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Updates: Rules of Golf 2023 II

New Rule Changes from 1 January 2023

The R. & A. typically introduces major or minor changes to the rules of golf on a
four-yearly basis. The 2019 review was a major revamp of the entire rulebook.
The 2023 changes are far more minor, but there are still 40 rules affected by
changes to come into force on 1 January 2023. In addition there are 16 Model
Local Rules affected in some way. The list below attempts to identify some of the
changes to the various rules. In addition there are some rewrites of some rules to
clarify them as well as some minor word changes eg he/she becomes they. Note
there are also changes( mostly additions ) to various definitions.

1. The rules regarding the taking of back-on-the-line relief , have been
simplified. At present, taking the drop in that situation, specified the drop
was to be within one club-length of that line, and if it rolled forward of the
reference point, a re-drop was to be taken. The change will require the
drop to be on the line and come to rest within one club-length in any
direction of where it first touched the line. No re-drop will be required,
simply because it has gone forward ( less than one club-length) from
where it first hit the ground. This not only saves time, but is
acknowledging that the choice of reference point on the line of relief ,
could have been anywhere forward of that up to the original position ,
prior to that relief option being taken. Rule 14.3b(3), Rule16.1c (2) page
141 Rule 17.1d page 151, Rule19.2b page 167and rule 19.3 page 169

2. With one exception, the present rules do not permit the replacement of
lost or damaged clubs, during a round, if the player started the round
with 14 clubs. That anomaly will be remedied. It always seemed unfair to
be penalised for something beyond your control. Other than in cases of
abuse ( breaking a club in anger), a player may repair or replace any
damaged club, with another club. Rule4.1a(2)

3. If a player makes a stroke at an incorrectly substituted ball, the present
penalty is the general penalty. That will change to a one stroke penalty
Rule4.2c (2)

4. Regardless of the area of the course, a player will not be permitted to set
an object down to show the line of play or to help with taking a stance. At
present, there is an exception where the ball is not on the green. Rule
10.2b(3) Note old rule 10.2b (1) allowed setting down object to show line
of play in general area, but not on green

5. Currently, if a ball at rest, is moved by natural forces ( wind, water, or
otherwise by simple gravity), other than when being replaced on the
green, the ball is to be played from where it moves to. From next year, if a
ball at rest, is moved by natural forces after being dropped, placed or
replaced, and comes to rest in a different area of the course ( or OB ), the
ball must be replaced and played from the original spot e.g. if dropped,
and it comes to rest, but then rolls from the general area into a bunker,
penalty area or on to the green, through natural forces, you get to put it
back where it was last at rest. Rule 9.3 Exception 2 page 81

6. Currently a player is responsible for his correct handicap being shown on
the scorecard, in a stableford or net competition, failing which there may
be a penalty. Next year, it will be the committee’s responsibility , as an
administrative matter. There will then be no time limit for correcting the
player’s net/stableford score and the result of the competition Rule
3.3b(4) page 36

7. Until the end of 2022, if a ball played from the putting green, hits any
person, animal or movable obstruction ( other than another ball at rest,
or a ball marker), the stroke does not count and the ball must be replaced
on its original spot. Otherwise, there is a penalty for playing from the
wrong place. From 2023, if the player does not replace when required to
do so, there will simply be the general penalty, not a wrong place one.
However, if the ball played actually hits the player, the club used to make
the stroke, or an insect, the ball will be played as it then lies. Rule
11.1b(2) page 95. This section is a little confusing so must be read
carefully. The list contains the items when the stroke is NOT replayed.

8. Until the end of 2022, the reference point for embedded ball relief was
not required to be in the general area ( where the ball was embedded in
the general area). From 1 January, the reference point for determining the
relief area, must also be in the relief area, in that situation. Previously,
relief might not have been available, at all, if no part of the relief area is in
the general area. From 2023, the player needs to find the nearest point in
the general area, but no closer to the hole. Rule 16.3b page 147

9. Previously, if a player started the round with a non-permissible external
attachment ( such as a sticker on the clubface), the player was not
allowed to use the club at all, even if the attachment was removed before
use. Penalty was DQ. Now, the player is permitted to use the club if the
attachment is first removed. DQ is now only the penalty if the club is
actually used with the attachment still attached.Rule 4.1a(3) page 39

