What Golf’s New Rules Mean to You | Curt Rohe | Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association [#222]

While normally we’re talking about the physical and mental pieces that you can emphasize to get the greatest edge on your golf game, this week we are talking with Curt Rohe from the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association about the new rules that are coming into play in 2019.

If there is one theme that we try to reiterate over and over here at the 18Strong Podcast, it’s that simplicity and consistency are the key to winning at everything, so I thought it would be the perfect time to bring on Curt Rohe, the Executive Director from the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association here in St. Louis, to talk about the new rules that have been changed with the USGA and the RNA, for professionals and amateur golfers across the world.

I want to take this opportunity to make sure we are clear on the rules and discuss what they are trying to do because I know there is already a considerable amount of confusion amongst golfers.  Overall, I love seeing the proactive approach of the USGA to try to simplify and improve the game.

Curt Rohe’s Background

  • curt roheStarted with MAGA in 1998 as a PJ Boatwright Intern.
  • Franklin County Country Club (Washington, MO) as Assistant Manager for 2 seasons.
  • October of 2001 returned full-time to MAGA as Director, Tournament Operations.
  • 2010 was named Executive Director and have held that position ever since.
  • Officiated at several USGA championships: the 2015 US Open, 2015 & 2016 US Senior Open.
  • Worked with the NCAA in conducting the NCAA Division II Golf Championship from 2002-2008.

Highlights from this Episode

  • Curt talks about the Metropolitan Amatuer Golf Association (MAGA), their role in relation to the USGA, and the services they offer like course handicap and slope rating. We also get into how they are authorities on the rules of golf and the perfect guest to dive into the different changes we will see in the next year.
  • The importance of keeping a handicap record rather than just spit-balling your score each time, and how helpful and motivating it can be to see your handicap trending in the right direction.
  • What sparked the big change in rules through the USGA in 2019 and how this process, started years ago, aims to simplify, expedite, and modernize the rules and game. We breakdown the different new or revised rule groupings and his thoughts on each:
    • Putting Green: Being able to fix damage without fear of penalty (tamp down spike marks, old hole plugs, spike marks, etc.), being able to leave the flag stick in, able to replace ball from accidental movement (e.g. Lexi Thompson Incident), and the naked eye ruling.
    • Bunker: Can remove impediments, still cant ground clubs, brush sand away on your back swing, can get relief from bunker for -2 penalty stroke.
    • Penalty Areas: What used to be “Hazards” are now penalty areas, defining from red stakes and yellow stakes, and allowing the committees to make any area a penalty area (not just high grass areas, water hazard, etc.), able to take 2 club lengths laterally out of penalty area rather than search for ball.
    • Misc.: New standardized dropping height (from the knee.)
Parting Questions:

Caddy Shack or Happy Gilmore? Caddy Shack

What would your walk-up song to the first teebox be? Emerson Drive – A Good Man

18 Holes anywhere in the world with anyone, past or present: Where would it be and whom would you play?  Arnold Palmer at Latrobe

Any last piece of advice for the 18Strong Community?  Get a copy of the player version of the rules of golf book and get acclimated to the rules. If you have any questions, seek a PGA professional.

Find more information on the new USGA rules at:



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