New interpretations of the Rules of Golf will allow the use of distance measuring devices by Local Rule and also empower committees to accept, as an “administrative error”, cards where the correct score has been entered on the wrong card.
The R&A and the United States Golf Association have announced these changes among 111 amendments to the book Decisions on the Rules of Golf. Published every two years, the new edition becomes effective for all golfers from January 1, 2006.
Mark Roe and Jesper Parnevik were disqualified at the 2003 Open Championship at Royal St George’s for entering their correct scores on the wrong scorecards. In the future, committees will be allowed to correct such an error without penalty. Revised Decision 6-6d/4 gives a committee the power to strike the wrong name from an otherwise correctly completed score card and add the correct name, without limit of time.
Another New Decision (16-1e/2) helps the player who inadvertently makes a putting stroke with both feet square on to the hole, often to avoid taking a stance on another player’s line of putt. In this instance the player will not be penalised under Rule 16-1e, which was framed to prevent “croquet style” putting.
A significant revision to Decision 4-3/1 has also been made. A change in the interpretation of what is considered to be the “normal course of play” will allow the repair or replacement of a damaged club, provided that the club was not abused.
Each year The R&A and the USGA receive thousands of requests to clarify the Rules for incidents that have occurred throughout the world at all levels of the game. With changes to the Rules of Golf established on a four year rolling cycle, the facility to publish official interpretations of the Rules in the Decisions book every two years, in response to events, is helpful to the game. The book contains over 1200 individual Decisions, which are set out in question and answer format.
The 2006-2007 Decisions on the Rules of Golf, published by Hamlyn, includes 37 new and 66 revised Decisions, while eight have been withdrawn. The new edition is to be published on November 15, 2005, priced £14.99 and will be available from bookshops and from www.randa.org