Well done the R&A - you don't hear that very often!
Campbell Lamont has been a staunch supporter of the concept that Rules are Rules and despite the sometimes apparent unfair impact of their application he firmly believes that they should be enforced without let or hindrance.
He is therefore doubly relieved to see that the R&A have at last decided to act on some of the many proposals he has made over the years and to apply some common sense in what they refer to as a "Modernisation" of the rule book.
Whilst the vast majority of golfers will give all the changes a very warm welcome this movement should not be construed as some knee-jerk reaction to dwindling numbers in the ranks of new players. In fact this revision has taken five years and won't come into effect until January 2019. So no mad dash scrabble behind the initiative.
Most of the changes are significant and are intended to clear away some of the regulations that have at times appeared pointless and unjust in their application.
Here are a few examples.
- Bunker play - Loose impediments in a bunker can be lifted and removed.
- Grounding your club - No penalty for grounding your club in a bunker with a few reasonable provisions such as you may not ground your club behind or in front of the ball or when taking a practise swing or on your backswing.
- Repair the green. Good example of a common sense adjustment as the proposed amendment will mean that virtually any blemish on the surface of the green can be repaired provided that the original line is not improved beyond reasonable measures.
- The Flagstick - Whilst most golfer leave the stick in the hole unattended whilst playing from off the green, this will now be an option for putts taken within the green. It means that there will be no penalty incurred should your ball hit the flag. A small move but one that will save time and that is a positive step.
- Dropping in a relief area. No longer will it be necessary to drop from shoulder height as the new rules allow the ball to be dropped from a few inches. There is also clarification on the area which can be defined for relief.
- Ready Golf - The motivation behind these amendments is to improve the general enjoyment of the game for all players both amateur and professional, and in so doing to encourage new participants. With this motivation in mind the concept of Ready Golf is embraced within the rule changes which will permit shots to be played out of turn in order to ensure the efficient movement of the round.
As the leading Golf Outlet in Spain and with significant activities now stretching into many other parts of Europe the Campbell Lamont organisation welcomes this positive move by the R&A and an indication that many of the changes which we have been advocating have been accepted and will become part of our favourite sport.