Worried your knowledge of the rules is a bit rusty? Here’s how to stay up to date with the rules of golf.

If you’re struggling to keep up with the rules of golf, you’re not alone (trust me). After having a baby and just generally not playing as much as I used to, my understanding of the rules is rusty to say the least.

But baby brain aside, I think I can be excused. There have been a lot of changes in the world of golf over the past few years, and the rules have been no exception.

So if you’re looking for a quick refresh, here’s what you need to know.

What’s changed?

The rules of golf were refreshed in 2019 to make the sport faster, fairer and simpler. The key changes included:

  • Being allowed to putt with the flag in
  • Lost ball search time reduced from five minutes to three
  • Drops to be taken from knee height rather than shoulder height
  • A recommendation that no stroke should take longer than 40 seconds

Then at the start of 2023, there were five key changes to the rules:

  • Modifications for players with disabilities can no longer be treated as local rules. They are now official rules and in effect for all players with disabilities covered in the guidelines.
  • There’s no penalty if you don’t write your handicap on your scorecard.
  • You can now replace a club that has been damaged –inadvertently – during a round.
  • You must put your ball back to its original position if, after you’ve dropped, placed or replaced it, it moves to another part of the course or out of bounds by natural forces.
  • Hit your ball into a penalty area? When you take back-on-the-line relief, your dropped ball must simply come to rest within one club length – even if that is closer to the hole.

Golf rule hacks: How to keep up to date

The easiest way to stay up to date with the rules? Download the Rules of Golf app.

As well as being a quick way to find rulings when you’re out on the course, the app’s Learn section is a great way to stay up to date with any new or modified rules. You’ll also find handy diagrams and videos to make understanding the rules easier.   

And if you want to test your knowledge or just have a quick brush up, why not try one of our golf rules quizzes? Watch this space for more quizzes coming soon!

Need more rules support? Read our guide to everything you need to know about golf’s winter rules and preferred lies.