The R&A has completely revamped the rules of golf, adopting a more modern approach across the board and making some fairly significant changes which we are very pleased to see.
Pace of play is a huge issue in golf, and some of the more antiquated rules on procedures have been cleaned up.
We have already adopted some of the test rules in our events in 2017 and will consider going even further in 2018 because we think for an amateur golf competition the pace of play is the most critical factor in people’s enjoyment of the competition.
 
We have called out the Pace of Play section (the most important we think!)

Promoting Faster Pace of Play

  • Encouraging you to play promptly: It is recommended that you make each stroke in no more than 40 seconds – and usually more quickly than that – once it’s your turn to play.
  • Playing out of turn in stroke play (“ready golf”) This has always been allowed without penalty, and now you are affirmatively encouraged to do so in a safe and responsible way for convenience or to save time.
  • New alternative form of stroke play: The Rules recognise a new “Maximum Score” form of stroke play, where your score for a hole is capped at a maximum (such as double par or triple bogey) set by the Committee, so that you can pick up and move to the next hole when your score will be at or above the maximum.
  • Other changes to help pace of play: Reduced time to search for a ball, allowing committees to designate “penalty areas” (currently called water hazards) for areas that don’t contain water and to mark all penalty areas as red (so that lateral relief is always allowed) if they choose to do so, the simplified dropping procedure, and the option to leave the flagstick in the hole when putting.

You can read all the details on the R&A Rules Modernization site HERE