Changes to the rules of golf
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In an effort to make the game faster and easier to play, the R&A and USGA, with help from the PGA of America, proposed a list of rules changes on Wednesday.

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club and the U.S. Golf Association released a draft of modern rules Wednesday aimed at speeding up the game and simplifying some of the game's more complicated rules. There were five proposed changes that we love and can't wait to start using. Here they are:

5. Proposed Change: 'Maximum Score' Form of Stroke Play

Explanation: A player's score for each hole is capped at a maximum set by the Committee, which may be fixed (such as 6, 8, 10, etc.), related to par (such as two times par or triple bogey), or related to the player’s handicap (such as net double bogey).

A player who does not complete a hole (often referred to informally as "picking up") would not be disqualified, but simply gets the maximum score for the hole.

Why we love it: This is sooo much better than putting an "X" on the scorecard, or having that one playing partner who picks up and always says, "Put me down for a..." Whatever. Now you can put them -- or yourself -- down for a definitive number. This rule would also be a relief for those of us who are adamant about playing every stroke through the hole, even if it adds up to a number in the high teens.

RELATED: Golf unveils a modern set of rules to make game faster, easier to play

4. Proposed Change: Use of Distance-Measuring Devices

Explanation: New Rule 4.3 will allow players to use DMDs to measure distance.

But a Committee may adopt a Local Rule prohibiting such use of DMDs.

Why we love it: Many of us may do this already. But seeing as technology in equipment has come such a long way, why should it only be limited to your golf ball and clubs? Instead of walking off yardages, it's easier and -- usually accurate within a 1/2-yard -- to just go ahead and shoot the distance with a laser. It also eliminates human error (provided you or your caddie are in fact shooting the correct target). This may rub some players the wrong way, as they'll no longer have a caddie to blame for an incorrect yardage.

3. Proposed Change: Unplayable Ball in a Bunker (two-stroke penalty)

Explanation: The player would have an extra option allowing relief outside the bunker using the back-on-a-line procedure, but for a total of two penalty strokes (New Rule 19.3b).

Why we love it: Let's face it -- there's nothing worse than arriving at a bunker only to find your ball embedded in the lip. This new rule -- even while enforcing a two-stroke penalty should you decide to take relief outside the bunker -- will prove to be extremely kind to golfers. Think about it: Yes, it's a two-stroke penalty, but chances are you were going to use at least two strokes to get out of that bunker anyway, right? Why not take the penalty and get a clean lie from whatever yardage you're most comfortable with?

2. Proposed Change: Encouraging Prompt Pace of Play

Explanation: New Rule 5.6 would encourage prompt pace of play by recommending that:

Players should recognize that their pace of play affects others and they should play promptly throughout the round (such as by preparing in advance for each stroke and moving promptly between strokes and in going to the next tee).

A player should make a stroke in no more than 40 seconds (and usually in less time) after the player is able to play without interference or distraction.

Committees should adopt a Pace of Play Policy (rather than only say they may do so).

In addition, new Rule 6.4 would expressly allow playing out of turn in match play by agreement, and for stroke play would affirmatively allow and encourage players to play out of turn in a safe and responsible way to save time or for convenience (also known as "ready golf").

Why we love it: Playing "ready golf" has been an "unwritten rule" for years. Getting it on the books just makes a whole lot of sense.

1. Proposed Change: New Procedure for Dropping a Ball

Explanation: Players would continue to drop a ball when taking relief, but the dropping procedure would be changed in several ways as detailed in Rule 14.3.

How a ball may be dropped is simplified, with no limitations on how the ball must be held or how high it must be dropped from; the only requirement would be that the ball be let go from any height above the ground or any growing thing or other natural or artificial object so that it falls through the air, rather than being set down or placed on these things.

Why we love it: This is as close as you're going to get to being able to place your golf ball without actually placing it. Shoot -- it may even eliminate the need to place a ball after two bad drops.  

What's next: The proposal, which now faces six months of public feedback, reduces the number of rules from 34 to 24. Depending on the six-month public comment period, the proposal would be finalized in 2018 and become effective in 2019.

The new rules of golf are here and there are 5 we can't wait to put into play
February 28, 2017 - 4:48pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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PGA of America
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Players -- like their caddies -- will now be allowed to wear shorts during practice rounds in PGA of America events.

Golfers: start working on those leg tans.

PGA President Paul Levy announced on Tuesday that shorts would be permitted for practice rounds in all PGA of America events going forward, most notably the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, PGA Professional Championship and PGA Championship.

 

The PGA Championship will be the first of the four major championships to allow contestants to wear shorts during practice rounds.

Great move.

The European Tour was at the forefront of this trend when it announced in January 2016 that it would permit shorts for practice rounds.

"Maybe. Why not?" Rory McIlroy said last year after the European Tour adopted the rule, when asked if shorts should also be allowed in competition. "It really depends if guys are comfortable or not. I don't think it takes anything away from the tradition of the game or etiquette or how guys look on the course.

"We're not going to go out in shorts at the British Open if it's 10 degrees (50 degrees F) and raining. But at the same time, if we're playing in a hot country and it's more comfortable for guys to wear shorts, then there's no reason why they shouldn't be able to."

When you consider the traditional August date for the PGA Championship -- right in the dead of summer -- this is a rational decision. Temperatures routinely flirt with the triple digits at any given PGA Championship venue.

It took years before caddies were allowed to wear shorts on the PGA Tour, which always seemed silly.

In a profession that chases the sun, really, what's the harm in a pair of tasteful shorts?

Once considered buttoned up and stuffy, golf has hit the mainstream in recent years and fashion is something that isn't taken lightly -- just ask players like Rickie Fowler, Darren Clarke, Jesper Parnevik and Bryson DeChambeau.

Here in 2017, would the majority of folks be offended by professionals wearing shorts in competition?

I don't think so.

Wearing shorts in competition isn't being considered at this point in time, but perhaps this decision by the PGA of America paves the way for that discussion down the road. 

Why PGA of America allowing shorts at practice rounds makes sense
February 28, 2017 - 2:39pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Justin Thomas
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Playing at 7,800 feet above sea level this week in the WGC-Mexico Championship, expect to see some all-time record long drives.

If you dig the long ball -- and, seriously, how doesn't? -- you're going to want to tune in to this week's WGC-Mexico Championship.

At its highest point, Club de Golf Chapultepec reaches 7,835 feet above sea level. That's record altitude on the PGA Tour.

Ben Everill filed an extensive story for PGATOUR.com on the impact altitude will play in this week's tournament, which included this nugget:

The premise is simple. At higher altitudes, the lower air density creates less lift and drag on the golf ball. This means the ball will fly further. Expect to see some incredible numbers off the tee.

We're already seeing those incredible numbers.

Justin Thomas might be one of the smaller players on Tour in stature, but he's one of the longest off the tee.

He shared this photo of his launch monitor numbers from today on Instagram:

 

It's safe to say at 7500 ft elevation this week in Mexico, the ball will be going FAR

A post shared by Justin Thomas (@justinthomas34) on

Uhhh... 355.9 yards carry and 383.3 total?! Are you kidding me?!

This week could prove to be golf's version of the Home Run Derby. 

Driver distance is going to be off the charts in Mexico this week