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For the past five years golf’s governing bodies have been working on a makeover of the Rules of Golf. And here they are. As of 1 January 2019, the results of the first fundamental review in 34 years come into effect. So with the aid of the various resources on this page, we present the information you will need to support your transition to the new Rules (whether you are a golfer, an administrator, or both).

The simple, bite-sized videos and accompanying explanations are an excellent resource and we encourage all golfers to have a look through them. They’re organised into eight categories and, within each item, you will find the main reasons for each change.

But remember, the new Rules aren’t in place until the new year, but it will pay to become familiar with them in advance.

And if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time.

• 1-minute videos on each major change

• Downloadable flyers/posters

• Download the new Rules app

• Online versions of the new Rules of Golf and Player’s Edition

• Interpretations on the Rules

• Committee Procedures

• Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities

Read about all the changes

• Resources coming soon

Your relief area for dropping a ball will be a fixed size of either one or two club-lengths using the longest club in your bag, other than your ... Read more
Your ball must be let go from knee height and fall through the air without touching any part of your body or equipment. Read more
Your ball must come to rest in the relief area where it was dropped, or else it must be redropped. Read more
A fixed distance of the longest club in your bag, other than your putter, will be used for measuring. Read more
In taking lateral relief, you will drop within two club-lengths of where your ball entered the penalty area. The size of a club-length will always be ... Read more
One of your options for relief from either a red or yellow penalty area will be called back-on-the-line relief. Read more
In the new Rules of Golf from January 1, there will be no penalty for accidentally moving your ball during search. Read more
In the new Rules of Golf from January 1, there is no penalty for accidentally moving your ball or ball-marker on the putting green. Read more
When the original location of your ball is not known, replace it on its estimated spot. Read more
New standard to determine if you caused your ball to move. Read more
No penalty if your ball in motion is accidentally deflected by you, your equipment, or your caddie. Read more
Relief allowed without penalty for an embedded ball anywhere (except in sand) in the “general area” (a new term for “through the green”). Read more
For free relief, as well as in penalty situations, players are now entitled to change their ball. Read more
Your ball is lost if not found in three minutes, rather than the current five minutes. Read more
In the new Rules of Golf from January 1, after your ball has been lifted and replaced, you would always replace your ball on its original spot, even ... Read more
Relaxed Rules relating to loose impediments and touching the ground in a bunker. Read more
Repair of almost any damage allowed on the putting green, including spike marks and animal damage. Read more
In the new Rules of Golf from January 1, relief is allowed outside a bunker for an unplayable ball for two penalty strokes. Read more
Relief from a red penalty area no longer allowed on the opposite side from where the ball last entered the penalty area. Read more
Committees are given the discretion to mark any penalty area as red so that lateral relief is always allowed. Read more
No penalty for moving loose impediments, touching the ground, or grounding your club in a penalty area. Read more
Areas of desert, jungle, lava rock, etc. (in addition to areas of water) may now be marked as red or yellow “penalty areas.” Read more
No penalty if your ball played from the putting green (or anywhere else) hits the unattended flagstick in the hole. Read more
No penalty for touching your line of play on the putting green so long as doing so does not improve the conditions for your stroke. Read more
The use of DMDs will be allowed unless a Local Rule has been adopted prohibiting their use. Read more
You will not be allowed to replace a damaged club during a round if you were responsible for the damage. Read more
A club damaged during a round can continue to be used, even if you damaged it in anger. Read more
If your club accidentally strikes your ball more than once during a stroke, there will be no penalty and your ball will be played as it lies. Read more
Your caddie may lift and replace your ball on the putting green without your specific authorization to do so. Read more
A caddie is not allowed to stand on a line behind you while you are taking your stance and until your stroke is made. Read more
A new “maximum score” form of stroke play is recognised, where your score for a hole is capped at a max score. Read more
It is recommended that you play “ready golf” and make each stroke in no more than 40 seconds. Read more
A player’s reasonable judgment will not be second-guessed based on later evidence. Read more
When you have good reason to mark and lift your ball, you are no longer required to first announce your intention. Read more
Committees are given authority to adopt their own code of player conduct and to set penalties for breaches of that code. Read more
The proposed new Rules speak to the high standards of conduct expected from players. Read more


Downloadable flyers/posters

• Click here for a flyer on the main changes
• Click here for a poster that sets out all of the key information a golfer needs to know to be ready when the new Rules take effect

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Download the new Rules app

• Click here to download the Rules of Golf App – iOS
• Click here to download the Rules of Golf App – Android

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Online versions of the new Rules of Golf and Player’s Edition

• Click here to access the online version of the Player’s Edition
• Click here to access the Visual Search function which allows you to visually find the Rule that applies to your situation
• Click here to access the online version of the new Rules of Golf

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Interpretations on the Rules

Click here to access ‘Interpretations on the Rules’ (Interpretations is the new name for Decisions)

Interpretations are provided only for aspects of the Rules that are considered to require additional clarification. However, the vast majority of questions that arise on the course will be answerable solely by reference to the Rules of Golf and so it is recommended that a thorough review of the relevant Rule is undertaken before referring to the Interpretations for guidance.

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Committee Procedures

Click here to access the R&A’s ‘Committee Procedures’ online resource

Contains practical guidance for those involved in running day to day play at golf courses or running competitions at all levels of the game, and includes Model Local Rules that the Committee can adopt to meet local needs.

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Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities

Click here to access the R&A’s ‘Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities’

The Modified Rules allow a player with a disability to play fairly with players who have no disabilities, the same disability or different types of disabilities. The Modified Rules only apply if adopted by the Committee in charge of a competition.

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Resources coming soon

Committee Toolkit

The Committee Toolkit has been designed to help those responsible for preparing the golf course for general play and for those running and administering competitions at all levels.  The “Toolkit” aims to help Committees get to know the Committee Procedures section of the Official Guide, and to better understand the changes that they need to make in advance of 2019 to reflect the new Rules.

The toolkit also includes a ‘Local Rules Creator’.  The purpose of this is to helps Clubs and Committees with the process of updating Local Rules for 2019.  Of course, the amount of space available on scorecards is limited and with that in mind, short form Local Rules are also available.

Top 10 Rules Essentials

The top 10 Rules Essentials will allow every golfer to learn the essentials of the new Rules of Golf in a fun and user-friendly way before playing in 2019.  There will be 10 short videos to explain the most commonly used Rules. These will be made available one by one on social media starting in September, and will then be available in full on the web and app from November.

Rules Academy

The Rules Academy will be updated for the 2019 Rules of Golf. The “Academy” is aimed at all golfers and will use a combination of text, videos and diagrams to help you learn the most important aspects of the Rules.  You will also have the option to take an exam at the end to check that you are 2019-ready.  The Rules Academy is the on-line version of a Level 1 R&A Rules Seminar, which is the first step of the R&A’s three-tier Rules Education programme.

This will be available from October 2018.

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