you should be able to find what you want to look up by a key word.

Here is a list of the 20 Must Know Rules of Golf Changes for 2019
Please read them
  1. Drop from knee height (NOT shoulder height)
  2. Measure the area to drop in with the longest club in your bag (except a putter)
  3. Drop in and play from the relief area
  4. When dropping back-on-the-line, your ball cannot be played from nearer the hole than your chosen reference point
  5. Time to search - 3 minutes (NOT 5 minutes)
  6. If you accidentally move your ball when searching for it, replace it without penalty
  7. No penalty for a double hit - it only counts as one stroke
  8. No penalty if your ball hits you or your equipment accidentally after a stroke
  9. No penalty if your ball strikes the flagstick when you have chosen to leave it in the hole
  10. Spike mark and other shoe damage on the putting green can be repaired
  11. Ball accidentally moved on putting green - no penalty and replace
  12. Ball marked, lifted and replaced on putting green is moved by wind to another position -replace ball on the original spot
  13. Penalty areas replace water hazards, and you can move loose impediments, ground your club and take practice swings in penalty areas without penalty, just as you can on the fairway or in the rough
  14. You can't take relief from a penalty area unless you are at least 95% certain your ball is in the penalty area
  15. In bunkers you can move loose impediments
  16. In bunkers you cannot touch the sand with your club in the area right in front of or right behind your ball, during your backswing or in taking practice swings
  17. Free relief is allowed if your ball is embedded on the fairway or in the rough (but "embedded" means that part of your ball is below the level of the ground)
  18. Unplayable ball in bunker - extra option to drop outside the bunker for 2 penalty strokes
  19. You cannot have your caddie or your partner standing behind you once you begin taking your stance
  20. Pace of Play - it is recommended that you take no longer than 40 seconds to make a stroke (and usually you should be able to play more quickly than that) and Ready Golf in stroke play is encouraged

For a video and more information go to

      When you play a sport or any game you need to be familiar with the rules that you are playing by. Golf unfortunately has, in my opinion, too many rules. This being said, you should have a basic understanding of the rules and etiquette of golf before you step on to the first tee. Even when you are playing a practice round you shouldn't stray far from the rules. You may bend them a little bit, but try to stay close to the actual rules.
      Please understand that the USGA rules change a bit every year; so make sure you look up the new changes each year. This year, 2019 is really important, as there are more new rule changes than any time in the past; and mostly for the better. The reason they made these changes is to try to speed up the average player's game.
      You should purchase USGA rule book at any pro-shop or order one and then you can highlight situations that you run in to. If you prefer just put a link to the above official USGA rules website and you can just save it to your favorites on your phone while you are playing a round of golf. I keep the rule book in your bag, so when in doubt I can pull it out to refer the rule in question. This stops arguments with your buddies before they cause ill feelings.
      When In doubt about a rule or its interpretation during a match, the best way to handle this is to play two shots, one from where you think is right and the other from your opponent's opinion. When you get to the pro-shop, ask the Pro which ruling was correct. In addition to the rules there are hundreds of explanations how to intermit them, since many of the rules are confusing. Remember, in my first posting, I asked you if you are playing Golf or going golfing, If you play Golf, play by the rules the best you can otherwise just enjoy the outdoors; don't stress; and have a good time!

The rules tell you how to handle each predicament you find yourself in. But it is best to just avoid these areas altogether. Safety Remember to look at the scorecard each and every time just in case there are local rules for the golf course you are playing. Sometimes they don't want you to go tramping thru their flowers and landscaping. Sometimes they are protecting you from gopher holes and rattle snakes. Rattlesnake

Stay on the golf path.

Steel Canyon, Jamul, CA

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