Rules Blog #1
As we are nearing the start of our 2019 registration opening on January 1st, I wanted to take a few minutes and update everyone on the 2019 Rules changes that are going to take place on January 1. The USGA and R&A have released a new set of rules with the goal to make the game easier and to speed up pace of play. The Amateur Players Tour will adopt these new rules in 2019. Here are a few examples of some rules changes. Players can now drop from knee-height instead of having to stand erect at shoulder height. The idea behind this is that the dropped ball will have a better chance of staying in the relief area and not causing a player to have to “re-drop” thus speeding up play. Also, a player will no longer be penalized for putting with the flagstick in. I will spend some time over the next few months posting about some of the new rules changes and how they will affect play on the APT, but for now I wanted to spend a few minutes talking about a few basic rules for play on the Amateur Players Tour in 2019.
First off, all play on the Amateur Players Tour is governed by the USGA rules of golf. We strongly recommend reading through these rules and becoming familiar with them as they will guide our tournament play in 2019. The USGA Rules allow for us to make permanent local rules as a tour, which we call a “Hard Card” or a Conditions of Competition. These rules will be in effect at every tournament we play in 2019. We are in the process of updating them to comply with the 2019 rules of golf, but they can be found at www.amateurplayerstour.com/hardcard. You will also receive a copy of the Hard Card at the first tee of every tournament we play. Accompanied by the Hard Card is the Notice to Competitors which will include the local rules specific to each course we play. For example, this could include “Lift, Clean & Place” after a rain or how to deal with a specific relief situation such as flower beds or roadways that aren’t marked. These local rules will be the only local rules in play. Local rules on the course scorecard are not rules for APT events. It is very important to read your rules sheet for the day at each tournament.
I also want to take a second and answer a few questions that we’ve received from members over the past few weeks:
Are rangefinders allowed? Yes, rangefinders are allowed in APT tournaments provided that they do not measure wind or slope. Commonly, these are marked as “Tournament Edition”. We do follow the optional guideline in the USGA rules of Golf.
Are cell-phones allowed? Yes, we do allow cell phones to be used on the Amateur Players Tour. We will be using live scoring through the Amateur Players Tour App during tournaments and players are permitted to use GPS Apps on their phone provided that they do not measure wind or slope. We do ask that players be respectful and keep their ringers off and do not distract play with their cell phone.
We are extremely excited to kick-off our inaugural season in 2019! We had a great turnout for our fall event at Annbriar, and we are looking forward to a great year playing events at some of the top area courses. If you are unfamiliar with the rules, we are partnering with PGA Pro Kevin Schaeffer at Annbriar Golf Course to host a few Rules seminars before the season starts. We will announce dates and times soon. I recommend planning to attend one of these events as they will be very helpful and informative and a great time to meet some of our members!
Looking forward to a great season!