Global Edition

Golf’s Modernised Rules And New Player’s Edition Published

6.40pm 15th September 2018 - Management Topics

Golf’s new Rules have been published by The R&A and the USGA ahead of coming into effect on 1 January 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.

All of the new books are available in digital formats on, and through The R&A and USGA Rules of Golf apps. A range of explanatory videos and resources are available on both websites to enable all golfers to learn about the 2019 Rules.

Extensive educational programmes are being conducted around the world, with the assistance of national and regional associations, to ensure that golfers and administrators throughout amateur and professional golf are ready for the new Rules when they take effect on 1 January.

The process to modernise the Rules began in 2012 with the aim of making the Rules easier to understand and apply for all golfers and to help make golf more appealing and accessible for newcomers.

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.

Golfers are reminded that the current Rules of Golf remain in effect for the remainder of 2018. The Rules of Amateur Status and the Rules of Equipment Standards were not part of the review process.

As an extension of their support of the Rules of Golf worldwide, Rolex has made a commitment to support The R&A and the USGA’s efforts to modernise golf’s Rules. The Swiss watchmaker’s contribution to excellence in golf is based on a rich heritage stretching back more than 50 years, forged through pivotal partnerships at every level of the sport, from the leading professional and amateur competitions and organisations to players at the pinnacle of their sport worldwide.

Rules of Golf 2019

  • The R&A will publish in English a total of 2 million copies of the Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf effective 2019, with 1.4 million printed in the UK and 600,000 in Australia. The UK print run will cover Great Britain and Ireland and all international deliveries, excluding Australia and New Zealand. The Player’s Edition will be delivered to 99 worldwide destinations. Approximately 800,000 copies have been distributed among over 3,000 clubs and societies in Great Britain and Ireland.
  • Almost 65,000 copies of the full Rules of Golf have been produced, with copies going to clubs and societies in Great Britain and Ireland, and to national associations around the world.
  • Copies of the Rules of Golf are reproduced under licence in 38 languages, in addition to English: Arabic, Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese (simplified), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, French Canadian, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazilian), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, Spanish (South American), Swedish, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese.
  • Rolex’s relationship with The R&A dates back to 1978 when the company first began to support The Open Championship. In addition to the Rules of Golf, Rolex also support the Amateur Championship, the Walker Cup and the Junior Open. Rolex also sponsors the British Golf Museum and is the presenting patron of the Senior Open.
  • Companion publication to the Rules, the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf, is published in November 2018 by Hamlyn and is available from high street and online bookstores.
  • In addition, the Rules of Golf, the Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf and all the additional content from the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf, is available on The R&A’s website and as an R&A Rules of Golf App, free of charge.
  • The R&A Rules of Golf App also includes the content in Spanish, with more languages to follow.

The R&A



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