Scottish Golf Courses

R&A set to pore over feedback on rules before implementation in 2019

Worldwide survey is done... now it's a case of considering the feedback before making changes to the game's rules

Worldwide survey is done... now it’s a case of considering the feedback before making changes to the game’s rules

By Bryce Ritchie

The rules of golf could become less complicated thanks to feedback from more than 22,000 golfers in over 100 countries. That’s because the R&A and the USGA have received comments on the proposed new rules from thousands of golfers, as well as representatives of golf organisations throughout the world, providing valuable feedback as the organisations work toward their implementation on January 1, 2019.

According to the ruling bodies, a worldwide survey and ‘evaluation period’ is now complete. The next step is for both the R&A and USGA to ‘review’ the comments with the goal of finalising the new rules next spring.

A comprehensive ‘education programme’ will then begin later in 2018.


The R&A and the USGA began an extensive review of the rules starting in 2012, with the intention of making them easier to understand and apply.

A draft of the new rules – reduced from the current 34 to a proposed 24 Rules – was released in March, beginning the six-month feedback period that was open to the entire golf community.

David Rickman, Executive Director – Governance at The R&A, said some of the early feedback was ‘insightful’ and that the process was on track.

“It is pleasing to see that so many people from different parts of the world have taken this opportunity to engage with the process of modernising the rules,” said Rickman.

“We have received insightful comments and suggestions from throughout the professional and amateur game and will take time to consider the feedback in detail. We will then work on finalising the changes ahead of their implementation in 2019.”

“After listening to golfers and reviewing the extensive comments, one thing is very clear – we all share a passion for the game and are eager to be a part of this process,” said Thomas Pagel, USGA senior director of Rules and Amateur Status. “We appreciate everyone who took time to provide their thoughts and insights. They have been very helpful and encouraging.”


The current 2016 edition of the Rules of Golf remains in effect when playing, posting scores or competing until the January 1, 2019, adoption of  the new rules.  

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