Date: November 02, 2007

Rules revisions reduce penalties and aid clarity

Revisions to 28 of the 34 Rules of Golf, agreed jointly by The R&A and the United States Golf Association and aimed at improving clarity and reducing penalties to ensure that they are proportionate, will come into effect from January 1, 2008. The R&A has also announced the extension of its sponsorship arrangement with Rolex, supporting publication of the Rules of Golf, until 2012. One of the changes most likely to be encountered by golfers in regular play is Revised Rule 12-2 allowing a player to lift a ball in a bunker or water hazard for identification purposes. There is a consequential change to Rule 15-3, which introduces a penalty for playing the wrong ball in these circumstances. A revision to Rule 4-1 reduces the penalty for carrying, but not using, a non-conforming club from disqualification to, in stroke play, a penalty of two strokes per hole, with a maximum penalty of four strokes per round. In match play, the state of the match is adjusted by deducting one hole for each hole at which a breach occurred, with a maximum penalty of two holes per round. The penalty for the accidental deflection of the ball by the player, his partner, their caddies or equipment is reduced to one penalty stroke in both match and stroke play in a revision to Rule 19-2. R&A Director of Rules and Equipment Standards, David Rickman said: We always aim to make the Rules readily accessible to golfers worldwide and the simpler, clearer language of the 2008 edition is designed to make them easier for players to use. The introduction of a Quick Guide to The Rules at the front of the Rule book will, we think, encourage players to carry a Rule book with them on the course and to refer to it, when necessary. Rolex sponsored the 30th revision of the Rules of Golf in 2004 and has renewed the commitment to supporting the publication until 2012. Head of Sponsorship for Rolex, Jean-Noel Bioul said: The support from Rolex of The R&A Rules of Golf fits perfectly into the overall philosophy and the values Rolex is proud to endorse through its portfolio of golf activities. Golf requires precision, skill and pursuit of excellence. These are qualities which Rolex shares and admires. The R&A is planning to produce four million copies of the rule book in English while Golf Unions affiliated to The R&A reproduce the Rules of Golf under license in more than 25 other languages. Companion publications, Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2008-2009 and Golf Rules Illustrated 2008, are to be published in November by Hamlyn and will be available from your state association in December. Orders can be placed with your state association now. Copies of the new R&A Rules of Golf will be available from your state association, please contact them for further details or download a copy here. link title