10. Where it is known , or virtually certain, that a player’s ball in motion, on
the green, has been deliberately deflected or stopped by a person, the
stroke does not count , and the ball ( or a replacement) must be played
from the original spot. Until this year, failure to replace, before replaying,
invoked the wrong place penalty. Now, such a failure, simply incurs the
general penalty, the stroke counts, and play continues. Rule 11.2c(2) page

11. If cleaning a ball that is not lifted, ie by flicking a leaf of it while it is still in
situ, it now incurs a one stroke penalty. Previously it was unclear what
penalty and under what rule and the wording changes clarify this. Rule
14.1c page 115

12. If a player is required to re-create a lie in sand, ( e.g. after another
player’s stroke nearby, has changed the lie) but fails to do so, before
taking their next stroke, a wrong place penalty was incurred, previously.
Now, the stroke counts, but the general penalty is applied, instead. Rule
14.2d (1) page 117

13. Previously, If a player tried to play from a right place to fix their mistake,
they would be DQ’d if the matter was NOT reported to the committee
before their card was returned. Now , there must only be a report to the
committee if if the player has played two balls, to fix their mistake. Rule
14.7b (2) page 128

14. If player needs time to identify their ball, following a search, previously, it
was a “reasonable time”. That time was considered by each committee, in
each instance. Now reasonable is defined as up to one minute after the
ball is found. In other words, the combined time for the search and
identification, could be a total of four minutes maximum Rule 18.2a page
160 and Clarification 18.2a(1)/3 which defines” reasonable time to do

15. Where there is a local rule regarding replay for a ball hitting a temporary
elevated line or cable, previously, a failure to replay, incurred the wrong
place penalty. Now, it is simply the general penalty, the stroke counts, and
play continues. Clarification Model local rule E -11

16. Multiple Penalties has been rewritten to clarify. If the same rule has been
broken several times or multiple rules have been broken, there are two
intervening conditions , either of which will invoke the rule. (1)A
completion of a stroke, or(2) the player is made aware or become aware
of a breach of a rule. The player will get the higher penalty if none of these
conditions exist between the breaking of the rule. If there is one of the
intervening conditions between the breaches, and the player breaks the
same rule or different rules, the player get multiple penalties. Rule 1.3c(4)
page 24

17. If a player needs to play a provisional ball, and there is no one nearby to
hear the statement, , there is no penalty but the player must inform the
others when possible to do so Rule18.3b page 162

18. Ineligible Player. There is an additional section on the status of an
ineligible player that applies even after the competition has closed. Rule
20.2f page 178

19. Penalties in Stableford have been changed to match those in stroke play.
However there are listed some actions which result in zero points rather
than DQ Rule 21.1c page 182

20. If the marker is moved on the green ( e.g. stuck to sole of shoe), there is no
penalty. The marker ( or ball) is simply replaced on the spot ( or a
reasonable estimate of that spot). However, that new “on the green “
exemption does not apply to a marker sitting anywhere else on the
course. It will treated as if it were a movement of the ball Rule 9,2

21. Rule 25 is a new rule relating to players with disabilities.

Definitions that have some changes:
Animal hole: last sentence is an addition re animal footprints
Club length: has been rewritten with an addition of the last paragraph
Flagstick: Now includes any artificial or natural object attached to showing the
position of the hole is part of the flagstick
Gound Under repair: stakes used to show this are obstructions
Known or virtually certain: last sentence is an addition stating that
information gathered within the three minutes is used to determine this
Lost: this definition has been enlarged with extra explanations of lost
Nearest point of relief: insertion of “where there is no interference…..were not
Outside Influence: last sentence is an addition now includes “rtifically propelled
air and water…”
Penalty area: contains a section “if the committee has mistakenly excluded an
area of water that is clearly part of the penalty area ….that area is part of the
penalty areas”
Referee: now has an extened definition of a referee and the duties
Relief area: now includes a section of taking back on line relief
Scorecard:Player enter score for each hole and marker and player certify the
scores is included
Wrong Place: the last section lists two areas that are not considered playing
from a wrong place has been added.

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