Summary of Rules Changes as of 2019
1. SEARCH TIME: When searching for your ball you now have 3 minutes instead of 5 minutes.
2. BALL MOVEMENT DURING SEARCH: There is no penalty if a player accidentally moves their ball while searching for it. Just replace it from where it was moved. If moved from the deep grass or a bad lie, it must be replaced in the deep grass or to the bad lie.
3. CLUB LENGTH DEFINED: When taking relief, you may use the longest club in your bag, except your putter.
4. DROPPING THE BALL DURING RELIEF: When dropping a ball for relief, you now drop the ball from knee high instead of from shoulder height.
5. EMBEDDED BALL RULE: Now you can take relief from an embedded ball in the general areas including the semi-rough and rough areas. This does NOT apply to embedded balls in the sand bunkers.
6. DOUBLE HITS OR BALL HITS A PLAYER OR EQUIPMENT: There is no penalty if the ball deflects off you or your equipment. So if during a players stroke, the ball is struck twice, the ball is played as it lies with no penalty.
7. TOUCHING THE SAND IN THE BUNKER AND LOOSE IMPEDIMENTS: In the sand bunker, players may move loose impediments. Also there is no penalty if you accidentally touch the sand with your hand or club. No grounding of the club is allowed prior to hitting the ball.
8. UNPLAYABLE BALL IN THE BUNKER: There is a new unplayable relief from the sand bunker. With a 2 stroke penalty, players can now take relief outside the bunker on a line between the ball and flag.
9. PENALTY AREAS: Water hazards are now known as penalty areas. You can now ground your club, move loose impediments and take practice swings hitting the ground in the penalty area without penalty.
10. REPAIRING DAMAGE ON THE GREEN: You can now repair most damages to the putting green such as spike marks, ball marks, indentations from flag sticks or club, damages from animals and from old hole plugs. You cannot repair aeration holes or the natural wear of the hole.
11. HITTING THE FLAGSTICK: There is no penalty if your ball played from the putting green hits the unattended flagstick that is in the hole.
12. BALL HOLED: With the flagstick in the hole, if any part of the ball is below the lip, it is considered holed.
13. SUBSTITUTING YOUR BALL: When taking relief with or without a penalty, you may substitute your ball.
14. DROP OPTION DROPPED: Water hazards marked with red stakes or red lines are now called penalty areas. It is no longer allowed to drop on the opposite side of the penalty area.
Rules for Spectators