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IGA Likes the Proposed New Rules

IGA Likes the Proposed New Rules

It’s a new day for an age-old game. That’s the way Genger Fahleson, executive director of the Idaho Golf Association, is looking at the many proposed Rules changes for the game of golf.

The United States Golf Association along with The Royal & Ancient Golf Club spent more than five years trying to simplify the Rules of Golf before announcing the proposed changes in March, and Fahleson thinks they’ve succeeded in doing that.

“One big thing they did was to modernize the language,” she noted. “Now it doesn’t take a lawyer to figure out what it means. It makes it easier to play within those rules. They are more player-friendly that’s for sure, so overall I’m very impressed with the changes.”

Fahleson served as a director of Rules education for the USGA before coming to the IGA in early 2011, and while she’s very receptive to the USGA’s “common sense” approach regarding the Rules changes, she strongly advocates having rules.

“Basically that’s what makes golf special,” she says. “We have one set of rules for everybody. That way the game is played the same whether you’re a junior player or a PGA Tour player. Golf is played the same regardless of who you are or where you play.”

One of the changes Fahleson really likes concerns searching for a possible lost ball, then finding it. “I really like the new rule that does not penalize a player if the ball is moved during the search for it,” she said. However, there are a couple of changes that worry her a bit.

“There are a few adjustments I’d like to see,” she admits, “and a few things might shake out during the comment period.” Specifically Fahleson talked about repairing marks on the green and possible new hazard areas on some courses.

“The proposed new rule would allow the golfer to repair almost anything on the green,” Fahleson stated. “I think that will slow play down on the pro tour and it might also interfere with the line of a putt. It might create kind of a trench for the ball.”

Her biggest concern is how hazard areas might be marked. “They will be called penalty areas and it will be up to individual courses to determine them,” she explained. “For example, if the course decides an out of bounds area should be a penalty area marked with red instead of white stakes, a player theoretically could hit the ball from someone’s back yard.”

Fahleson encouraged all golfers to take advantage of the comment period which runs until the end of August. “Drafts of the new Rules are on the USGA website now,” she notes.

Visit usga.org/rules to provide feedback. Players can use the comment box provided, or email the USGA about the proposed new Rules at rules@usga.org. The comment period ends August 31, 2017.

Then she added this piece of advice: “The more specific feedback the better. The USGA wants it.”

– Rob Lundgren


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