One of the biggest topics of conversation that has developed starting this year in the golf world is the re-vamping and overhaul of the rules of golf. The new set of rules went into effect on January 1st of 2019. When you open up the new rules to the game, you will notice that it looks a little different from the previous editions that have been published. What you will find is that the new rules have been modernized in an effort to more successfully reach the player from every level of the game. The completion of the new rules was made possible by compiling input and feedback from thousands of golfers all over the world.
A key goal for this publication was to make the rules of golf easier to understand and apply while at the same time upholding the principles and spirit of the game. The language of the rules was written in a plain and modern style. The new organization of the book saw the total number of rules drop from 34 to 24. This does not mean that the USGA and R&A decided to do away with a large chunk of the game. They strategically adjusted, removed, added and re-thought what was most essential for the game to be played in the proper manner. The newest publication is much easier to maneuver through, simpler to follow, and has an increase in colorful diagrams that visually lay out how certain rulings should be conducted.
Along with the complete “Rules of Golf” book, the USGA and R&A have published the “player’s edition” which while still having every main rule included, it serves as an abbreviated version of the full rules providing those believed to be most relevant while playing on the course. You may easily access the player’s edition of the rules along with many other helpful resources regarding the rules by downloading the USGA Rules of Golf app.
An excerpt from the USGA and R&A rules team states, “We believe golfers will find the modernized Rules fairer, less complicated, more welcoming, and more aligned with issues facing the game such as improved pace of play and environmental stewardship.”
A great place to start when learning about the modernizing of the rules of golf is: