A Simpler Writing Style:
There is a deliberate move away from the legalistic drafting style used in previous editions of the Rules. The new writing style uses more commonly used and spoken words. Where possible, shorter sentences, bulleted lists and additional white space are used. The new style also includes more explanatory headings and easier to read formatting. The Rules of Golf are translated into over 30 languages, and we feel that the simpler, more consistent writing style will make the Rules easier to translate for those undertaking this important task. While our goal has been to make the language less complex, we realise that the Rules need to be clear and accurate to ensure consistency of application, and this does create some limitations on how simple the wording in the book can be.
Referring to the Player as “He or She”:
In the current edition of the Rules, the player is referred to as “he” and there is a statement at the front of the book indicating that this should be understood to include both males and females. The new Rules will now be written to refer to “he or she” throughout.
Using Examples to Explain What the Rules Mean and How They Work:
We are adding examples to many of the Rules to help show what is meant by the words. One such instance is in Rule 6.2 where we state:
“But Rule 6.2 does not apply:
In any situation when a player will play a ball in play that lies in the teeing area (for example, after the player made a stroke at a teed ball and missed it or it came to rest in the teeing area).“
While providing this type of explanatory text increases the length of the Rules, it makes them easier to read and understand, which is the principal aim.
Using Visual Tools to Explain Key Concepts and Procedures:
Even with a simpler style of writing and the use of examples, some key concepts and procedures in the Rules are not easily explained in words. In recognition of this, the new format will include diagrams, illustrations and photos to deal with common situations that lend themselves to visual explanations, such as identifying the nearest point of complete relief and taking relief for an unplayable ball.
Statement of Purpose of Each Rule:
A statement of purpose will be included to give guidance on the key concepts in each particular Rule. This should help golfers understand the background of the Rule they are reviewing. For example, Rule 12 in the Player’s Edition of the Rules concerning bunkers has the following statement describing a bunker and reasoning for the special provisions that apply when a ball lies in a bunker:
Purpose of Rule 12: Rule 12 is a specific Rule for bunkers. A bunker is a specially prepared area intended to test your ability to play a ball from the sand. To make sure you confront this challenge, there are some restrictions on touching the sand before the stroke is made and on where relief may be taken for a ball in a bunker.
The number of golfers and referees accessing the Rules of Golf on smart phones, tablets and computers is increasing all the time. We will continue to explore and embrace technology in presenting the new Rules on various digital platforms, compatible with various electronic devices. Even greater use of links, videos and search capabilities will give fast and efficient access to Rules answers and other explanatory material, on and off the course. We hope to take advantage of technological advances when providing digital resources for the implementation of the new Rules .
If you would like to have a look at the Draft Proposed Rules of Golf for 2019, you can download it in full. Please note that the draft uses US spelling.