The Rules Of Golf: Key Changes Coming For 2016
The Rules of Golf are updated every four years (typically leap years) and the Decisions on the Rules of Golf, which provide guidance on how the rules are to be applied under specific circumstances, are updated every two years (even years).
The Rules were last updated for 2012 and a new set of Rules goes into effect on January 1, 2016.
There are four key changes to the 2016 Rules of Golf:
Rule 6-6d: Limited Exception to Disqualification Penalty for Submission of Incorrect Scorecard
In this new exception, a player is not disqualified for returning a lower score for a hole than actually taken as a result of failing to include penalty strokes that the player did not know were incurred. Instead, the player incurs the penalty under the Rule that was breached and must add an additional penalty of two strokes for the scorecard error. In all other cases in which a player returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken, the penalty will continue to be disqualification.
Rule 14-1b: Prohibition on Anchoring the Club While Making A Stroke
This Rule prohibits anchoring the club either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point” in making a stroke. The penalty is loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play. Please see this graphic on anchoring, which helps to illustrate the nuances of this new ruling.
Note that the modification to Rule 14-1b on anchoring does not prohibit “long shafted” putters, as long as they are conforming. It only prohibits the use of an anchor during the stroke.
Rule 14-3: Modification of Penalty for a Single Impermissible Use of Artificial Devices or Equipment
The penalty for a player’s first breach during the round has been reduced from disqualification to loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play. The penalty for any subsequent breach of Rule 14-3 will continue to be disqualification.
Rule 18-2b: Withdrawal of Rule on Ball Moving After Address
This Rule assessed a one-stroke penalty if a ball at rest moved after it was addressed. Now a one-stroke penalty will be applied only when the facts show that the player has caused the ball to move.
Golfers, especially if you are playing in a sanctioned, competitive event, should be aware of these changes to the Rules.
The USGA has provided a variety of online resources that you may find helpful:
- 2016 Revisions to the Rules of Golf – Overview (Video)
- 2016 Rules: What You Need To Know (PDF)
- 2016 Revision to Rule 14-1b – Anchoring: Full Explanation (Video)
- 2016 Clarifications to the Rules of Golf (Video)
In addition, the USGA has published reference software applications for both Apple and Android based mobile devices:
We look forward to hosting you at Walt Disney World® Golf in 2016, the “Happiest Place on TURF!”