Golf’s Governing Bodies Announce Rules Of Golf Revisions For 2016

Adam Helmer/ Golf Canada's Director of Rules and Competitions

Oakville, Ont. – As golf’s governing body in Canada, Golf Canada, in conjunction with the R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA), announce the new revisions to the Rules of Golf for 2016.

In accordance with the Joint Rules Committee’s four-year review cycle of the Rules of Golf, the new changes will come into effect on January 1, 2016.

Along with the R&A and USGA, Golf Canada holds a unique position as the only other governing body that sits on the Joint Rules Committee which carries out the quadrennial review of the Rules of Golf. Golf’s governing bodies are committed to ensure the rules are constantly evolving and relevant to today’s game.

Among the most significant of the changes in the 2016 edition of the Rules are the following:

Withdrawal of Rule on Ball Moving After Address – Rule 18-2b (Ball at Rest Moved by Player, Partner, Caddie or Equipment) has been withdrawn. This means that if a ball at rest moves after the player addresses it, the player is no longer automatically deemed to have caused the ball to move. A one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2 will be applied only when the facts show that the player has caused the ball to move.

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Limited Exception to Disqualification Penalty for Submission of Incorrect Score Card – A new exception has been introduced to Rule 6-6d (Wrong Score for Hole) to provide that a player is not disqualified for returning a lower score for a hole than actually taken as a result of failing to include penalty strokes that the player did not know were incurred before returning the score card. Instead, the player incurs the penalty under the Rule that was breached and must add an additional penalty of two strokes for the score card error. In all other cases in which a player returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken, the penalty will continue to be disqualification.

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Modification of Penalty for a Single Impermissible Use of Artificial Devices or Equipment – The penalty for a player’s first breach of Rule 14-3 (Artificial Devices, Unusual Equipment and Abnormal Use of Equipment) during the round has been reduced from disqualification to loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play. The penalty for any subsequent breach of Rule 14-3 will continue to be disqualification.

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Prohibition on Anchoring the Club While Making a Stroke – As announced in May 2013, the new Rule 14-1b (Anchoring the Club) prohibits anchoring the club either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point” in making a stroke. The penalty is loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play.

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“As the game evolves, the rules need to stay current and every aspect of the game was reviewed during this exhaustive four-year review cycle by the Joint Rules Committee,” said Adam Helmer, Golf Canada’s Director of Rules, Competitions, and Amateur Status. “The ultimate goal when developing a single set of rules for all golfers around the world is to make the game more equitable under all playing conditions, and the feeling is that the 2016 Rules of Golf accomplished that goal.”

The 2016 publication has been designed, published and presented jointly by golf’s governing bodies. The book is reproduced in 36 official languages and distributed to millions of golfers around the world.

Golf Canada has the exclusive right to govern, publish and distribute the Rules of Golf throughout Canada. As the National Sport Federation, Golf Canada will also produce a French edition of the Rules of Golf.

The Rules of Amateur Status also underwent revisions in conjunction with the changes to the Rules of Golf.

Notable changes to the 2016 Rules of Amateur Status include:

Prize Money to Charity – New Rule 3-1b enables an amateur golfer to participate in an event where prize money or its equivalent is donated to a recognized charity, provided the approval of the governing body is first obtained in advance by the organizer.

Golf-Related Expenses – New Rule 4-3 clarifies that an amateur golfer may receive reasonable expenses, not exceeding actual expenses incurred, for non-competition golf-related activities. Former Rule 4-3 becomes Rule 4-4.

Reinstatement to Amateur Status – The recommended guidelines on periods awaiting reinstatement are amended to provide that a period in breach of the Rules of up to six years (previously up to five years) should result in a period awaiting reinstatement of one year.

For the full text of the 2016 Rules of Amateur Status, please click here.

Golf Canada will publish English and French copies of the 2016 Rules of Golf, available January 1, 2016. The companion publication to the Rules of Golf, Decisions on the Rules of Golf will also be available January 1, 2016.

You can pre-order a printed copy of the 2016 version of the Rules of Golf on Golf Canada’s e-store.

More information about the Rules of Golf and Golf Canada’s Rules Education Program, please click here.