Major Change: Expected Standards of Player ConductGolf's New Rules

New Rule: Rule 1.2a consolidates the expected standards of player conduct:

  • It declares that players are expected to play in the spirit of the game by acting with integrity, showing consideration to others and taking good care of the course.
  • It unequivocally states the Committee’s authority to disqualify a player for any serious misconduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game.
  • In place of the unclear previous concept of “breach of etiquette”, it uses the more direct and stronger phrases “misconduct” and “serious misconduct.”


Rule 1.2b also gives the Committee authority to adopt its own Code of Conduct and to set penalties for its breach.


Reasons for Change:

Golf is a sport in which high standards of conduct are expected from players, and the Rules should declare this in a clear and direct way.

Although the previous Rule book had a separate Etiquette section that covered the most important aspects of the spirit of the game:

  • The priorities and emphasis of this section were unclear, as it also included more general recommendations on a variety of topics, and
  • This section did not have the force of Rules or naturally form part of a Committee’s powers.


Using Rule 1.2a to explain playing in the spirit of the game helps in:

  • Giving more prominence to the expectation that all players act with integrity, show consideration to others and take good care of the course, and
  • Setting expectations so that players are on notice that serious misconduct in failing to meet those expectations could lead to disqualification.