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 final changes are the culmination of six 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.

On 1 March 2017, details of the proposed changes, including a full draft of the proposed Rules of Golf were made public. This was the first time that the golfing public had been given the opportunity to provide views on proposed changes to the Rules of Golf, and they were encouraged to do so via a feedback survey.

Since 1 March 2017, we have listened to the feedback received, while refining the proposals and continuing to talk with leaders and rules officials from golfing organisations worldwide.

These discussions assisted us in finalising the Rules of Golf for 2019.

Implementation of the New Rules in 2019

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

  • Publish the Rules of Golf, complete and publish the Player’s Edition, The Official Guide to the Rules of Golf, The Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities 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.

Golfers will continue to play by the current Rules until the new code takes effect on 1 January 2019 when all the necessary supporting materials will be available.