In 2019 there were many significant changes to the Rules of Golf. It took a while to get used to dropping the ball from knee-height rather than shoulder-height, putting with the flagstick still in the hole (if desired) and only having three minutes to search for a lost ball (obviously one of my playing partner’s balls… mine were always in the middle of the fairway… I wish!!!) There were other rule changes that made life easier, such as removing penalties for double hits and the ball hitting your equipment or body – all very sensible, however there was a lot to remember, so when I saw in November that new rules were being introduced in 2023 I was filled with dread! On closer inspection I realised that there’s little to be scared of.
Grant Moir, Director of Rules at The R&A, said, “We are continuing to improve and adapt the Rules of Golf to ensure they are in line with the way the modern game is played. That 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 that goal.”
Watch this 4-minute video of Grant Moir (R&A) and his counterpart from the USGA outline the major changes and explain the rationale behind them.
Previously, when the Rules were changed, the R&A sent hundreds of copies of the new Rule Book to each golf club, so that every member could have his/her own copy. In the video “sustainability” was mentioned several times – you won’t receive your own printed copy this time, as the R&A and USGA have decided to make everyone “go digital”.
They are encouraging all members to download the “Rules of Golf” App: https://www.randa.org/rules/rules-app
If you already have this App on your phone or tablet, you’ll need to update it – mine didn’t prompt me to do this! You’ll need to click on the link above to update it.
If you simply want to spend a few hours studying the rules, then this link will provide you with what you need: https://www.randa.org/rog/the-rules-of-golf