New Local Rule will take effect January 1, 2017
Rather than wait for the next overall set of revisions to the Rules of Golf, the USGA and R&A felt in the case of balls accidentally moved on the putting green that it was important to take action now through a Local Rule.
This new Local Rule detailed below has been welcomed by major tours and golf organizations including The PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA, PGA of America, and the Masters Tournament.
"Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1 are modified as follows:
When a player's ball lies on the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved by the player, his partner, his opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment.
The moved ball or ball-marker must be replaced as provided in Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1.
This Local Rule applies only when the player's ball or ball-marker lies on the putting green and any movement is accidental.
Note: If it is determined that a player's ball on the putting green was moved as a result of wind, water or some other natural cause such as the effects of gravity, the ball must be played as it lies from its new location. A ball-marker moved in such circumstances is replaced."
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The USGA and R&A are proposing a major modernization of the Rules of Golf. The changes will take effect in 2019. Rules Modernization
New Local Rule. The woods on the left side of the cart path up near the
water on Port #8 are now a Lateral Hazard. If you hit a ball up into the
woods, you may choose to take a one stroke penalty and drop the ball
within 2 club lengths of where you crossed the red "line" into the hazard
(no closer to the hole). You do not need to find the ball to take the penalty and drop. This lets you take a drop in the grass to the right of the cart path.