USGA rules changes should make game simpler, faster

With the 117th edition of the U.S. Open this week, it seemed a perfect time to delve into the new rules changes proposed by the U.S. Golf Association and Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

Las Vegas resident Sue May, the leading USGA rules official in Southern Nevada, was optimistic about the proposals.

“These new proposed rules are going to make the rules of golf so much easier for the average golfer to understand and play by,” May said. “Not only will it be easier for the players, selfishly, it will be so much easier for the rules official to apply the rules.

“However, nothing is official yet. The USGA is gathering public feedback on the proposed rule changes through August and then next spring will announce which rule changes have been approved. We will be playing by a new set of golf rules by January 2019.”

May said there are several rules that will be impactful, but some more than others.

“I think the new relief procedure for dropping the golf ball is the rule that could affect the player the most,” she said. “It will be more easily understood by the players, more logical and a more consistent approach for similar rulings. The ball can be dropped from 1 inch high or as high as you want it instead of at the present time at shoulder height. A player should now never have a bad lie when dropping and very seldom will a player have to drop more than once. This rule could definitely improve pace of play.”

Another change May likes is the rule about players inadvertently moving a ball on the putting green.

“Now it’s going to be nearly impossible to receive a penalty for a ball at rest moving on the putting green,” she said. “A player would almost have to just blank out and pick up the ball without marking it.”

Additional proposed changes are: No penalty for moving the ball during a search, no penalty for a ball in motion being deflected by a player or player’s equipment, and a player will get three minutes to search for a golf ball as compared with the current five minutes.

May said golfers can visit to share their opinions on the new rules.

Jackson shines at WSNGA event

Sherry Jackson won the overall gross division of the Women’s Southern Nevada Golf Association senior amateur by shooting rounds of 77-77 at DragonRidge Country Club. Debbie Love won the silver flight gross division, Gabrielle Buonacorsi gold gross and Sailini King platinum gross. Monica Kaili won the overall net division, Gerrie Climer silver net, Dee Molina gold net and Melissa Miller platinum net.

Player development lessons

The Club at Sunrise is in the midst of hosting a player development month and is offering free 15-minute lessons throughout June. The celebration of golf is built to introduce new players and reintroduce golfers to the game. Other offers include a Tee It Up range membership program, short game clinics and weekly golf specials.

Deal of the week

Coyote Springs is offering three rounds for $99 throughout the summer.

Stars on, off course

— Brady Exber, a nine-time Southern Nevada Golf Association player of the year and member of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame, was the only inductee of the National Senior Amateur Hall of Fame class of 2017. The ceremony took place at High Point Country Club in High Point, North Carolina.

— Las Vegas residents Shane Sigsbee and Kenny Ebalo, representing Southern Highlands Golf Club, won the 81st annual Anderson Memorial tournament at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York.

The golf notebook appears Thursdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at or @LVGolfInsider on Twitter.

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