Most Important Changes

To view the complete set of "Player's Edition of the Rules of Golf" click here


  • Encouragement of Ready Golf  in Stroke Play.
  • Recommended maximum 40 seconds to play a shot.
  • Reduced search time, alternative to stroke & distance and putting with the flagstick in the hole (see below for more details)
  • Players may agree to play out of turn in Match Play.

Detailed videos with written explanations for PACE OF PLAY
  1. Encouraging prompt pace of play during search  

Elimination of 'Ball Moved' penalties

  • No penalty for accidentally moving a ball on the putting green or in searching for a ball.

Detailed videos with written explanations for BALL AT REST
  1. Ball accidentally moved during search  
  2. Ball accidentally moved on Putting Green 
  3. Deciding why a ball moved 
  4. Replacing a ball when the original spot is unknown

Relaxed Putting Green rules

  • No penalty if a ball hits an unattended flagstick in the hole.
  • Players may repair damage to the green, whether their ball is on the green or not. This includes old hole plugs, spike marks and damage made by shoes, animals and maintenance practices.
  • No penalty for touching the line of putt.
  • A ball resting against the flagstick is deemed holed as long as part of the ball is below the surface of the ground.
  • Interference by a Wrong Green now includes the player's stance.

Detailed videos accompanied by additional written explanations for PUTTING GREENS
  1. When to replace a ball that moves on the Putting Green
  2. Repairing damage to the Putting Green
  3. Touching the line of play on the Putting Green
  4. Ball hitting the flagstick on the Putting Green

Relaxed Bunker rules
  • No penalty for moving loose impediments (stones, leaves, etc.) in a bunker or for generally touching the sand with hand or club (but not directly in front or behind the ball or in making a backswing or practice swing).
  • An extra relief option for an unplayable ball, allowing the ball to be played from outside the bunker with a two stroke penalty.

Detailed videos with written explanations for BUNKERS
  1. Touching loose impediments and sand in Bunkers
  2. Unplayable ball in Bunkers

Relaxed rules for Penalty Areas
  • Expanded use of red penalty areas where lateral relief is allowed (used on the 13th hole at MGC).
  • No penalty for moving loose impediments, touching the ground or water or taking a practice swing in a Penalty Area.

Detailed videos accompanied by additional written explanations for PENALTY AREAS
  1. Areas the Committee may mark as Penalty Areas
  2. Touching Loose impediments or ground in Penalty Areas
  3. Elimination of 'opposite side relief' in Red Penalty Areas

Simplified way of Taking Relief
  • New procedure for taking relief by dropping in a specific Relief Area.
  • Ball dropped from knee height and must stay within the Relief Area.

Detailed videos accompanied by additional written explanations for TAKING RELIEF
  1. Measuring the size of the Relief Area
  2. Dropping Procedure
  3. Lateral Relief procedure
  4. 'Back on a line' relief procedure
  5. Where a dropped ball must come to rest
  6. Substituting a ball when taking relief

Lost Ball & Provisional Ball
  • A ball is Lost if not found within 3 minutes of commencing search, although a reasonable amount of additional time is allowed to get to and identify a ball that has been spotted within the 3 minutes.
  • Provisional Ball may be played after the player has moved forward, at any time up to the end of the 3 minute search period.
Detailed videos accompanied by additional written explanations for LOST BALL & PROVISIONAL BALL
  1. Reduced search time for a lost ball

New Definitions
  • Penalty Area - an area from which relief with a 1 shot penalty is allowed (formerly 'Water Hazard'). Still defined as either yellow or red.
  • Relief Area - the area in which the ball must be dropped (and come to rest) when taking relief under a rule.
  • Reference Point - the point from which the size of the Relief Area is measured.
  • General Area - anywhere on the course except Teeing areas, Penalty areas, Bunkers and Greens (formerly 'Through the Green')
  • Temporary Water - formerly 'Casual Water'

Some other changes
  • The honour on the tee is determined by the player with the lowest gross score on the previous hole.
  • No need to announce the intention to lift a ball to identify it or to determine if it is in an abnormal condition (ball must be marked first).
  • A ball may be marked by holding a club behind or to the side of it.
  • Natural objects may be moved to see if they are loose or unattached. If they are found to be attached they must be replaced as close as possible to their original position.
  • No penalty for a multiple hit or if the ball accidentally hits a player.
  • Relief for an embedded ball is available anywhere in the General Area. The Relief Area is 1 club length from a point directly behind the ball.
  • No "opposite side relief" from red Penalty Areas (unless there is a local rule in place - not applicable at MGC).
  • A player may keep using and/or repair any club damaged during the round, no matter what the damage and even if the player damaged it in anger.
  • A player is not allowed to replace a damaged club, except when it is damaged by an outside influence or by someone other than the player or caddie.
  • A new form of Stroke Play called 'Maximum Score' where the maximum score for a hole is set at a specific number (e.g. 8), or twice the par of the hole, or nett double bogey. For example, if the maximum score for a hole is set at 8 and you lose your ball and decide not to complete the hole, your score is entered as 8. Similarly, once you have played 7 (or less) shots you can pick up your ball and record 8 on the scorecard. 

To view the complete set of "Player's Edition of the Rules of Golf" click here