Every so often, the USGA will review and make changes to the rule book. I have been less than impressed with the last few efforts on their part. Since slow play is a major source of complaints about golf these days, maybe they should turn their efforts to changes that would speed up the game. I have three suggestions that would help. First would be to change the search rule from 5 minutes to 1 minute. I know that people hate to lose golf balls, especially Pro-V1s that most people should not even be using. But come on, if you can’t afford to lose one, then play a cheaper ball. If you don’t see it within a minute, then move on with your life.

That brings me to the second rule I would adopt – no more stroke-and-distance penalties. Lost ball, remember the first rule change. After a minute, just drop a ball at the point of entry and play away. One-stroke penalty. Same for out of bounds. Just drop at point of entry, or should I say exit. This would eliminate provisional balls. If the stroke-and-distance penalties are no longer in effect, then there is no need to waste time hitting additional balls. My last suggestion would be a continuous putting rule. You could only mark your ball once. After that, you would have to putt until holed out. What about standing in someone’s line? Well, that would be part of the game. With soft spikes, there is not much effect any longer. Besides, if you can’t fix a spike mark, then why should a foot print be a problem?
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