Old Palm News

Rule Changes Coming to Old Palm Golf Course

June 13, 2017

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Recently, the USGA and R&A (golf's two governing bodies) announced 24 new proposed rules, which are set to go into effect January 1, 2019. In the meantime, clubs around the world are evaluating the proposed changes to provide feedback to the USGA, which will ultimately influence which rules are adopted. Old Palm Golf Club is one of these clubs, and our course will adopt several of the rules early to improve the golf experience here at home. 

An Overview of the Changes

Of the 24 proposed new rules, there are seven our course will be adopting early. Here are the changes members can expect to see at our luxury country club in South Florida.


  • Elimination or reduction of “ball moved” penalties. There will be no penalty for accidentally moving a ball on the putting green, or for searching for a ball. 

  • Relaxed putting green rules. Players may putt without having the flagstick attended or removed. Players may repair spike marks and other damage on the putting green, and will not be penalized for touching the line of putt. 

  • Relaxed rules for penalty areas (currently called water hazards). Red-marked penalty areas may cover areas other than water. In addition, all hazards will be marked as lateral. There will be no penalty for moving loose impediments or touching the ground or water in a penalty area.

  • Relaxed bunker rules. There will be no penalty for moving loose impediments in a bunker or for generally touching the sand with a hand or club. A limited set of restrictions (such as not grounding the club right next to the ball) will be kept to preserve the challenge of playing from the sand. However, an extra relief option has been added for an unplayable ball in a bunker, allowing the ball to be played from outside the bunker with a two-stroke penalty.  

  • Relying on player integrity. A player's "reasonable judgment" when estimating or measuring a spot, point, line, area or distance will be upheld, even if video evidence later shows it to be wrong. 

  • Pace-of-play support. Time for searching for a lost ball has been reduced from five minutes to three. Affirmative encouragement of "ready golf" in stroke play will recommend that players take no more than 40 seconds to play a stroke. Other changes will also be adopted to improve the pace of play. 

  • Simplified way of taking relief. A new procedure for taking relief by dropping a ball in and playing it from a specific relief area is being introduce. This will result in relaxed procedures for dropping a ball, allowing the ball to be dropped from just above the ground. 

Terlescki’s Take on the Changes

Director of Golf Dan Terlescki supports the changes coming to the course, and believe that the new rules will improve pace of play, while making the game more fun and less stressful. In addition, the rules should improve overall consistency, simplicity and fairness at Old Palm Golf Club and courses across the country. 

Members are encouraged to be informed about the new rules, as well as provide feedback on how these changes affect their play. 

For those who are looking to play our renowned course, membership is included with residency. If you’re ready to experience a higher level of golf at our luxury country club in South Florida, contact our office today to tour available properties.

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