Changes to the Rules of Golf announced

Changes to the rules of golf reek of common sense.

The R&A and United States Golf Association (USGA) have announced the publication of the new Rules of Golf for 2012-15 which include a series of changes to the rules and amendments to the Rules of Amateur Status. It is the first time the rules have been presented by both golf governing bodies.
The R&A’s Director of Rules and Equipment Standards David Rickman said: “The Rules of Golf are constantly evolving and our hope is that what we have produced for 2012 is clear, informed by common sense and reflective of the demands of the modern game.”
While there are always more rules of golf that could do with some changing, the recent updates are logical and make a lot of sense. And without further ado, here’s a grab of some of the changes.

Golf ball moves after address
Many of us saw Rory McIlroy incur a one shot penalty at this year’s British Open after the wind blew his ball as he was about to make a putt. The new rules will absolve the golfer of a penalty if the ball is moved by the an outside agency after address. Previously, if you address the golf ball and it moves because of the wind, a golfer was forced to take a one shot penalty and replace the ball. Now;

Ball Moving After Address (Rule 18-2b). A new exception is added which exonerates the player from penalty if their ball moves after it has been addressed when it is known or virtually certain that they did not cause the ball to move. For example, if it is a gust of wind that moves the ball after it has been addressed, there is no penalty and the ball is played from its new position.

Smoothing sand in a hazard
Once again, this has been a source of controversy for many years. According to previous rules, you cannot touch the ground in a hazard before you play a shot, even to fix up some footprints while waiting for your partner to play a shot. But logic has prevailed and now a penalty would no longer apply;

Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions (Rule 13-4). Exception 2 to this Rule is amended to permit a player to smooth sand or soil in a hazard at any time, including before playing from that hazard, provided it is for the sole purpose of caring for the course and Rule 13-2 (improving lie, area of intended stance or swing or line of play) is not breached.

Late arrival for tee time
Another common sense change is the one relating to turning up late for your tee time. Previously if you turn up late for your tee time, you were disqualified from the tournament. Now, so long as you turn up within five minutes of the starting time, you will only get a two stroke penalty or loss of hole in matchplay.

Time of Starting (Rule 6-3a). The rule is amended to provide that the penalty for starting late, but within five minutes of the starting time, is reduced from disqualification to loss of the first hole in match play or two strokes at the first hole in stroke play. Previously this penalty reduction could be introduced as a condition of competition.

As mentioned, this is the first time the two governing bodies of golf have presented the rules in a single, uniform format, with similar covers and the same content. It’s baffling it hasn’t been done before but maybe, just maybe, golf and the bodies that govern golf are progressing together into the modern age.
Check out all the changes to the rules of golf, including amendments to amateur status at the R&A website. Or if you so please, at the USGA, it’s all the same you know.

2 thoughts on “Changes to the Rules of Golf announced

  • I still can’t process these new changes but I guess this sounds great. Changing rules for the better game is amazing and good to know that two governing bodies unite for this and they are riding together in this technology era. This is a great job.

  • They made some pretty good changes, especially the one involving the wind to thwart as hot after a golfer’s address. This will definitely help step up the game, make it more exciting and less frustrating to players. Will read the R&A Website next.

    Thanks for the info Aussie Golfer. One of the best golf blogs out there for me. More power.


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