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Significant changes have been announced this week to the rules of golf.

Whittlebury Park PGA Professional Richard Cartwright gives his views on the proposed rule changes.

Will the game of golf benefit from the recently announced changes? Or is golf’s governing bodies just playing around in an attempt to make golf more appealing? Whittlebury Park Golf Club PGA Professional Richard Cartwright suggests the changes are driving the game in the right direction.

Proposed Rule Changes:

    Remove penalties for involuntary ball movement.

    Relaxation of penalty drop protocols such as dropping the ball from only an inch above the ground, rather than shoulder height.

    Use fixed distances (20 or 80 inches) rather than club lengths to measure areas where a ball should be dropped.

    Reduce lost ball time from five to three minutes.

    Allow putting on the green with the flagstick left in the hole.

    Allow players to repair spike marks and animal damage on greens.

    Automatically allow the use of distance measuring devices.

    Ban caddies from lining up players as they prepare to hit.

    Recommend no player takes more than 40 seconds to hit a shot.

    Encourage players in strokeplay to implement “ready golf” rather than waiting until it is their turn to play.

    Empower committees to set a maximum score for a hole (such as double par or triple bogey) to allow a player to pick up and move to the next hole.

Richard commented, “Great to see the R&A taking a modern way of looking at what is sometimes an archaic rules system.“ Richard added, “The time pressures of modern life are well documented. Be it for business or pleasure 4 hours is a significant portion of your day. The increase in demand we’ve witnessed at Whittlebury Park Golf Course is at odds with the overall trend in golf. The benefit of Whittlebury Park’s 36-holes segmented into three 9-hole championship courses and a 9-hole academy course. But even with this in mind we welcome any proposals to speed up the game such as changing allocated time for searching for lost balls from 5 minutes to 3 minutes, allowing the flag to remain in the hole while on the green putting and implementing a 40 second limit on shots. All great ways of speeding up play!”

Could this be the boost that golf needs to generate more participation and raise enjoyment levels?

No doubt all will be revealed in time, but we certainly hope so, how about you?

Get into the swing of things for this summer and book lessons with Richard.