2017 Rules Changes

Rules Changes for 2017


The USGA has made the following changes to Rule 18-2, 18-3, and 20-1 to address the accidental movement of a ball on a putting green as follows:


When a player’s ball lies on the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball marker is accidentally moved by the player, his partner, his opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment. The moved ball or ball marker must be replaced as provided in Rules 18-2, 18-3, and 20-1. This applies only when the player’s ball or ball marker lies on the putting green and any movement is accidental.


Note: If it is determined that a player’s ball on the putting green moved as a result of wind, water, or some other natural cause such as the effects of gravity, the ball must be played as it lies from its new location. A ball marker moved in such circumstances is replaced.


The USGA and R &A are planning a major overhaul of the Rules of Golf in 2019 to clarify and simplify the Rules. Some of the changes they are considering are:

  • Reduce lost ball search time from 5 to 3 minutes
  • Allow spike mark repairs on greens
  • Allow a drop from any height when taking relief
  • Emphasis on using red stakes for water hazards
  • Eliminate the use of club lengths for taking relief



See the dates and locations for the 2017 Rules Clinics/Seminars