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