New Rules of Golf to be implemented in January 2019


12 March 2018, St Andrews, Scotland and Liberty Corner, N.J., USA: The USGA and The R&A have unveiled the new Rules of Golf, to be implemented on 1 January 2019.

The USGA and The R&A finalised golf’s new Rules this month after an extensive review that included a request for feedback from the global golf community on the proposed changes. Golfers can now access the official 2019 Rules of Golf by visiting or

The process to modernise the Rules began in 2012 and was initiated to ensure that the Rules are easier to understand and apply for all golfers and to make the game more attractive and accessible for newcomers.

As the National Sport Federation and governing body, Golf Canada worked alongside The R&A and the USGA on the Rules modernisation initiative.

While the majority of proposed Rules remain intact in the final version, several important changes to the initial proposals and further clarification of many Rules were incorporated. The most significant adjustments made following the review of feedback received from golfers around the world, includes:

“We’re thankful for the golfers, administrators and everyone in the game who took the time to provide us with great insight and thoughtful feedback,” said USGA Senior Director of Rules & Amateur Status, Thomas Pagel. “We couldn’t be more excited to introduce the new Rules ahead of their education and implementation.”

David Rickman, Executive Director – Governance at The R&A, said, “We are pleased to be introducing the new Rules of Golf after a collaborative and wide-ranging review process which has embraced the views of golfers, rules experts and administrators worldwide. We believe that the new Rules are more in tune with what golfers would like and are easier to understand and apply for everyone who enjoys playing this great game.”


“The approach and process to modernise the Rules was critical to make meaningful changes that are relevant to all golfers worldwide beginning in 2019,” said Golf Canada Director of Rules, Competitions & Amateur Status, Adam Helmer. “We are confident that the outcome of this important initiative will be well received, and we will work closely with our club, provincial and national partners to inform and educate Canadian golfers.”


Major proposals introduced in 2017 that have been incorporated into the modernised Rules include:



Presented in digital, text-based form today, the new Rules will also now be translated into more than 30 languages and readied for final delivery via print and digital formats, including searchable Rules of Golf official apps developed by The R&A and the USGA. The full version of the new Rules of Golf in French will be available soon and posted on Golf Canada’s Rules of Golf website at

Three important publications, to be distributed this September, will help players and officials, who regulate the game, and provide interpretation and guidance in how the Rules are applied:

More than 30 “how-to apply” videos and a summary of the principal changes are now available at and  Additional education tools will be released in September.

Players are reminded that the current edition of the Rules of Golf (2016) must be applied when playing, posting scores or competing for the remainder of 2018. The Rules of Amateur Status and the Rules of Equipment Standards were not part of this review process.

As an extension of their support of the Rules of Golf worldwide, Rolex has made a commitment to support The R&A and the USGA’s efforts to modernise golf’s Rules. The Swiss watchmaker’s contribution to excellence in golf is based on a rich heritage stretching back more than 50 years, forged through pivotal partnerships at every level of the game, from the sport’s leading professional and amateur competitions and organisations, to players at the pinnacle of their sport worldwide.


Notes to Editors:

About The R&A

Based in St Andrews, The R&A runs The Open, elite amateur events, international matches and rankings. Together The R&A and the USGA govern the sport of golf worldwide, operating in separate jurisdictions but sharing a commitment to a single code for the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status and Equipment Standards. The R&A, through R&A Rules Ltd, governs the sport worldwide, outside of the United States and Mexico, on behalf of over 36 million golfers in 143 countries and with the consent of 155 organisations from amateur and professional golf.

The R&A is committed to working for golf and supports the growth of the sport internationally and the development and management of sustainable golf facilities.  For more information, visit

About the USGA

The USGA conducts the US Open, US Women’s Open, US Senior Open and the US Senior Women’s Open, as well as 10 amateur championships and international matches, attracting players and fans around the world. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status and equipment standards and with a working jurisdiction in the United States, its territories and Mexico, and administers the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

The USGA is one of the world’s foremost authorities on research, development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and invests in the development of the game through the delivery of its services and the work of the USGA Foundation. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents.  For more information, visit

Media Contacts:

Mike Woodcock, Director of Corporate Communications, The R&A; +44(0)7584 071246

Janeen Driscoll, USGA Director of Communications; 910-690-9711

Dan Pino, Director of Communications, Golf Canada; 416-434-5525