Focus on What the Player Needs to Know:
The new Rule book will focus on what the typical player needs to know. Information that is only relevant to Committees who organise competitions or oversee the golf course is moved to a separate “Committee Procedures” document sitting outside the Rules of Golf. For example, that document will cover all matters about running a competition (such as giving out score cards) and about adopting Local Rules and their recommended wording. The “Committee Procedures” document is currently in draft form, and we hope to share the draft at a later stage of the process.
Number of Rules Reduced from 34 to 24:
This has been achieved by restructuring the Rules, combining certain relief procedures and removing the Committee specific information. The basic Rules for individual match play and individual stroke play are covered in Rules 1-20. Other forms of play (including those involving play with a partner) are covered in Rules 21 to 24.
Moving Key Decisions into the Rules:
It has been a valid criticism that there are some “hidden Rules” that are found only in the Decisions book. An example would be the current Decisions dealing with restoring conditions that are altered after a player’s ball has come to rest (such as the specific case when another player’s stroke from a bunker deposits sand on the player’s ball lying just off the putting green); nothing in the current Rules themselves alerts the player to the fact that he or she is entitled to the relief of restoring the situation back to the way it was. To address this concern, we are moving the contents of more than 100 key Decisions into the body of the Rules. This approach makes the Rule book itself longer, but reducing the word count in the book is much less important than allowing the reader to find all Rule answers in a single document.
The traditional “question and answer” Decisions book will be replaced with a “Handbook”. The Handbook will give organised explanatory guidance on each Rule where needed rather than using “Decisions” as the sole method of providing interpretations of the Rules. The Handbook is currently in early draft form, and we hope to share the draft at a later stage of the process.