MODERNIZING GOLF'S RULES
Proposed Change: Fixed Distances (Not Club-Lengths) to be Used for Measuring March 1, 2017


Modernizing Golf's Rules: Major Proposed Changes


Proposed Rule: Club-lengths would no longer be used to measure for any purpose:

The relief area for dropping a ball would have a fixed size: 20 inches (50.8 centimeters) replaces one club-length, and 80 inches (2.03 meters) replaces two club-lengths.

A re-drop would only be required when a ball comes to rest outside the relief area and therefore how many club-lengths a dropped ball rolls would no longer matter when determining if a re-drop is required.

The teeing area of any hole would have a fixed depth of 80 inches.

Reasons for Change:

The smaller relief area (and not permitting any ball to roll outside that relief area) would usually mean that the player will play from closer to the ball’s original spot and the nearest point of relief than where the player may play from today.

Using a fixed distance for measuring would eliminate a number of issues, such as:

  • The inconsistency and potential unfairness of having the size of a relief area differ for each player based on the length of his or her clubs (including eliminating the advantage for players who currently can use a long putter for measuring).
  • The confusion about when a player may use two different clubs in taking relief (under current Rules, a player may use one club to find the nearest point of relief, and another club to measure, but must use only a single club for measuring the area for dropping and the distance a dropped ball has rolled).


A player would no longer be able to make strategic choices about the size of the relief areas by choosing a shorter club or longer club for measuring.

Using a fixed measure would be a simple process, with 20 inch and 40 inch markings on the shaft of clubs likely to be the primary tool used by players for measuring.

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