New look for an old game

Golf has new rules that are now in effect in 2019.


DeChambeau putting with the flagstick in.

To the naked eye, golf can seem very straight forward – get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible. But having success in golf is easier said than done.

Golf itself has been a staple around American sports since the time it was adopted from its European origin before the birth of our nation. It has remained one of the most popular and easily enjoyed sports throughout the country. Especially in the sense that golfers come in all shapes and sizes. It really is a game for the people.

However, not everyone can play golf at the highest level. It’s certainly an activity that takes great skill and mental stability. Coping with the realities and struggles within the game defines the difference between average players and those that make a living at the sport. And at the start of the 2019 year, golf’s governing bodies sought out a change in order to bridge that gap between the modern golfer and the professionals.

Thus, the USGA and R&A have implemented two new and substantial rules to help golf seem more fun and more understandable to the average golfer.

The first change concerns the knee height drop.

After hitting the ball in any penalty area (except out of bounds), players are required to drop the ball from his or her knee height. Which differs from previous shoulder height drop. It doesn’t seem like a big change, but early on in the season, professionals are taking notice of this variation, especially in the light that it’s required and will result in a shot penalty if it’s not followed.

Perhaps one of the most influential young golf prodigies on the world tour is Bryson DeChambeau. Bryson is a 25 year old world number five who plays golf with a sense and mentality that always involves honoring the standards of the game. His bright star qualities has him in the position to say and take action when needed in the world of golf.

Bryson didn’t mince words when it came to the new knee drop rule: “That you have to drop it from knee height is a bit absurd, unfortunately.” He said, “I think that you should be able to go from knee height to shoulder height. There should be no issue with that, whatever you want to do, honestly. There’s a lot of questions about that.”

And Bryson isn’t the only player to be speaking up about thus entire ordeal. Golfers everywhere are buzzing. But on the bright side, it looks as if the rule is being followed. It’s remaining a questionable part of the new golf rules but it’s here to stay.

The second and perhaps the biggest change to golf’s new platform for the year and beyond involves the choice to leave the flagstick in while putting on the green.

To average golfers this may not be a surprise, as players everywhere usually leave the flagstick in anyway. However, professionals are rather new to this dignified look. It’s a rule and choice that’ll definitely take time to sink in. Even science stands behind this choice as the odds for the putt to go in increases at a doubling rate. Therefore, professionals like Bryson DeChambeau and even Bubba Watson have joined the slim amount of pros that now leave the flagstick in for every putt.

I caught up with fellow Elder varsity golf members, Luke Lammers and Gabe Stowe to get their take on the matter. Sophomore Luke Lammers mentioned that he’s willing to keep the pin in on longer putts, while junior, Gabe Stowe explained that the pin will rarely be in while he is on the green. Stowe said, “I don’t think the game will really change much.”

Bryson DeChambeau drops from the new knee height provision at a recent 2019 tournament. (from

But that’ll remain a big question for the rest of the year as the PGA Tour and Elder Golf come full swing as the weather heats up in 2019.