Major changes to the Rules of Golf set to come into effect in 2023

The USGA and R&A have unveiled regular updates to the Rules of Golf as they continue to make the Rules easier to understand and apply. The new rules will come into effect on January 1, 2023. The 2023 edition continues the modernization process, emphasizing both inclusion and sustainability. For the first time, the Modified Rules for Disabled Players have been fully incorporated into the Game Rules without the need for a Local Rule. The governing bodies, supported by long-time partner Rolex, will also promote access to the Rules through digital and mobile applications while significantly reducing the production and distribution of more than 4 million printed books.

Several penalties have been relaxed and language has been clarified to help golfers at all levels of play.

The main changes include:

Changes for disabled players: The changes to the Rules for players with disabilities have been incorporated into the Rules and are effective for all players classified in the categories covered by Rule 25.

Using the Handicap in Stroke Play: With the continued growth of scoring technology following the adoption of the World Handicap System™, players are no longer penalized for failing to put their handicap on their scorecard in stroke play. The committee will be responsible for ensuring the accuracy of each player’s handicap.

Club damaged during round: The rule was amended to allow a player to replace a club damaged during a round, provided the player did not damage it through abuse.

Ball moved by natural forces: A new exception provides that a ball at rest must be replaced if it moves to another area of ​​the course or comes to rest out of bounds after being dropped, placed or replaced.

Back-on-the-line clearance procedure: The back-on-the-line relief procedure, often used for the penalty area and unplayable ball relief, has been simplified so that the player now drops his ball over the line, and the ball must come to rest unless one club length from where it is released.

“The growing popularity of golf continues to guide our decision-making, and modernizing the rules to promote inclusivity and accessibility is clearly a big step in the right direction,” said Thomas Pagel, director of governance at the ‘USGA. “This latest development is particularly important to the disabled golf community, and we hope it will encourage more people to play and enjoy the game.”

Grant Moir, R&A Rules Director, said: “We continue to improve and adapt the Rules of Golf to ensure they match the way the modern game is played. This means making the Rules easier to understand and access for all golfers and making the sport more inclusive and welcoming for golfers with disabilities. We are also working to ensure golf has a sustainable long-term future and making more resources available digitally is key to achieving this goal.

Players are reminded that the current edition of the Rules of Golf (2019) still applies when playing or posting scores for the remainder of 2022.

As an extension of its support for the Rules of Golf around the world, Rolex is committed to supporting the efforts of the R&A and the USGA to modernize the Rules of Golf. The Swiss watchmaker’s contribution to excellence in golf is based on a rich heritage spanning more than 50 years, forged through key partnerships at all levels of the game, from the sport’s major professional and amateur competitions and organizations to players at pinnacle of their sport. worldwide.

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