Foreword – To the 2019 Edition of the Rules of Golf

This book contains the Rules of Golf that will be effective worldwide from January 2019. This edition brings the Rules of Golf up to date to fit the needs of the game today. It is the result of the Rules Modernization Initiative conducted by past and present representatives of the Rules of Golf Committees of The R&A and the USGA, along with representatives from all levels of the game, and reflects feedback from thousands of golfers worldwide.

This work has been fundamental and far-reaching while preserving golf’s essential principles and character, taking account of the needs of all golfers, and making the Rules easier for all golfers to understand and apply. The revised Rules are more consistent, simple and fair.

These Rules look very different from past editions. You will note that they are written in a modern and plain style and language. The layout is designed to be easier to follow and enable you to find what you need. There is increased use of diagrams. Each Rule now has a Purpose Statement to help the reader better understand the principles behind each Rule.

The Rules of Golf must be comprehensive and provide answers to the issues that arise in a game that is played worldwide on many different types of courses by players of all abilities. To assist all golfers we have also created the Player’s Edition, the booklet we expect will be the most used publication both on and off the course. It contains the Rules most relevant to play while on the course and is an abridged version of the full Rules. To assist referees and Committees and others wanting greater detail, we are publishing a new Official Guide containing Interpretations on the Rules of Golf as well as Committee Procedures with recommendations on how to organize general play and competitions. All these publications are available in hard copy or digital versions.

We believe golfers will find the modernized Rules fairer, less complicated, more welcoming, and more aligned with issues facing the game such as improved pace of play and environmental stewardship.

We express our gratitude not only for the tremendous work done by our respective committees and staff, but also to everyone who has contributed to this historic revision.

David Bonsall, Chairman

Rules of Golf Committee, R&A Rules Limited

Mark Reinemann, Chairman

Rules of Golf Committee, United States Golf Association