Amendments to the decisions of golf

From the 1st January 2014 there has been some amendments to the Decisions of Golf. Some of them are relevant to the amateur golfer and can impact your competitive golf.

• Use of Compass (Decision 14-3/4):
The decision has been changed to allow the use of a compass. The major impact of this change is that golfers can now use their distance measuring application on an iPhone. This is only if the club has introduced a local rule allowing distance measuring devices.

• Agreement to Waive Rule (Rule 1-3):
Various decisions have been amended to ensure that opponents in match play will not be disqualified for breaching rule 1-3, if they were not aware they were agreeing to breach a rule.

• Ball Moving After Address (Decision 18-2b/1):
There was a recent amendment to the rules to provide no penalty should the ball move after address where the player did not cause the ball to move. However, a player will not escape the penalty of one stroke, and the need to replace the ball, if the ball movement is due to gravity.

• Embedded Ball (Decision 25-2/0.5):
The standard rules of golf allow for relief when the ball is embedded on the fairway and during the winter this is often extended to “Through the Green”, ie everywhere except hazards and the tee ground and green of the hole being played. There is often discussion about whether a ball is actually plugged or embedded. Decision 25-2/0.5 has been amended to help decide if the ball is embedded. The ball is embedded if:
• The impact of the ball has created a pitch-mark in the ground,
• the ball is in its own pitch-mark, and
• part of the ball is below the level of the ground

• Provisional Ball (Decision 27-2a/1.5)
A player may now move forward a short distance (approximately 50 yards) to determine whether a provisional ball is required. Previously the player could not go back to play a provisional if the area of the stroke had been left.

• Four-Ball Match Play (Decision 30/2/5)
If A & B are partners and A touches the green to point out B’s line for putting, and this is also on A’s line of putt, both players are disqualified for that hole. B for rule 8-2b (indicating line of play) and A for 16.1a (touching line of putt). Note: these would be 2 shot penalties in stroke play.

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