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2023 Changes to the Rules of Golf


iacas
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LIBERTY CORNER, N.J., USA, and ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (Nov. 7, 2022) – The USGA and The R&A have unveiled a regular update to the Rules of Golf as they continue to make the Rules easier to understand and apply. The new Rules will go into effect on January 1, 2023.

The 2023 edition continues the modernization process, with an emphasis on both inclusion and sustainability. For the first time, the modified Rules for players with disabilities have been fully incorporated into the playing rules without the need to adopt a local rule. The governing bodies, supported by longstanding partner Rolex, will also promote digital and mobile app access to the Rules while significantly reducing the production and distribution of more than 4 million printed books. 

Several penalties have been relaxed and language has been clarified to help golfers at all levels of play. 

Key changes include:

  • Modifications for Players with Disabilities: The modifications to the Rules for players with disabilities have been made part of the Rules and are in effect for all players who are classified in the categories covered in Rule 25
  • Handicap Usage in Stroke Play: With the continued growth of score-posting technology following the adoption of the World Handicap System™, players are no longer penalized for failing to put their handicap on their scorecard in stroke play. The committee will be responsible for ensuring the accuracy of each player’s handicap.
  • Club Damaged During Round: The Rule has been amended to allow a player to replace a club that is damaged during a round, provided the player did not damage it through abuse.
  • Ball Moved by Natural Forces: A new exception provides that a ball at rest must be replaced if it moves to another area of the course or comes to rest out of bounds after being dropped, placed or replaced.
  • Back-on-the-Line Relief Procedure: The back-on-the-line relief procedure, often used for penalty area and unplayable ball relief, has been simplified so that the player now drops their ball on the line, and the ball must come to rest within one club-length of where it is dropped.

Golfers will be able to learn more about the major changes and review the official 2023 Rules of Golf by visiting www.usga.org/2023Rules and https://www.randa.org/. Full updates to the official Rules of Golf digital applications will be available starting on January 1. 

“The growing popularity of golf continues to guide our decision-making, and modernizing the Rules to promote inclusivity and accessibility is clearly a great step in the right direction,” said Thomas Pagel, USGA Chief Governance Officer. “This latest evolution is especially important to the community of golfers with disabilities, and we hope it will encourage more people to play and enjoy the game.”

Grant Moir, Director of Rules at The R&A, said, “We are continuing to improve and adapt the Rules of Golf to ensure they are in line with the way the modern game is played. That means making the Rules easier to understand and access for all golfers and making the sport more inclusive and welcoming for golfers with disabilities. We are also working to ensure golf has a sustainable long-term future and making more resources available digitally is key to achieving that goal.”

Players are reminded that the current edition of the Rules of Golf (2019) still applies when playing or posting scores for the remainder of 2022.

As an extension of their support of the Rules of Golf worldwide, Rolex has made a commitment to support The R&A’s and the USGA’s efforts to modernize golf’s Rules. The Swiss watchmaker’s contribution to excellence in golf is based on a rich heritage stretching back more than 50 years, forged through pivotal partnerships at every level of the game, from the sport’s leading professional and amateur competitions and organizations to players at the pinnacle of their sport worldwide.


2 minutes ago, iacas said:

Ball Moved by Natural Forces: A new exception provides that a ball at rest must be replaced if it moves to another area of the course or comes to rest out of bounds after being dropped, placed or replaced.

Henceforth known as the "Rickie Fowler at TPC Scottsdale" rule?

The rest of the changes… okay. Not as big as I think people thought they'd be, but not insignificant, either.

Visit here for more: https://www.usga.org/2023Rules

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Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
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16 minutes ago, iacas said:

Henceforth known as the "Rickie Fowler at TPC Scottsdale" rule?

And more recently Charlie Hoffman, but Rickie is a bit more likeable, and reacted with much more dignity.

I got my Rule book a couple weeks ago, in advance of the USGA Workshop in Pinehurst in early December.  I expected some change to the Back on the Line Procedure, thought MLR E-12 might be made permanent, but this is a little different.  At a time when they've been working towards consistency, this is a little bit inconsistent with the other means of taking relief.  Now, in every circumstance (including BOTL), there's a Reference Point and Relief Area.  Under the new rule, there will not be a reference point for BOTL.  Still, its probably an improvement, it will decrease the number of relatively innocent violations.

Edited by DaveP043

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I stumbled on this page for a more complete list and explanation of most of the changes:

https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/2022/rules/2023 ROG - Outcome Changes 2019 vs 2023.pdf

 

Dave

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15 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I stumbled on this page for a more complete list and explanation of most of the changes:

https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/2022/rules/2023 ROG - Outcome Changes 2019 vs 2023.pdf

You "stumbled on" the page that's linked to from https://www.usga.org/2023Rules? 😄

(I'm pointing out the URL again so others can go see the resources linked to from there.)

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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2 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

and reacted with much more dignity.

