Everyone who plays golf is affected to some degree by the official Rules of Golf.
Tour players live or die by the rules and will call penalties on themselves to their own detriment. Instead of arguing with officials even when they know the official is right (as is so common in other professional sports), professional golfers police themselves.
But what about amateurs?
I’ve played with groups of players at different clubs who play by some pretty lax interpretation of the rules. For example, if you hit a ball into the tall fescue, play it as if you had hit your ball in a hazard. If you land in a divot in the fairway, just nudge it out and give yourself a decent lie. If it’s ‘within the leather’, it’s a gimme. I played with one group where the gimme’s were getting so long that the group organizers put a piece of black electrical tape on each player’s putter to establish what was ‘within the leather’.
Some groups essentially play ‘winter rules’ or lift clean and place throughout the season. The justification used is that tour pros who play on perfectly manicured courses would never be put in a postion where they would have to play off the lies that we mere mortals routinely encounter. Then there is ‘Mr. I’ve never encountered a lie that can’t be improved’. I’ve played with golfers who almost on every shot lift the ball to ostensibly ‘identify’ it. Invariably, once replaced, the ball which had formerly been buried deep in the rough is now perched on a nice clump of grass with the back of the ball cleanly exposed.
So, for a lot of amateurs, unless you play competitive golf, the rules as they exist are not really that restrictive and the proposed rules changes will not have much effect.
A few of the proposed changes however will allow you to do things that under the existing rules even the most wayward golfer could not do without blushing.
Here is a link to a complete list of the proposed changes.
Here is link to videos that explain the proposed rule changes.
Many of the rules changes will be applauded by professional players as the proposed changes tend to reduce ambiguity and eliminate some of the ‘silliness’ from the game.
Amateurs, I suspect, will embrace the changes that favour them and continue to ignore or disregard those they see as ‘silly’.
The proposed changes will go into effect in 2019.