Got a beef with the proposed changed to the Rules of Golf? Speak now or forever hold your peace.
Back in March, the USGA and R&A announced a sweeping plan to modernize the Rules. The general idea was that the Rules needed to be updated to address some high-profile rules incidents in the pro game, but more importantly, they needed to be simplified to prevent recreational golfers, and especially new players, from being turned off by a complicated, archaic rules system. (You can read about nine of the biggest changes proposed by the ruling bodies here.)
An essential aspect of the announcement was that the changes were not final, but merely proposals that would be altered based on feedback from anyone with a stake in the game. That includes you.
The USGA has offered a feedback survey on their website for a few months to allow golfers to comment on the changes, or to propose additional changes. But that time window comes to a close today — Thursday, Aug. 31. So now is your final chance to make your voice heard.
Once the feedback window closes tonight, the USGA and R&A will take the rest of the year and the early part of 2018 to “finish work on the Rule changes and the draft Rule book and obtain final approval from our Rules of Golf Committees and boards.” For the remainder of 2018, they will “complete and publish the full Rules of Golf, Player’s Edition, Handbook, Committee Procedures and other materials; facilitate the translation of these materials; finish work on a new Rules app and other means of electronic delivery; and educate golfers and officials at all levels of the game.”
The new and (likely) improved Rules will go into effect Jan. 1, 2019.