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Reminder regarding Rules of Golf changes

Hi all,

Just a quick reminder that from 1st January 2016 a few changes  to the Rules of Golf come into effect. These changes have been incorporated into the latest edition of the R&A, USGA Rules of Golf booklet which is now available free to members from the clubhouse.

The key changes are as follows:

  • Withdrawal of Rule on Ball Moving After Address  Rule 18-2b (ball moving after address) has been withdrawn. This means that if a ball at rest moves after the player addresses it, the player is no longer deemed to have caused the ball to move. A 1-stroke penalty under rule 18-2 will only be applied when the facts show that the player’s actions have caused the ball to move.
  • Limited Exception to disqualification Penalty for Submission of Incorrect Score Card A new exception has been introduced to Rule 6-6d (Wrong Score for Hole) stating that a player will not be disqualified for returning a score card with a lower score than actually taken for a hole, provided that the mistake is the result of the player failing to include penalty stroke/s that they did not know they had incurred. New penalty is the penalty under the rule that was breached AND an additional 2 stroke penalty for the score card error.
  • Prohibition on Anchoring the Club While Making a Stroke  The new Rule 14-1b (Anchoring the Club) prohibits anchoring the club either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point” in making a stroke. The penalty is loss of hole in match play or 2 strokes in stroke play. Long putters may continue to be used – it’s just that they may not be anchored.  The rule applies to ALL levels of golf – professional, club and social.
  • Modification of Penalty for Single Non-Permissible Use of Artificial Devices or Equipment  The penalty for a player’s first breach of Rule 14-3 (Artificial Devices, Unusual Equipment and Abnormal Use of Equipment) during a round has been reduced from disqualification to loss of hole in match play or 2 strokes in stroke play. The penaly for any subsequent breach of Rule 14-3 will continue to be disqualification.
  • Distance Measuring Device Local Rule: Relaxation so that Players now Only in Breach if the actuall Use a Non-Conforming Feature   The local rule on distance-measuring devices has been relaxed so that there will no longer be a penalty if a player uses a device with a non-conforming feature such as those often found on smart phones but does not actually use the non-comforming feature itself. Distance-measuring devices may only be used in competitions where the committee has the local rule in effect.)   Examples of non-conforming features include applications that measure or provide advice on: elevation changes or slope, wind speed, club selection, green reading, and effective distance between two points based on elevation changes or other conditions that affect shot distance.

The above rule changes will be in effect for the next 4 years.

You might also be interested to know that the R&A and USGA  have recently instigated a program aimed to bring about a major simplification of the Rules of Golf. Even they now openly admit that the present Rules are way too complicated and need to be simplified. Roll on 2020 when these new, simplified rules are likely to be introduced!!!

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