Renewed Calls for Simplification of Rules of Golf

Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club, Sabah

The 2016 Rules of Golf book. Picture by USGA/Jonathan Kolbe
The 2016 Rules of Golf book. Picture by USGA/Jonathan Kolbe

Melbourne, Australia: Australia’s ruling golfing body is backing a top-level push to cut and simplify the Rules of Golf.
With the two rule-making bodies – the R&A in Scotland and the USGA in the United States – in the midst of a ‘fundamental review’ of the 34 rules, Golf Australia’s Chief Executive Stephen Pitt said the Rules of Golf were making it harder to attract and retain new players.
The joint committee of the R&A and the USGA are within a year of releasing the first draft of a new set of rules, according to a report emanating from America recently.
But the full process, already five years long, is expected to take several more years beyond that, with time for public feedback.
Golf Australia, as with many players and administrators in the game worldwide, is anxious to see what comes of the discussions.
“I believe golf would benefit substantially from a simplification of the rules,” Pitt was quoted as saying on the Golf Australia website.=
“It is a barrier for entry for new players of the game, and we do want to make it as easy as possible for people to play golf. Definitely with changes in the game from things like agronomy, there’s a need to review the rules to reflect those changes.
“I think we should be striving for a vastly-simpler set of rules that still protect the integrity of the game but that increase the enjoyment of its players.”
Simon Magdulski, Golf Australia’s Director of Rules and Handicapping and a member of the R&A’s Rules Committee, said it is about ownership of the rules.
He said: “It’s really important that we end up with a set of rules that the golfing public feels is relevant to the current day and that the rules themselves pass the pub test.
“The rules shouldn’t belong to people like me, we live and breathe it and have an understanding of it, but that’s all very well. We want something that the golfer feels as though they have a reasonable understanding of.”

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