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New Rules Changes for 2012-2015


By Ryan Gregg, Director of Education and Rules


The United States Golf Association (USGA) and Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, Scotland (R&A) have announced the quadrennial changes to the Rules of Golf for 2012-2015. The R&A is the governing body of golf worldwide except in the United States and Mexico, which is handled by the USGA. The Decisions on the Rules of Golf book is revised every two years (even numbered years) and the Rules of Golf are revised every four years (leap years). The Rules of Golf have remained fundamentally the same with some minor revisions. Rules changes of note are as follows:


Ball Moving After Address (Rule 18-2b) A new exception has been added which absolves players from penalty if their ball moves after it has been addressed. It must be known or virtually certain that they did not cause the ball to move.


▲ Seeing Ball;


Searching for Ball (Rule 12-1)


This rule has been amended to (i) permit a player to search for his ball anywhere on the course when it may be covered by sand and


to clarify that there is no penalty if the ball is moved in these circumstances, and (ii) apply a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a if a player moves his ball in a hazard when searching for it when it is believed to be covered by loose impediments.


E-mail Ryan at rgregg@ncga.org


Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions (Rule 13-4) Exception 2 to this rule has been amended to permit a player to smooth sand or soil in a hazard at any time, including before playing from that hazard, provided it is for the sole purpose of caring for the course and Rule 13-2 (improving lie, area of intended stance, swing or line of play) is not breached.





54 / NCGA.ORG / WINTER 2012





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