The Royal Canadian Golf Association (Golf Canada) has announced the publication of the new Rules of Golf for 2012-15.
Following a four-year review of golf’s 34 playing rules, nine principal rules have been amended to improve clarity and ensure penalties are proportionate. Notable changes include:
Ball Moving After Address (Rule 18-2b). A new exception is added which exonerates the player from penalty if the ball moves after it has been addressed, when it is known or virtually certain that the player did not cause the ball to move. For example, if it is a gust of wind that moves the ball after it has been addressed, there is no penalty and the ball is played from its new position.
Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions (Rule 13-4). Exception two to this rule is amended to permit a player to smooth sand or soil in a hazard at any time, including before playing from that hazard, provided it is for the sole purpose of caring for the course and Rule 13-2 (improving lie, area of intended stance or swing or line of play) is not breached.
Time of Starting (Rule 6-3a). The rule is amended to provide that the penalty for starting late, but within five minutes of the starting time, is reduced from disqualification to loss of the first hole in match play or two strokes at the first hole in stroke play. Previously, this penalty reduction could be introduced as a condition of competition.
“Fundamentally, the Rules of Golf will remain the same,” said Brent McLaughlin, Golf Canada’s director of rules, competitions, and amateur status.
“The Joint Rules Committee conducted an extensive review and substantive changes were kept to a minimum,” added McLaughlin.
“The Rules of Golf are constantly reviewed and our hope is that the 2012-15 publication is clear to golfers and reflective of the demands of the modern game,” he said.
The Rules of Amateur Status also underwent revision with the most notable change relating to hole-in-one prizes.
Until now, prizes for holing a tee shot in amateur golf have been subject to the same restrictions as other competitions.
However, a Rule change which acknowledges the special nature of a hole in one during a round of golf means that restrictions on the prizes offered have been lifted.
The RCGA will publish in English and French a total of 85,000 copies of the Rules of Golf 2012-15, available which will be available on January 1.
A companion publication to the Rules of Golf, Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2012 – 2013 will also be available January 1.
More information about the Rules of Golf can be found by clicking here.