Our Process for Developing the New Rules

In 2012 a working group of USGA and R&A Rules staff, committee members, professional tour officials, and other Rules experts was set up to examine both the substance of the Rules and how they are written. (This review did not encompass specifications for clubs and balls, which are handled in our separate Equipment Standards process.) The proposed changes are the culmination of five years of work and have been approved by both of our Rules of Golf Committees and our respective boards.

As work progressed on this initiative, we talked with many different people and organisations to alert them and to get their preliminary reactions, including:

  • Leaders and rules officials from organisations with key roles in professional or amateur golf, such as the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA, Ladies’ European Tour, PGA of America, Augusta National Golf Club and national, regional and state golf associations, and
  • Golfers at all levels of the game (both individually and in focus groups), including professionals and elite amateurs, long-time regular golfers and beginners.

In the next several months, we are seeking your feedback about the proposed Rule changes and revised ways of presenting the Rules, as follows:

  • We will continue to meet with interested golf organisations and groups of golfers around the world to hear their thoughts about these proposed changes.
  • For anyone who wishes to respond individually, we have created a feedback mechanism for receiving comments. You can follow the link to take the feedback survey.
  • We also expect to try various ways to see how well the new Rules work on the course, and we encourage others to do so as well.

This will be an informal process in which we listen to and consider the input that we receive in many different ways, as we continue to assess and then finalise these revisions.

Implementation of the New Rules in 2019

We intend the new Rules to go into effect on 1 January 2019. The anticipated process and schedule between now and then is as follows:

  • Now through the end of August 2017 – Receive feedback and continue to evaluate the Rule changes.
  • September 2017 to early 2018 – Finish work on the Rule changes and the draft Rule book and obtain final approval from our Rules of Golf Committees and boards.
  • Remainder of 2018 – Complete and publish the full Rules of Golf, Player’s Edition, Handbook, Committee Procedures and other materials; facilitate the translation of these materials; finish work on a new Rules app and other means of electronic delivery; and educate golfers and officials at all levels of the game.