The USGA and R&A has just released the 2016 edition of the Rules of Golf, which will go into effect on January 1, 2016. The two organizations update and revise the Rules every four years, and while most people are aware that golfers who use a long putter and anchor it “directly” or “by use of an anchor point” (holding it against their chest or chin, for instance) will have to find a new putter and/or method, there are a few other significant changes, as well:
- Withdrawal of Rule on Ball Moving After Address - Rule 18-2b (Ball Moving after Address) has been withdrawn. This means that if a ball at rest moves after the player addresses it, the player is no longer automatically deemed to have caused the ball to move. A one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2 will be applied only when the facts show that the player has caused the ball to move.
- Limited Exception to Disqualification Penalty for Submission of Incorrect Score Card - A new exception has been introduced to Rule 6-6d (Wrong Score for Hole) to provide that a player is not disqualified for returning a lower score for a hole than actually taken as a result of failing to include penalty strokes that the player did not know were incurred before returning the score card. Instead, the player incurs the penalty under the Rule that was breached and must add an additional penalty of two strokes for the score card error. In all other cases in which a player returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken, the penalty will continue to be disqualification.
- Modification of Penalty for a Single Impermissible Use of Artificial Devices or Equipment - The penalty for a player’s first breach of Rule 14-3 (Artificial Devices, Unusual Equipment and Abnormal Use of Equipment) during the round has been reduced from disqualification to loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play. The penalty for any subsequent breach of Rule 14-3 will continue to be disqualification.
To order the new book, and for much more, including a new “Rules Experience" and videos explaining many Rules, check out the USGA’s website, which is an invaluable tool for all golfers.