The R&A and the USGA have produced the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf as a reference book designed for those involved in the administration of golf at all levels of the game.The latest edition of the Rules is a result of the Rules Modernization initiative, which has been fundamental and far-reaching, bringing the Rules up to date to fit the needs of the game today, while preserving golf’s essential principles and character.
The Rules of Golf with Interpretations
The first section of the Official Guide focuses on the Rules of Golf effective from January 2019.The Rules of Golf are reproduced in full in the Official Guide, and presented on a shaded background for ease of reference.
The Rules are supplemented by Interpretations, which are located directly under the sub-Rule they relate to, and appear on a white background so that they are easily distinguished from the Rules.
The vast majority of questions that arise on the course will be answerable solely by reference to the Rules of Golf. It is strongly recommended that a thorough review of the relevant Rule is undertaken before referring to the Interpretations for guidance on a specific point. Interpretations are provided only for aspects of the Rules that are considered to require additional clarification, which is then provided by way of explanation and, in many cases, using examples.
For users of the Official Guide who have been familiar with the former “Decisions on the Rules of Golf”, you will find that a large number of the Decisions from that publication, particularly those that contained important points of principle, now form part of the Rules of Golf. This has been one of the key features of the modernization of the Rules.
The second section, entitled “Committee Procedures”, contains practical guidance for those involved in running day to day play at golf courses or running competitions at all levels of the game. It is divided into guidance for “general play” (when the Committee is not running a competition) and guidance for “competitions”, while recognizing that the two often overlap.
The Committee Procedures is a compendium of information that was previously contained in a variety of different publications, but which has now been brought together to provide a much more accessible, user- friendly guide to all aspects of Rules-related golf administration.
The role of the Committee, how to mark and set up the course, establishing the Terms of the Competition and Local Rules, starting and scoring, pace of play policies and establishing a code of conduct are just some of the subjects that are covered in the Committee Procedures. Section 8 in the Committee Procedures provides Model Local Rules that Committees can adopt to meet local needs, and also provides important guidance relating to the introduction of Local Rules that differ from the Model Local Rules.
There is a very detailed Contents page for the Committee Precedures (see page 369), which should enable the reader to locate specific items.
The Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities
The Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities are reproduced in the final section of the Official Guide.The goal of The R&A and the USGA in producing these Modified Rules is to allow a player with a disability to play fairly with players who have no disabilities, the same disability or different types of disabilities.The R&A and the USGA have received valuable input from the community of players with disabilities, disability organizations and other sources to identify modifications that are fair and appropriate from all perspectives.