October 01, 2018

2019 Rules of Golf - The Game & Player Conduct

Rule 1 - The Game, Player Conduct and the Rules

January 1st is quickly approaching and the new modernized Rules of Golf will be in effect, so now is a good time to start learning them!

Rule 1 – The Game, Player Conduct and the Rules

The first rule introduces three central principles of the game of golf.

  1. Play the course as you find it and the ball as it lies.
  2. Play by the Rules and in the spirit of the game.
  3. Players are responsible for applying their own penalties so they do not gain any potential advantage. (Unlike other sports where penalties are applied by a referee, official, judge or umpire)

A big change in this Rule is the addition of the Standards of Player Conduct. In the past, the section on etiquette and player conduct was in the front of the Rule Book, but not in a Rule. Player Conduct is such an important part of the game that the writers added it in the first Rule of golf.

The three pillars of player conduct are: 1) acting with integrity, 2) showing consideration to other, and 3) taking good care of the course. There is no penalty under the Rules for failing to act in this way; however, the Committee may disqualify a player for acting contrary to the spirit of the game.

Another big change in this Rule is allowing the Committee to set its own Code of Conduct through adopting a Local Rule. For example, a Committee could adopt a Code of Conduct that states that players must fill divot holes with sand, repair ball marks made by the player and rake bunkers after exiting. The penalty for a breach of the Code of Conduct is: First Offense – Warning; Second Offense – One stroke penalty; Third Offense – Two Stroke Penalty; Fourth Offense – DQ.

This Rule details that the game of golf is much different from other sports in that players are responsible for knowing the Rules and applying them correctly. Additionally, we must accept a player’s “reasonable judgment” in estimating where a ball crossed the edge of a penalty area, measuring when dropping or placing a ball, and when replacing a ball on its original spot. If the player used “reasonable judgment” then we must accept it even if it is proved wrong by video evidence or other information.

Click here to read the complete Rule 1 and additional information.

Please remember that these modernized Rules go in effect on January 1st.

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