If you thought that nobody cared about the Rules of Golf, clearly you’re wrong.
The United States Golf Association and the R&A have revealed that since they released their proposed new Rules of Golf in March for a six-month feedback period, the response has been massive.
To date they say they have received comments on the proposed new Rules from more than 22,000 golfers in 102 countries around the world along with feedback from representatives of many golf organizations.
The governing bodies began a review of the Rules starting in 2012, leading to a draft of 24 rules (reduced from 34) this past Spring.
Their goal is to have them finalized by next Spring and then undertake an eduction program for stakeholders, leading to implementation on January 1, 2019.
“After listening to golfers and reviewing the extensive comments, one thing is very clear – we all share a passion for the game and are eager to be a part of this process,” said Thomas Pagel, USGA senior director of Rules and Amateur Status. “We appreciate everyone who took time to provide their thoughts and insights. They have been very helpful and encouraging.”
David Rickman, Executive Director – Governance at The R&A, said, “It is pleasing to see that so many people from different parts of the world have taken this opportunity to engage with the process of modernizing the Rules. We have received insightful comments and suggestions from throughout the professional and amateur game and will take time to consider the feedback in detail. We will then work on finalizing the changes ahead of their implementation in 2019.”
While the full slate of comments is still under review it as been revealed that certainly areas of the Rules are more important than others, based on the feedback.
The USGA and R&A summarized:
“Golfers are enthusiastic about the scope and direction of the overall changes, such as pace-of-play improvements, the elimination of penalties and streamlined procedures.
Golfers provided the most feedback on the proposed Rules changes focused on the putting green (such as putting with the flagstick left in the hole, repairing spike marks and eliminating the penalty for accidentally moving a ball); the creation of “penalty areas” (extending water hazard type relief and eliminating penalties for moving loose impediments and grounding a club); and the new dropping procedures (including the size of “relief areas”).
Golfers strongly welcomed the new Player’s Edition of the Rules and found it much easier to read and understand.”
The current 2016 edition of the Rules of Golf remains in effect when playing, posting scores or competing until the Jan. 1, 2019 adoption of the new Rules.