Golf Tips Newsletter
Issue 534 - Wed. November 28th, 2018
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USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
WGTF "Top 100" Teacher
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach


Prepare to play your best golf by doing something now!

Tom's Featured Tip: The Five Biggest 2019 Golf Rule Changes
Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
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Tom's Featured Tip: The Five Biggest 2019 Golf Rule Changes

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

You would be well served to know these five particular rules inside out, because they will probably come into play regularly.

The R&A (Royal and Ancient Golf Club) and USGA (United States Golf Association) have published the new golf rules to be implemented on January 1st, 2019. There are many, but I'm highlighting the five changes that I think will impact the game and be used most frequently by the average golfer.

The reason for the changes are to speed up play, and to make some procedures simpler and easier to understand.

Here they are, enjoy!

  1. Dropping Procedure

    Last year it was proposed that golfers could drop from any height above an inch, however this has been changed to knee height. So starting January 1st, 2019, when taking relief golfers will now drop from knee height, no longer shoulder height.

  2. Double-hitting a shot

    There will no longer be a penalty for double-hitting a shot.

    With the new rule, players will simply count the single stroke they took to strike the ball, rather than counting two shots for hitting the ball twice.

    Too bad this rule wasn't in play for the 1985 US Open when Chinese golfer TC Chen double hit a chip shot and got penalized. He lost that tournament as a result, and he was never heard from again.

  3. Out of bounds rule change

    Golf’s out of bounds rule is set to undergo a massive change in a bid to speed up play.

    This rule was adopted specifically for the recreational player.

    From January 1st, 2019, clubs will be allowed to adopt a local rule regarding out of bounds.

    Instead of stroke and distance, the local rule will allow the option of dropping a ball in the vicinity of where the original was lost or out of bounds, including the nearest fairway area, with a two-stroke penalty.

    Basically, if you hit your first drive OB into the woods, you no longer have to hit your third from the tee box. Instead, you can play your fourth from the fairway. It's basically, the best case scenario (except for a hole-in-three) with your third shot. This should speed up the pace of play significantly.

    Note that this rule will not be in play at the professional level, or other elite competitions.

  4. Moving the ball

    There will no longer be a penalty for accidentally moving your ball on the putting green or when looking for it in the rough. A player is not responsible for causing a ball to move unless it is "virtually certain" that they did.

  5. The flag stick

    It no longer has to be attended or removed when putting and there will be no penalty if a golfer's ball hits an unattended flagstick positioned in the hole.

    Read my newsletter article Issue 531 for the benefits of leaving the flagstick in the hole.
All in all, great changes - but I wish they would have addressed lies that end up in divots in fairways. That's always been a pet peeve of mine, hitting a great shot right down the middle then having to hit your next shot out a divot in the fairway.

Oh well, maybe in 2020.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Golf Lessons

I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link for Plum Creek info here:

Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at
for more information.

Outdoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Indoor Lessons Details and Rates:



Plum Creek Driving Range and Simulator  Outdoor range and play indoor golf on any of our 40 Simulator Courses. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve time for simulator play or practice!

Batavia Country Club   (585) 343-7600
Great rates, the best greens in WNY. Golf Digest Four Star rating for public courses to play in New York State.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

Pre-pay for a 2019 membership now and your membership will apply to the rest of this year!

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Chestnut Hill Country Club   (585)-547-3613
Only minutes from Buffalo, open to the public.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach
Cell: (716) 474-3005

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan