Golf is a sport widely recognized for its complexity. Players have the goal of putting a ball into the different holes of the course, but first, they have to overcome a series of difficulties. It is a game that arouses admiration and truly requires a lot of training to become a master.
However, it seems that the R&A (The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews) and the USGA (The United States Golf Association) have perceived this difficulty and have decided to simplify the understanding of the game. Do you want to know the new changes in the rules of golf? Pay attention to everything we have to tell you.
The 5 golf rule changes you need to know about
Officially, the R&A and the USGA have published information to update the Rules of Golf. The objective is to facilitate the understanding and application for beginners trying to get into a game as complex as golf. The Royal Spanish Golf Federation has indicated that the changes came into effect from January 1st, 2023.
Since 2019, golf has begun to go through a process of modernization to boost inclusion and sustainability. A sport that is in full growth, needs to adapt the language of the game so that understanding extends to beginner circles and that is why they have decided to soften several infractions. Here are the most important changes.
Modifications for disabled players
The so-called Rule 25, a set of rules for handicapped players, is part of the rules and comes into effect for all competitions and all players who are part of the categories described in the new Rule 25.
Detailed information on Rule 25
Rule 25 modifies a number of standards for the following disability categories:
- Blind players. This category includes certain levels of visual impairment.
- Amputee players. Applies to players who have lost limbs, but also to all players with limb deficiencies.
- Players using assistive mobility devices.
- Players with intellectual disabilities.
It is relevant to note that there are players with other disabilities such as neurological conditions, orthopedic conditions, short players or deaf players, but they are not covered by Rule 25. This is because, to date, no requirement for modification of the rules of golf has been identified for these players.
Use of handicap in stroke play
Stroke play is known as stroke play and since the scoring systems have been modernized, players will no longer be required to write their handicap on their scorecard. This has happened, in part, because of the adoption of the World Handicap System. It will now be up to the Committee to calculate each player’s handicap strokes for the competition and thus evaluate the net result.
Damaged pole during the turn
Currently, players may exchange a damaged club during a round, as long as it has not been damaged by abuse. Above all, the rules of golf seek to be more flexible, but always with fair play in mind.
Ball moved by natural forces
With the changes in the rules of golf, an exception is established: if a ball that is at rest moves to another area of the course, it may be put back. The same applies if a ball goes to rest out of bounds after being dropped, placed or put back.
Backward line relief procedure
This procedure, which was usually used for the relief of a penalty area and an unplayable ball, has been modified. Currently, the method is simpler, since the player must drop their ball on the line and it can roll up to the length of a course in any direction.
You don’t have to worry about these new rules because the Rules Committee of the Royal Spanish Golf Federation has made the main changes available to all members. And if you want to have them more at hand, we tell you that you can download an app on your cell phone. The app is called “Rules of Golf 2023” and comes directly from R&C.
So, if you are thinking of taking the step to the course, on behalf of the Los Naranjos Golf Club we encourage you to seize the moment. The simplification of the rules is an ideal framework to start with this sport if you are a beginner.