Rules of Golf workshop highlights college golf coaches’ convention


LAS VEGAS – A record number of college golf coaches attended their national convention at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.

The annual event allows for coaches at all levels of college golf to discuss issues pertaining to the sport as well as attend seminars that provide education and promote growth. More than 100 corporate partners also were on hand for a mini-PGA Show event.

A total of 627 coaches made the trip to Las Vegas. There were 344 members from the Golf Coaches Association of America (men) and 283 from the Women’s Golf Coaches Association.

One reason for the bigger turnout this year was the U.S. Golf Association’s Collegiate Rules of Golf workshop. A modernization of the Rules of Golf, which includes significant rules changes, goes into effect Jan. 1.

Six hours were allotted for education on golf’s updated rules. Thomas Pagel, David Staebler, Craig Winter, Kathryn Belanger and Joe Foley of the USGA were on hand to give the presentation on what coaches should expect next year.

“I greatly appreciated Thomas Pagel and the USGA’s presentation on the rules changes,” Colorado State men’s coach Christian Newton said. “The changes are all well thought out and will positively affect the game for years to come. Simpler is better for all.”

It is going to be different when college tournaments get underway for the spring season.

“It was a bit overwhelming starting out, just the amount of information,” Washington women’s coach Mary Lou Mulflur said. “Coaches are very appreciative of the efforts made by the USGA to keep us and our student-athletes well informed.”

Some of the most notable rules changes for 2019:

  • How to drop a ball, which no longer will be from shoulder height, but will be from knee height.
  • Search time for a ball will be reduced from five minutes to three minutes.
  • It will be permissible to repair spike marks or repair damage on the putting green.
  • The flagstick can be left in the hole while making a stroke from the green.
  • Relaxed rules in penalty areas will allow a player to ground the club, take practice swings and move loose impediments.
  • Advice givers no longer will be allowed to stand behind a player to help them line up for a shot.

A new rule that speaks directly to the college game is Rule 24, which is titled Team Competitions. The stated purpose of the rule is to cover events in either match play or stroke play in which multiple players or sides compete as a team, with the results of their rounds or matches combined to produce an overall team score.

Other speakers included Suzy Whaley, PGA of America President; Jerry Kill, former college football coach and current athletic director at Southern Illinois; Jim Herman, PGA Tour member; Kraig Kann, managing director of Kann Advisory Group (a media consulting company); and Claude Harmon III, golf instructor.

The convention is scheduled to return Dec. 9-11, 2019, to Las Vegas. Gwk

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