Foreword – To the 2023 Edition of the Rules of Golf

Welcome to the Rules of Golf effective from January 2023 for golfers worldwide. This new edition, while adhering to the principles that have always guided The R&A and USGA in governing the game, continues the modernisation process that began a decade ago in providing plain language, a practical approach and intuitive answers. Our ongoing strategy remains to make the Rules more consistent, simple, accessible and, where possible, less penal.

The principal changes are listed on Pages 15 and 16. You will see that the Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities are now incorporated in the main body of the Rules as Rule 25. This important development reflects our commitment to ensuring that the game welcomes all those who wish to participate and compete.

A number of the latest revisions are designed to assist referees and committees in applying the Rules, while keeping the player as the primary focus. We have increased the use of diagrams to illustrate their application and simplified many of the penalty statements.

Helpful information has also been transferred from the Clarifications into the relevant Rule. The retained Clarifications remain located in the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf and are now considerably reduced in number. Updates to these will continue to be released quarterly on the R&A and USGA websites.

The information provided in the Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf, which was introduced four years ago as a separate publication, is now provided in digital form, reflecting the way in which we source information and assisting in the drive to decrease our global carbon footprint by reducing hard copy printing and distribution. Our digital offerings contain numerous explanatory videos and diagrams, along with answers to frequently asked questions. All are aimed to assist in applying the Rules in situations most commonly encountered by players everywhere. Locating the required information is made easier through newly enhanced search functions.

We express our grateful thanks for the wide ranging and rigorous work undertaken by our respective committees and staff in producing this new edition of the Rules of Golf and to all others who have made a contribution during the extraordinary and challenging circumstances created by the worldwide pandemic.


Doug Norval, Chairman

Rules of Golf Committee, R&A Rules Limited

Kendra B. Graham, Chairman

Rules of Golf Committee, United States Golf Association