Golf’s modernised rules book is published

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir September 8, 2018 14:29

The new Rules of Golf, which feature the most significant changes in more than 60 years, have been published by The R&A and the USGA.

They will come into effect on January 1, 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 of the sport. This version, which will serve as the primary publication for all golfers, features:

  • A more intuitive organisation with ten simplified topical groupings
  • A ‘Purpose of the Rule’ description at the top of each rule, to better define why the rule 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 in the United States and its territories and Mexico by the USGA and a similar number in the rest of the world 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, which includes some of the most significant changes made to the Rules in more than 60 years.

David Rickman, Executive Director – 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, 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.

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.

For more information, visit


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir September 8, 2018 14:29
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  1. golfersauthority September 16, 03:44

    What a great article on the updated rules of Golf. There are so many changes coming up this year that all players should be aware of, especially if they are playing competitively or in local tournaments. I recently wrote a 5000-word blog post on the rules of golf emphasizing the key rules of the game for beginners, as well as more experienced players who may have forgotten. We would love to know your thoughts.

    Reply to this comment
  2. golf_goak September 13, 19:36

    Your link to doesn’t seem to work

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