Old Rule

New Rule


Player accidentally moves ball during search

1 stroke penalty

No penalty


Player accidentally moves ball or ball marker on the putting green

1 stroke penalty

No penalty


Standard for deciding whether the player caused a ball to move

Weight of the evidence / more likely than not

Player will be found to be the cause if 95% certain


Replacing a ball that has moved from the fairway / rough (e.g. during search, accidentally hitting on practice swing)

Drop the ball from estimated spot

Place the ball on estimated spot


Ball in motion accidentally hits player, person attending the flagstick, the attended or unattended flagstick, or removed flagstick

1 or 2 stroke penalty

No penalty


Player double-hits the ball

1 stroke penalty (count both hits)

No penalty – only counts as one stroke


Measuring one or two club length drops

Sometimes defined by club intended to hit

Always longest non-putter club in the bag


Replacing a ball when it rolls outside of the relief area after two drops

Placed within 2 club lengths of where the second drop touched the ground

Placed on the exact stop where second drop touched the ground


How to drop a ball

Shoulder height

Knee height


Time allowed for searching for a lost ball

5 minutes

3 minutes


Substituting ball when taking relief

Only when taking penalty relief

All relief


Embedded ball rule

Only in “closely mown areas” (fairways)

Everywhere except sand


Replacing a ball that has moved on the green

Replaced in same spot if moved by player. If wind moved it, play as it lies

Always replace on same spot


Repairing damage on a putting green

Only ball marks or old hole plugs can be repaired

All damage can be repaired, including spike marks


Player touches line of putt with putter to point out a target

2 stroke penalty

No penalty


Removing loose impediments or grounding the club in a penalty area (red or yellow take)

2 stroke penalty

No penalty


Eliminating the opposite side of relief for lateral hazards

Could drop the ball equidistant on the other side of the hazard, still hitting over the water`

No longer allowed


Removing loose impediments in bunkers

2 stroke penalty

No penalty


Accidentally touching the sand when in bunkers

2 stroke

No penalty


Taking an unplayable lie in bunkers

Can do it with stroke penalty, but ball must stay in bunker

Can remove from bunker, keeping the original spot between the drop and the hole. 2 stroke penalty


Using damaged equipment during a round

Can only be used if damaged during normal course of play

Can be used if damaged for any reason (e.g., damaged in anger)


Replacing a damaged club during a round

Can replace if club is unfit for play and was damaged during the normal course of play

Cannot be replaced unless player was not responsible for damage


Use of distance measuring devices

Prohibited unless local rule allows it

Allowed unless local rule prohibits it


Playing promptly

No recommendations

Recommends players play within 40 seconds


Playing out of turn

No penalty, although rules imply it is against etiquette

No penalty, “ready golf” is encouraged