🤣

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3 hours ago, Rulesman said:

I see wind direction is no longer advice.

I did not see that specific change.  In the "Interpretations" the USGA indicates the following statement is "advice"

  • While a player is setting up to hit his or her shot over a large penalty area filled with water, another player in the group comments, “You know the wind is in your face and it’s 250 yards to carry that water?”

Could you give me a link to the change or direct me to where it is listed?

Brian Kuehn

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6 minutes ago, bkuehn1952 said:

I did not see that specific change.  In the "Interpretations" the USGA indicates the following statement is "advice"

  • While a player is setting up to hit his or her shot over a large penalty area filled with water, another player in the group comments, “You know the wind is in your face and it’s 250 yards to carry that water?”

Could you give me a link to the change or direct me to where it is listed?

The Definition for Advice now specifically excludes wind direction.  Interestingly enough, wind speed is NOT excluded from advice, and you are still not allowed to measure wind speed at the course, or use any "artificial device" to get information about wind speed or direction. 

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5 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

The Definition for Advice now specifically excludes wind direction.  Interestingly enough, wind speed is NOT excluded from advice, and you are still not allowed to measure wind speed at the course, or use any "artificial device" to get information about wind speed or direction. 

Ahh ha! I was looking at the 2022 Rules. I forgot that the changes go into effect 1/1/2023, so the Rules (including Definitions) listed on the USGA site remain the 2022 version (which does not mention wind direction). Thanks for the nudge in the right direction. I now see in the 2023 version the language that you and @Rulesman mentioned.

Edited by bkuehn1952

Brian Kuehn

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6 minutes ago, bkuehn1952 said:

Ahh ha! I was looking at the 2022 Rules. I forgot that the changes go into effect 1/1/2023, so the Rules (including Definitions) listed on the USGA site remain the 2022 version (which does not mention wind direction). Thanks for the nudge in the right direction. I now see in the 2023 version the language that you and @Rulesman mentioned.

Its interesting to me that you can discuss wind direction but not wind speed.  Each one can influence a player's decisions, so I don't see why one can be considered advice, but not the other.  But that's life, I don't always understand stuff.

Dave

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45 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Its interesting to me that you can discuss wind direction but not wind speed.  Each one can influence a player's decisions, so I don't see why one can be considered advice, but not the other.  But that's life, I don't always understand stuff.

I reckon that the direction can be seen and felt by anyone present so is public information. Speed needs some sort of device which may not be available to all.

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43 minutes ago, Rulesman said:

I reckon that the direction can be seen and felt by anyone present so is public information. Speed needs some sort of device which may not be available to all.

I don't know, each of us senses both direction and speed of the wind all the time.  Maybe you're right, in that direction is more easily discerned than speed, but I'm not sure I would make the rule read the way it will in January.  

Dave

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2 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

Its interesting to me that you can discuss wind direction but not wind speed.  Each one can influence a player's decisions, so I don't see why one can be considered advice, but not the other.  But that's life, I don't always understand stuff.

OT I know, but I never understood the obsession with wind, especially at the amateur level. The effect that wind has on your hooking worm-burner is really, really small. But even in the pro ranks, you always see players spend a lot of time agonizing about the wind, looking at flags, clouds, etc. and then looking at their caddies incredulously when their balls end up short or long. Seems like wind measurement and direction can vary so much with height and time that even if you had an anemometer and wind sock on your golf bag, how much would that really help?

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2 hours ago, Rulesman said:

I reckon that the direction can be seen and felt by anyone present so is public information. Speed needs some sort of device which may not be available to all.

Does this help? 🙂 

image.thumb.png.85a81a3f7db16ceb90514f6f01b33189.png

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1 hour ago, DaveP043 said:

I don't know, each of us senses both direction and speed of the wind all the time.  Maybe you're right, in that direction is more easily discerned than speed, but I'm not sure I would make the rule read the way it will in January.  

I'm with you. I think they should have left that alone. The wind can swirl, and many times reading the direction is tougher than reading how strong the wind is blowing.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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16.3b & C. 16.3b/1 (Embedded Ball)

2019: There is no requirement for the reference point to be in the general area. In some situations, relief is not available if no part of the relief area is in the general area.

2023: The reference point must be in the general area. If the spot right behind the ball is not in the general area, the player must find the nearest spot (no closer to the hole) in the general area and use that as the reference point - see Clarification 16.3b/1.

 

This will apply most often, I think, to balls that embed in the sod wall lip of a bunker or just over the bunker in the grass.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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8 hours ago, iacas said:

I'm with you. I think they should have left that alone. The wind can swirl, and many times reading the direction is tougher than reading how strong the wind is blowing.

Agreed but direction is commonly experienced. "It's coming from the right". When the wind is swirling no one can really give advice other than the direction is variable. 

Speed is a different matter. Players may/will have different perceptions of speed but it could be measured accurately and therefore be of more assistance.

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