Sanity prevails with R&A introducing new Local Rule

Sanity has at last prevailed, thanks to a new rule introduced by the R&A from next month.

If you accidentally cause your ball to move while on the green you may no longer be penalised following the introduction of a new ‘Local Rule’ which comes into use from January 1.

Sanity prevails with R&A introducing new Local Rule Sanity prevails with R&A introducing new Local Rule

In fact there will be no penalty if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved by the player, his partner, his opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment

It has already been decided that the two governing bodies, the R&A and the USGA will adopt this new Local Rule in all golf championships, qualifying competitions and international matches.

The Local Rule will be available for any committee in charge of a golf competition and has been under consideration for some time.

According to executive director – governance at the R&A David Rickman they have been discussing the penalty for a ball that is accidentally moved while on the [putting] green.

“Both Rules Committees agreed that it needed to be changed and decided that in this particular case it was important to act now, through a Local Rule, rather than wait for the next overall set of revisions to the Rules of Golf,” said Rickman.

Senior director, Rules of Golf and Amateur Status at the USGA, Thomas Pagel, said: “Eliminating this penalty responds to the concerns we have heard from both golfers and committees about the difficulties in applying the current rules when a player accidentally causes a ball to move on the putting green.

“This change is a good example of the type of rules modernisation changes we hope to implement after completing our fundamental review of all of the rules.

“We are looking for ways to improve the rules by making them easier to understand and apply.”

Naturally the new ‘Local Rule’ (Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1 have been modified) has been welcomed by all the major golf tours worldwide.

The PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA, PGA of America and the Masters Tournament are among the golf organisations that will implement the new Local Rule for all future events from January 1, 2017.