GOLF'S NEW RULES
Major Change: Substitution of a Ball Always Allowed When Taking Relief March 12, 2018


Golf's New Rules: Major Changes


2019 Rule: Under Rule 14.3, when taking relief, the player will always be allowed the choice to substitute a ball or to use the original ball, including:

  • When taking penalty relief as well as when taking free relief (Rules 15-19).

 

Reasons for Change:

The requirement to use the original ball in some relief situations but not others is confusing, hard to remember and leads to unnecessary penalties. Taking a consistent approach that always allows a player taking relief the choice to substitute a ball or use the original ball is much simpler.  

There is no need for a different procedure based on whether the player is taking relief with penalty or without penalty.

This will also draw a clearer and more intuitive line between when substitution is allowed in returning a ball to play and when the original ball must be returned to play:

  • Substitution will be allowed only when a player is taking relief under any Rule – that is, when the player is required or allowed to play the next stroke from somewhere other than where the original ball came to rest.
  • Substitution will not be allowed when a ball was lifted or moved, and the Rules require it to be replaced on its original spot – in that case, the original ball must still be used (unless it cannot be recovered with reasonable effort and in a few seconds).