Date: September 13, 2018
Author: The R&A

New Rules of Golf book published

Golf’s new Rules have been published by The R&A and USGA before they come into effect on 1 January 2019.

For the first time, a new “Player’s Edition” of the Rules of Golf is being introduced to provide a shorter, more user-friendly version of the Rules for golfers at all levels.

This version, which will serve as the primary publication for all golfers, features:

  • A more intuitive organisation with 10 simplified topical groupings
  • A “purpose of the Rule” description at the top of each Rule, to better define why each exists
  • Easy-to-follow, full-colour diagrams and charts 
  • A simpler, more direct writing style.

Two million copies of the Player’s Edition will be distributed by The R&A, all with the support of Rolex. The new book will be translated into more than 30 different languages. The Player’s Edition is being launched alongside the modernised full Rules of Golf book..



David Rickman, executive director of governance at The R&A, said: “We are delighted to be rolling out the modernised Rules of Golf today. This is the biggest set of changes to the Rules in a generation and a major step forward in our efforts to make the Rules, and golf itself, more accessible and more in tune with the way the modern sport is played.”

Thomas Pagel, senior managing director of governance at the USGA, said: “From the project’s inception, our one goal was to make the Rules easier to understand and apply for all golfers.  It sets a new standard in the way we write and interpret the Rules and is central to our efforts to ensure a healthy future for golf. We look forward to continuing that process in the years to come.”

A new Official Guide to the Rules of Golf is also available in digital, on website and app, from today, with a printed version being released in November.

Designed for golf administrators and club officials, the guide features interpretations on specific Rules (which replace the current decisions) and includes the first jointly-produced committee procedures document providing practical guidance to committees for running competitions and overseeing general play.

Another key feature is the Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities. This document is released alongside the Rules of Golf and enables players with disabilities to play fairly with other players with the same or different types of disability and, importantly, with those without disabilities. The modified Rules were developed in close consultation with the community of players with disabilities and disability organisations.

All of the new books are available in digital formats on, and through The R&A and USGA Rules of Golf apps. A range of explanatory videos and resources are available on both websites to enable all golfers to learn about the 2019 Rules.

Extensive educational programs are being conducted around the world, including Australia, to ensure that golfers and administrators throughout amateur and professional golf are ready for the new Rules when they take effect.

The process to modernise the Rules began in 2012 with the aim of making the Rules easier to understand and apply for all golfers and to help make golf more appealing and accessible for newcomers.

Some of the key changes in the new Rules include new procedures for dropping the ball when taking relief, the elimination or reduction of several penalties, relaxed putting green and bunker rules, and rules that encourage improved pace of play.

Golfers are reminded that the current Rules of Golf remain in effect for the remainder of 2018. The Rules of Amateur Status and the Rules of Equipment Standards were not part of the review process.