The USGA has established a new local golf lost ball rule in 2019 to increase the speed of play. While this rule won’t be used in professional or amateur tournaments, it can be applied to your daily rounds at courses like Hazeltine National Golf Club.
Chandler Withington, Head Golf Professional at Hazeltine, explains how this rule works on Hole 15:
Why the New Change?
The USGA created this rule so that the pace of play on regular, daily rounds of golf would speed up. Before this rule, an out of bounds or lost shot would require the player to take a provisional as far back as the tee box, which slows down the game for everyone on the course. With this new rule, you’re allowed to take your provisional only a few steps from where it landed (or you think it landed).
Step 1: Defining Where to Take Relief From
Whether your ball is lost or just out of bounds, it’s important that you estimate how far you are from the cup. (If your ball is lost, use the spot you believe your ball came to rest as a reference point).
You can’t drop your ball closer to the cup than it already is, but you can move your ball anywhere in the relief area, meaning all the way to the fairway parallel to where your ball landed out of bounds, or where you think it might have landed.
Step 2: Picking your New Position
You may drop your ball anywhere between or behind where your ball came to rest out of bounds (or where you believe it came to rest, if you lost it) and within two club-lengths inside of the fairway.
As you walk to drop your ball, make sure that you’re not moving anywhere closer to the pin than you already are. Chandler suggests walking in an arc away from the pin as you approach the location you’ve chosen to drop.
Step 3: Dropping the Ball
Once you’ve picked your spot, it’s time to drop the ball. Remember, the new USGA rules indicate that you no longer drop the ball from shoulder height. Rather, you may drop the ball from knee height to reduce the risk of poor ball placement.
Step 4: Adding Up Your Score
Regardless of whether you choose to take relief, you must take a 2-stroke penalty. For example, if your drive went out of bounds, that is your first shot. Now, add two strokes for your penalty and your next shot after your new placement will be your fourth shot.
If you’d prefer the old-fashioned way and would rather take a provisional shot at the tee box, you still can! However, the new USGA rule was created to speed up the pace of play for everyone on the course during daily play.
If you have any questions about the new USGA rules or golfing at Hazeltine, come visit us at our golf shop or contact us online!
Topics: Golf Tips