The new Rules of Golf take will take effect from 1 January 2019, but before they do, we thought we'd ask our readers what they really wanted to see in the new guide.
Earlier this year The R&A announced some changes to the Rules of Golf, which will be implemented from 1 January 2019. While the majority of the rules remain intact, some significant adjustments have been made around dropping the ball, taking relief and balls lost or out of bounds. The amount of time that you can look for a ball will be reduced to three minutes and the penalty for double striking the ball - accidentally hitting the ball more than once in the course of a stroke - will be removed.
So, in preparation for the new rules, we asked our readers what they would really like to see added or changed in the official guide next year, and here's what you said...
1. Free relief from divots
Hands-down the most voted for 'People's Rule' was being able to take free relief from a divot. After all, why should we be punished for creaming our drive down the fairway, only to find it nestled down in a nasty divot that the person playing in front of us couldn't be bothered to repair?!
2. Free relief from footprints in a bunker
Sticking with the unfairness of having to suffer at the hands of inconsiderate golfers, the second most popular wish-list rule was being able to take free relief from footprints in a bunker. We get it, playing from the sand is hard enough, without having to do it from the mess left behind from someone else's shoe.
3. No penalty for having to drop the ball outside of a bunker
You know that horrible feeling when you think you've hit a good drive then suddenly you find yourself in a hidden fairway bunker - that also happens to be full of water? Well, that feeling is about to get worse. You voted to get rid of the penalty drop altogether when you have to take relief outside of the bunker, but the R&A had other thoughts. In 2019, there'll be a two-shot penalty for doing just that.
4. Penalties for slow play
Wouldn't it be great if rather than getting frustrated with the slow group in front of you, you could get even? We're not saying we want to ruin anyone's monthly medal score, more like the threat of having to buy the drinks in the bar afterwards... This one was our favourite 'People's Rule'.
5. Repairing any damage on the green
Have you ever stood over an important putt and not been able to get the thought out of your head that you're going to miss because of that mark on the green that you can't repair? You'll never have to have that thought again starting next year because from January, you'll be able to repair every single mark, scrape or dent you find on the green - see the new rule changes aren't all bad.
What do you think about the new Rules of Golf? Are there any changes that you'd like to see? Let us know what you think by emailing [email protected]