Rules of Golf

2019 Rules of Golf - A broad shift in the way we play golf

In 2012, a working group of USGA and R&A Rules staff, committee members, professional tour officials, and other Rules experts was set up to examine both the substance of the Rules and how they are written. The final changes are the culmination of six years of work and have been approved by both of our Rules of Golf Committees and our respective boards.

As work progressed on this initiative, we talked with many different people and organizations to alert them and to get their preliminary reactions, including:

- Leaders and rules officials from organizations with key roles in professional or amateur golf, such as the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA, Ladies’ European Tour, PGA of America, Augusta National Golf Club, and national, regional and state golf associations, and

- Golfers at all levels of the game (both individually and in focus groups), including professionals and elite amateurs, long-time regular golfers and beginners.

On March 1, 2017, details of the proposed changes, including a full draft of the proposed Rules of Golf were made public. This was the first time that the golfing public had been given the opportunity to provide views on proposed changes to the Rules of Golf, and they were encouraged to do so via a feedback survey.

Since March 1, 2017, we have listened to the feedback received, while refining the proposals and continuing to talk with leaders and rules officials from golfing organizations worldwide.

These discussions assisted us in finalizing the Rules of Golf for 2019.

Implementation of the New Rules in 2019

The new Rules will go into effect on January 1, 2019. The anticipated process and schedule between now and then is as follows:

  • Publish the Rules of Golf, complete and publish the Player’s Edition, The Official Guide to the Rules of Golf, The Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities and other materials;
  • Facilitate the translation of these materials;
  • Finish work on a new Rules app and other means of electronic delivery; and
  • Educate golfers and officials at all levels of the game.
For the first time, a new Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf is being introduced to provide a shorter, more user-friendly version of the Rules for golfers at all levels of the game. This version, which will serve as the primary publication for all golfers, features:

A more intuitive organization with 10 simplified topical groupings
A “Purpose of the Rule” description at the top of each Rule, to better define why the Rule exists
Easy-to-follow, full-colour diagrams and charts to aid in understanding
A simpler, more direct writing style

*The Player's Edition, Full Rules, and Official Guide are all now available for purchase or free download in the USGA and R&A app.
The Player’s Edition is being launched alongside the modernized full Rules of Golf book, which includes some of the most significant changes made to the Rules in more than 60 years.  The process to modernize the Rules began in 2012 with the aim of making the Rules easier to understand and apply for all golfers and to help make golf more appealing and accessible for newcomers.

Some of the key changes in the new Rules include new procedures for dropping the ball when taking relief, the elimination or reduction of several penalties, relaxed putting green and bunker rules, and rules that encourage improved pace of play.
GTA AM Tour player are encouraged to learn all they can about the new rules for 2019, as these will be in effect for all events on schedule.
Players can educate themselves in the following ways:
Golf Canada Rules Page

USGA Rules Hub 

R&A Rules Education
Both the USGA and R&A have free mobile apps, available on both the Apple and Android platforms.  These apps are a great way to learn the rules, without the need to purchase the publications.

If you have any questions regarding the 2019 rules of golf, please contact Jason Gendron (