RULES OF GOLF

Abridged ver­sion makes the Rules of Golf less com­pli­cated and more wel­com­ing.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents 11/18 -

The new Player's Edi­tion rules book.

Club golfers will soon re­ceive the new Player’s Edi­tion of the Rules of Golf, the first of­fi­cial abridged ver­sion of the Rules writ­ten specif­i­cally for the club golfer in mind. The new mod­ernised Rules will be­come ef­fec­tive on Jan­uary 1.

The num­ber of rules has been re­duced from 34 to 24, and in the Player’s Edi­tion these are con­tained in 10 easy-to-fol­low com­part­ments. The book has 72 fewer pages, and the In­dex is down from 27 pages to 11.

“This is the big­gest set of changes to the Rules in a gen­er­a­tion,” said David Rick­man, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor gov­er­nance at The R&A. “It’s a ma­jor step for­ward in our ef­forts to make the Rules, and golf it­self, more ac­ces­si­ble and more in tune with the way mod­ern sport is played.”

The Player’s Edi­tion in­cludes the Rules that are most rel­e­vant to the ev­ery­man golfer, and fea­tures di­a­grams and charts for easy ap­pli­ca­tion, sim­i­lar to the il­lus­trated ver­sion of the Rules of Golf.

Golf’s two gov­ern­ing bod­ies, The R&A and USGA, are hop­ing the Player’s Edi­tion will not only pop­u­larise the Rules of Golf but give more golfers a greater un­der­stand­ing of them. They are fairer, less com­pli­cated, more wel­com­ing, and more aligned with is­sues fac­ing the game such as pace of play.

The idea be­hind the 10 com­part­ments is to make it eas­ier for golfers to find rel­e­vant sit­u­a­tions in the book. In­stead of thumb­ing through 34 rules, as you cur­rently do, there are just 10 ar­eas in which to seek and iden­tify a rul­ing.

The first com­part­ment deals with Fun­da­men­tals of the Game (Rules 1-4), fol­lowed by Play­ing the Round (56), Play­ing the Ball (7-11), Bunkers & Greens (12-13), Lift­ing and Re­turn­ing a ball to play (14), Free Re­lief (15-16), Penalty Re­lief (17-19), Pro­ce­dures when is­sues arise (20), and Other Forms of Play (21-24). The tenth and fi­nal sec­tion deals with Def­i­ni­tions (over 70 of them), which have moved from the front to the back of the book.

It ex­plains how to un­der­stand the facts of the case when mak­ing a rul­ing. You should iden­tify: 1) the form of play; 2) who is in­volved; 3) what part of the course; 4) what hap­pened. Us­ing that, and the 10 com­part­ments, could re­sult in a speedy an­swer.

Wa­ter haz­ards will hence­forth be re­ferred to as Penalty Ar­eas, and there are five key rules changes that golfers will no­tice most of all from Jan­uary 1. 1) all drops to be taken from knee height; 2) search time for a ball re­duced from five to three min­utes; 3) flag­stick may be left in the hole when putting on the green; 4) no penalty if your ball ac­ci­den­tally strikes you or your equip­ment; 5) you may re­move a loose im­ped­i­ment any­where. But there is a penalty if re­moval causes your ball to move.

In a bunker, you can strike the sand in anger with a club af­ter a duff with­out in­cur­ring a two-shot penalty, and you can drop out­side a bunker for the first time, al­beit with a 2-shot penalty. On the putting green, you may now re­pair dam­age with­out penalty whether your ball is on or off the green. That in­cludes tap­ping down spike marks.

Cad­dies are af­fected by the new rules and should be alerted to Rule 10. A cad­die can no longer help a player cor­rect a stance or im­prove a putting line. It’s an im­me­di­ate Gen­eral Penalty (two strokes) if a player has be­gun tak­ing a stance and the cad­die is hov­er­ing in a lo­ca­tion on or close to a golfer’s ex­ten­sion of the line of play.

Main­tain­ing a prompt pace of play is an in­te­gral part of the Rules. It is three strikes and out if you’re ex­ces­sively slow. It is rec­om­mended that a golfer makes a stroke in no more than 40 sec­onds af­ter be­ing able to play with­out in­ter­fer­ence or dis­trac­tion. The penalty for a first breach of Rule 5-6 is one stroke, two strokes for a sec­ond breach, and then dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion. Key ad­vice: You should pre­pare in ad­vance for your next stroke and be ready to play when it is your turn.

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