I like this one! In casual play most players don’t even know of the requirement and in tournament play it’s most often an unnecessary inconvenience.

2018 Rule: A special procedure applies when you intend to lift a ball in three specific situations. Before lifting the ball, you must announce the intention to do so to another player and then allow them to observe the marking, lifting and replacing of the ball. This applies when a ball will be lifted:

  1. for identification, or
  2. to see if it has become unfit for play, or
  3. to see if it lies in a condition from which relief is allowed.

New 2019 Rule: In all three situations above, under the new Rules you would be allowed to mark and lift the ball and proceed under the Rule without first announcing your intention to another player or to give them a chance to observe the process.

Well, why did they make this change?

In other relief situations, including when a ball may be lifted and played from a different place, you are allowed to proceed under the Rules without being required to involve another player in any part of the process. For example, you may take relief from cart path without having to announce your intention to another player or to allow them to observe the process.

Eliminating the announcement requirements for these three situations simplifies the Rules and brings consistency to the idea of trusting the player. The requirement for the player to have a good reason to lift under the Rule is a sufficient safeguard against inappropriate lifting or abuse of the Rule.

This might be a good place to mention “marking” the ball. The Rules only ever required you to mark the spot of the ball before picking it up if the Rules require you to replace the ball. Can you list those times? No, I didn’t think so. So, let’s adopt this practice . . . each time you have some good reason to pick up your ball, go ahead and mark it.

You have to bend over anyway, why not stick a tee in the ground. I’ll bet the ranch that no one has every received a penalty for marking a ball when it wasn’t required. Conversely, failure to mark, a one stroke penalty, is a Homer Simpson maneuver.