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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 232
almost all would agree could be implemented almost immediately. It’s not like the R&A and USGA don’t have form. Golfing rule changes almost always take an eternity, and in many cases are watered down by allowances that extend the life of the old rules for years and years beyond their cutover date. The most recent example, of course, is the ban on anchored putting. First announced in May 2013, it wasn’t until January last year that sport’s slowest-moving wave finally crashed onto the shore, ending the use of anchored putters forever. Did anchored putter users need two-and-a-half years to sort out their new equipment and technique? Surely six months – starting 2014 under the new regulations – would have been plenty. Then there was the 2010 ruling on wedge grooves, which was aimed at winding back the size and shape of the grooves many club manufacturers were employing on their wedges, which were allowing better players to impart crazy amounts of spin on the ball, even from the rough. Having made the ruling that manufacturers must revert back to an older V-shaped groove design, it wasn’t until January 2011 that clubmakers had to stop manufacturing and shipping products with the deeper grooves. Retailers were still able to sell them, though, provided they’d been shipped to them before January 2011. It wasn’t until a whole three years later that the USGA and R&A actually stopped the larger grooves from being used in their championship events, and it won’t be until 2024 that all golfers will have to get rid of their non-confirming wedges if they want to record scores for club competitions and handicaps. So, just a lazy 14 years from go to woe for that one. Clearly there are cost considerations for golfers when it comes to equipment rule changes, however the latest batch of proposed changes are essentially play-based only, and it makes little sense that regulations deemed important enough to change for the health of the game lie unused until they’re officially introduced in 21 months’ time. A couple of months to advertise the changes and require golfers to learn the new rules should be plenty, and then let’s get this show on the road. E PROPOSED RULE CHANGE HIGHLIGHTS • NO PENALTIES FOR ACCIDENTAL BALL DEFLECTIONS. • NO PENALTY IF A PLAYER ACCIDENTALLY MOVES THEIR BALL WHILE SEARCHING FOR IT. • NO PENALTY IF PUTTED BALL HITS UNATTENDED FLAGSTICK IN THE HOLE. PLAYERS CAN NOW PUTT WITH UNATTENDED FLAG IN THE HOLE. • CADDIES TO BE ABLE TO MARK A BALL FOR A PLAYER ON THE PUTTING GREEN. • NO PENALTY IF A PLAYER OR OPPONENT ACCIDENTALLY CAUSES A BALL TO MOVE ON THE PUTTING GREEN. • BALL SEARCH TIMES TO BE REDUCED FROM A MAXIMUM OF FIVE MINUTES TO THREE MINUTES.
GA Express 231
GA Express 233