The following is only a preview as the USGA/R&A rule book is being superceded for U.S. play (expect a minimum of 2716 pages, not counting appendices, indexes, and illustrations).
Here are a few of the changes:
1. Golfers with handicaps:
- Below 10 will have their green fees increased by 35%.
- Between 11 and 18 will see no increase in green fees.
- Above 18 will get a $20 check each time they play.
2. The term "gimmie" will be changed to "entitlement" and will be used as follows:
- Handicaps below 10, no entitlements.
- Handicaps from 11 to 17, entitlements for putter length putts.
- Handicaps above 18, if your ball is on the green, no need to putt, just pick it up.
These entitlements are intended to bring about fairness and, most importantly, equality in scoring.
3. In addition, a golfer will be limited to a maximum of one birdie or six pars in any given 18-hole round.
Any excess pars/birdies must be given to those fellow players who have not yet scored a birdie or par.
Only after all players have received a birdie or par from the player actually making the birdie or par, can that player begin to count his pars and birdies again .
4. The current USGA handicap system will be used, but "net score" will be available only for scoring those players with handicaps of 18 and above. To "re-distribute" the success of winning, in all competitions every player above an 18 handicap will post only "net score" whereas players whose handicap is 18 or less must post "gross score".