As any golfer, pro or amateur, knows, 2019 saw the arrival of a set of new rules of golf. The official rule book now contains over 35 changes. Some of these modifications are tiny while others are much more important. Some of the rules affect everyday play for everyone using Costa del Sol golf courses. Others will only come into play (literally) in PGA Tour tournaments.

In this article, we explain 8 of the new rules of golf in our need to know guide. Read on discover what you should know when you’re next out playing golf in Marbella.

Did you know? The Rio Real ProShop has the definitive guide to the new rules of golf. Pop along and get your copy of “The Essential Golf Rules” now. 

Less time to look for the ball

Under the new rules of golf, search time has gone down from 5 minutes to just 3.

Ball moved during search

If a player moves the ball during the 3-minute search, there is now no penalty.

Flagstick can stay in the hole

You may now decide to leave the flagstick in the hole when you’re putting on the green. BUT you must decide this (and tell your fellow players) before you take the stroke.

Did you know? You can get to know the new rules of golf while you perfect your shots at the Rio Real Golf Academy. Our Pro expert Sergio de Céspedes will not only help you play better golf on the Costa del Sol, but improve your knowledge of the rules. 

Obstacles in the bunker

If you find natural obstacles such as stones or leaves in the bunker, you are permitted to touch the sand with your hand or club when you remove them. BUT you cannot touch the sand to check out its texture. And if your ball moves when you’re removing an obstacle from the bunker, you get a one-stroke penalty.

Did you know? You can avoid the bunkers at Rio Real by checking out our hole-by-hole guide before you play. 

Moving ball accidentally

Golf balls sometimes move accidentally especially if it’s a windy day or there’s water about. Under the new rules of golf, there are no penalties for this and the ball is played from its new position.


There are also now no penalties for an accidental double-hit.

Help with alignment

The new rules for golf in 2019 don’t allow any help with alignment. Caddies are no longer allowed to assist and you can’t use anything to help you (e.g. a club). If you do, you get a 2-stroke penalty.

Time allowed to play

Most golf courses on the Costa del Sol have their own rules on how much time you can take over a stroke. The new golf rules include a recommendation that players “make a stroke in no more than 40 seconds”.

Did you know? By far the best way to get familiar with the new rules is to play as much as possible. The Rio Real dynamic pricing system helps you do this with some of the best golf deals in Marbella. Take a look and see for yourself. 



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