Rules, Rules, Rules!

A hearty “Welcome Back”! to all returning Niakwa Members and a hearty “Welcome to Niakwa”! to all new members.

2019 promises to be an interesting year for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the rule changes, which became effective January 1, 2019.

The USGA and the Royal and Ancient did considerable research and testing into a new set of rules, which are designed to make the game simpler, to speed up play and to make certain aspects of the game less onerous for all players. The new rules are simpler, but as we’ve seen among PGA Tour players, there will be some uncertainty early in the season.


Learning the new rules may take some time for most of us. One long time Member of the Club has suggested, however, that the guys he plays with don’t know the old rules anyway – so they’ll be starting with a clean slate when he teaches them the 2019 rules. The old dogs didn’t know any old tricks so the new tricks should be a breeze.

It seems that even the simplest rule change can be misinterpreted.  One of the local courses where I play in the winter has a Friday afternoon skins game. Along with some of the other snowbirds from our condo complex I was lucky enough to be invited along a few times. One Friday in early January we were playing with a certain regular who hit her ball into a penalty area and had to take a drop. After she dropped the ball from shoulder height it was pointed out that newly adopted rule required that the ball be dropped from the knees. She promptly dropped to her knees and redropped, again from shoulder height, but kneeling on the grass.

In order to avoid similar gaffes (and the cruel, impolitic witticisms that your playing partners will inflict on you) I encourage all Members to avail themselves of the numerous resources that are available for education on the rule changes.

On May 8 from 7:30 PM  – 9:00 PM the Club will be hosting a Rules Seminar to be presented by the rules experts from Golf Manitoba.

The USGA website has some excellent resources which explain the rule changes and the rationale behind them. Start here and drill down->

For the United Empire Loyalists and Monarchists among us, the Royal and Ancient website is equally good. The best place to start is here -> Once you studied up, try the quizzes available here->

Golf Canada has made several resources to Members. Publications which can be purchased through the Golf Canada website include: the “Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf” – an abridged pocket sized version of the rules; the “Full Rules of Golf” – the whole enchilada; and “The Official Guide to the Rules of Golf” which replaces the “Decisions” book and includes rule interpretations.

You can also download “The Rules of Golf” App for iOS and for Android from the Golf Canada website.

The Course is going to be in great shape early in the season. Hopefully your game will be too. A good understanding of the 2019 rule changes will enhance every player’s golf experience.

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