First was the 366 days calendar year, secondly the four-year term Rules of Golf 2012 to 2015 edition, and thirdly the Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2012 to 2013 edition.
The new Rules of Golf and Decisions which came into use on January 1 2012 replaced the 2008 to 2011 Rules of Golf edition and the 2010 to 2011 Decisions on the Rules of Golf edition.
What it means is that all golf played from January 1 is in terms of the new rules and decisions.
These rules govern how the game is played.
But how many people are aware of these new rules and decisions?
I am aware that the booklets on the rules of golf which are given free to all golfers are not yet available to all golf clubs.
However, that does not mean that the old rules can still be used. But what is a fact is that in the absence of having knowledge of the new rules, decisions are currently being made in terms of the old rules and decisions, assuming that they have not changed.
But if someone challenges an incident on the basis of what he knows to be what is in the new rules and can prove it, his position will be the correct one.
It is the player’s responsibility to know the rules. I am just going to highlight the principal changes which are in the new rules, or the rules which were affected. They are not that many to seriously frighten anyone.
There are 34 rules of play in the Rules of Golf. Out of these only nine have been affected, namely; Rule 18-2—Addressing the Ball—the definition has been amended; Rules 1-2. Exerting influence on movement of ball or altering physical conditions. This too has been amended for clarity.
Rules 6-3a. Time of starting. Previously the penalty for failure to start in time was disqualification. The amendment may not be that obvious to some.
Generally, in most tournaments players who were late but were within five minutes of their tee off time were given two strokes penalty on the first hole in stroke play and loss of the first hole in match play.
Beyond five minutes it was disqualification unless there were some exceptional extenuating circumstances.
The five minutes provision was by way of the conditions of the competition.
The new rule now states that the penalty for starting late but within five minutes of the starting time is reduced from disqualification to loss of hole in match play and two strokes penalty at the first hole in stroke play.
The rest of the changes are in the following rules; Rule 12-1.—Seeing Ball; Searching for ball; Rule 13-4—Ball in Hazard: Prohibited actions; Rule 18-2—Ball moving after address—a new exception has been added; Rule 19-1—Ball in motion deflected or stopped; by outside agency.
Rule 20—Playing from wrong place; stroke play. Appendix four—this is a new appendix which provide regulations for design of devices and other equipment.
I shall provide more details on each of the changes next week.
For any feedback/comments and any assistance you may need, contact the writer, Tavenganiswa Mabikacheche at The Centre for Training and Research Services on email: email@example.com or mobile no. +263712200922 /+263772319612