AUGUSTA, Ga. – When the USGA and R&A unveiled a list of potential rule changes last month officials encouraged players to put the proposed new rules in play and asked for feedback.
The potential changes were put to the first real test earlier this year when USGA executive director and CEO Mike Davis said the Seminole Golf Club Pro-Member, an 18-hole event which was held in February and includes many of the game’s best players, was played under the proposed changes.
“We received a ton of feedback. There were a lot of players leaving the flag in,” laughed Davis in a reference to the iconic club’s notoriously fast greens.
Under the proposed change to Rule 13.2b(3), there would be no penalty if a golf ball being played from the green hits the flagstick in the hole.
It’s one of 30 potential changes being considered by the USGA and R&A that would begin in 2019 if approved. Davis said players also embraced the proposed change that would allow them to repair spike marks on the green as well as new procedures for taking a drop.
Davis was also asked about the potential use of distance measuring devices during tournament rounds, another proposed change that prompted the PGA Tour to allow the use of DMDs at a series of test events later this year on the Web.com Tour, PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamérica.
“Some are bothered by the looks of it [players using DMDs during rounds], but we embraced these things because people said to heck with the rules and were using them anyway,” Davis said.