The R&A has today published the most revised edition of the playing rules for twenty years. Each one of the thirty-four rules that govern play has been amended, with the emphasis on making the rules easier to understand for all golfers.
The Rules of Golf, now in its 30th edition, is published as a unified code every four years by the R&A and the USGA.
Commenting on the changes, which are effective from 1st January 2004, R&A Rules Secretary David Rickman said, “In an essentially self-regulating sport, players need the rules readily available and as simple to understand as we can make them. Our latest revision benefits from expert linguistic advice and players will see more plain language in the new pocket sized book. This is the biggest change in content and presentation of the rules for twenty years and, whilst the rules remain detailed and precise, we have clarified and simplified them where possible.”
Announcing the new sponsor of the R&A Rules of Golf publication, R&A Assistant Secretary Michael Tate added, “We are delighted that Rolex, a Patron of The Open Championship, has also agreed to sponsor the Rules of Golf. Their support means we can make rule books available free of charge to golfers around the world.”
The R&A produces 4m copies of the rule book in English and in audio CD format for visually impaired players. Golf Unions affiliated to the R&A, reproduce the Rules of Golf under licence in more than twenty other languages in addition to English: Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Farsi (Iran), French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, siSwati (Swaziland) and Swedish.
In addition to language improvements throughout, other major changes include an expanded Etiquette section, with the ultimate sanction of disqualification for a serious breach; the dropping of Rule 18-2c covering the removal of loose impediments, which has stood for over 100 years; and a new ruling on club length and clubhead size, designed to draw a line in the sand for future technology developments.
The R&A and the USGA were jointly advised on the language used in the new Rules of Golf publication by Professor Kenneth Chapman, a linguistics expert and author of “The Rules of The Green”, a history of the rules of golf published by Virgin Books (1997).
Companion publications to the R&A Rules of Golf, Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2004 -2005 and Golf Rules Illustrated 2004 are published next month (November 2003) by Hamlyn and are available priced £14.99 €21.50 from the R&A, high street and online bookstores.
The R&A will conduct a series of Rules of Golf seminars based on the revised rules of play, for national golf unions, in Japan, New Zealand and Australia before the end of the year (2003), Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador in the new year and in several African and European countries in the Spring and Autumn (2004).
Copies of the new R&A Rules of Golf will be distributed free of charge to golf clubs around the world and can be requested or downloaded from the R&A website www.randa.org.
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