RULES OF GOLF
Modernised Rules Of Golf
The 2019 edition of the Rules of Golf, effective from 1 January 2019,
whilst preserving golf's essential principles, brings about changes that
are fundamental and far-reaching. Notwithstanding the above, the Rules are
made easier for all golfers to understand and apply.
Here are some of the major fundamental changes in the Rules, which are of
interest to golfers:
Dato Tan Yan Fatt a. PERMISSIBLE ACTIONS
Datin Elaine Kua
1. Accidentally moving ball during search
No penalty unless action exceeded what was reasonable for a fair
2. Ball in motion accidentally hits player, his caddie and equipment
No penalty and ball played as it lies.
3. Repair damage on putting green
May repair almost all damages including spike marks, indentations
caused by any equipment etc except natural imperfections, aeration
holes and natural wear of the hole.
4. Removing loose impediments in bunkers and penalty areas
5. Grounding club in penalty area and touching sand in bunker
No penalty except touching sand in front or behind ball or testing
condition of bunker.
6. Leaving flagstick in the hole
When a ball played from on or off the putting green hits an
unattended flagstick left in hole, there is no penalty and the
ball must be played as it lies.
7. Caddie marking and lifting ball
A caddie may mark lift and replace ball on putting green without any
authorization by player.
RULES OF GOLF
8. Unplayable ball in bunker
Player may take unplayable relief option outside bunker with a 2
9. Ball holed
A ball is treated as holed if any part is below the surface of the
putting green. Player may pick up.
10. Use of distance measuring device
Permitted at all times except prohibited to use it to measure slopes/
gradient or local rule adopted prohibiting its use.
11. Hitting the ball more than once
12. Accidental movement of ball / ball marker on the Putting Green
No penalty but replace ball on its original spot.
13. Ball embedded
A player may take relief without penalty for embedded ball
anywhere in the general area except when embedded in sand in
areas not cut to fairway height.
b. PROHIBITED ACTIONS
1. Replacing damaged club
Not permitted unless damaged by outside influence or natural
forces or by any other person. But player may continue using the
2. Caddie helping to align player
Caddie is not permitted to stand on player’s line of play behind the
ball when player is taking stance.
3. Ball lost / Out of bounds
Player may search for his ball for 3 minutes. He may be penalised
for undue delay if he continues to search after 3 minutes.
4. Lateral relief red penalty area
Elimination of lateral relief on opposite side unless provided by local
RULES OF GOLF
c. HOW TO DROP WHEN TAKING RELIEF
A player may use the original or another ball each time he drops or
places a ball under the Rule. The ball must be dropped from knee
height (refer image 1) and in a relief area (refer image 2). The relief area
is 1 or 2 club lengths from the reference point and the ball must come
to rest in the relief area. A club-length is defined as the length of the
longest club in the bag excluding putter.
Image 1 – Dropping from knee height
Image 2 – Ball must be dropped in and come to rest in relief area
d. RELIEF PROCEDURES
Relief procedures are clearly illustrated by diagrams in the Players’
edition of the Rules handbook, which are freely available at the golf
The central theme of the changes is to speed up play. Players are encouraged
to play ready golf.