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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 232
T HE wheels are turning again at the R&A and USGA rules office. You can almost hear them, groaning and straining under load after lying under a tarp in a shed, gathering dust for such extended periods of time. Why the sudden flurry of activity? Some long-awaited and much-needed rules changes are in the offing, with golf’s custodians offering up a raft of changes that are set to make rules easier to understand and apply for both the pros and everyday Joes. At the top of the list are proposed changes to certain penalties, including the removal of penalties for accidentally moving your ball while searching for it, and the scrapping of rules that force players to have the flagstick attended or removed while putting. And then there are the new proposed rules that are an early Christmas present for the huge proportion of golfers who are fed up with 18-hole rounds taking close to (or longer than) five hours. New suggested regulations will limit the amount of time that the duck-hooking hack three groups in front of you can spend searching for their ball to just three minutes. It would also recommend players take no more than 40 seconds to play their ball once they reach it, and will actively encourage the concept of ‘ready golf’. The irony, of course, is that while it’s been almost universally acknowledged that the rule changes are much-needed and probably a little belated, we now have to wait almost two years before we can use them if they are in fact accepted. Why?! Other sports and leagues (yes, AFL , we’re looking at you), change their rules about every 25 minutes, and yet as golfers we’re forced to wait until 2019 for a bunch of changes that
GA Express 231
GA Express 233