The Rules of Golf specify the equipment which may be used to play the game. These specifications can be found in Rule 4 and Appendix II for golf clubs and Rule 5 and Appendix III for golf balls. In general, they are 'descriptive' and 'restrictive' in nature – defining what a golf club should look like and how far a golf ball can travel.
In an historical context, the game of golf has seen progressive developments in the clubs and balls available to golfers who, through almost six centuries, have sought to improve their playing performance and enjoyment.
While generally welcoming this progress, in 1924 The R&A issued a statement which "deplored that players, instead of trying to master the use of golf clubs, should endeavour to overcome difficulties of the game by using implements which have never been associated with it".
More recently, in a written 'statement of principles' published jointly by the international governing bodies, The R&A and the USGA, it was acknowledged that "History has proved that it is impossible to foresee the developments in golf equipment which advancing technology will deliver." However, both The R&A and the USGA remain vigilant when considering the equipment Rules. The main objective of Rules 4 and 5 and Appendices II and III is to protect golf's best traditions, to prevent an over-reliance on technological advances rather than skill, and to ensure that skill is the dominant element of success throughout the game.
It is the role of The R&A's Equipment Standards Committee to interpret and apply the Rules relevant to clubs and balls, and to determine and advise which conform to the Rules and which do not. This Committee is also responsible for recommending modifications to these Rules, if and when changes are believed to be necessary.
All clubs submitted by Australian manufacturers to The R&A are retained for future reference and, collectively with clubs submitted from all over the world, they form an amazing array of unusual designs and ingenious mechanisms – including a putter head in the shape of a motor car and a shaft which doubles up as a spirit-level.
In addition to new and amended club designs, Australian manufacturers should also submit golf balls to The R&A for testing and, if ruled conforming, such balls are entered onto the List of Conforming Golf Balls which is updated on a monthly basis.
In these subsections, you will find various equipment information which is relevant to Australian golfers and competition committees. An array of detailed information relating to equipment can also be found on The R&A website.
DISTANCE MEASURING DEVICES
“Can I use my Distance Measuring Device?”
The R&A periodically issues a List of Conforming Driver Heads that lists driving clubheads that have been evaluated and found to conform with the Rules of Golf.
View the List of Conforming Driver Heads and the List of Non-Conforming Drivers
The R&A periodically issues a List of Conforming Golf Balls that lists balls that have been tested and found to conform with the Rules of Golf.
View information regarding the regulations on golf balls (including the List of Conforming Golf Balls).