The R&A - Working for Golf

New Local Rule Introduced for 2017

The R&A and USGA have announced the introduction of a new Local Rule to the Rules of Golf that eliminates the penalty when a ball is accidentally moved on the putting green.

The Local Rule will be available for any committee in charge of a golf competition to use from 1 January 2017. It will be adopted by The R&A and the USGA in all of their championships, qualifying competitions and international matches.

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2016 Rules Changes

The current editions of the Rules of Golf and Rules of Amateur Status came into effect on January 1, 2016. Both revised publications were the culmination of the normal four-year review cycle and are collaborative works by The R&A and USGA that apply worldwide to all golfers.

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During a round, a player may apply chalk to the face of an iron club in order to obtain more backspin.

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Rules of Golf – Effective 2016

Significant changes to the Rules

The following changes are among the most significant changes to the Rules that came into effect in January 2016.

  • Withdrawal of Rule on Ball Moving After Address
  • Limited Exception to Disqualification Penalty for Submission of Incorrect Score Card  
  • Modification of Penalty for a Single Impermissible Use of Artificial Devices or Equipment  
  • Prohibition on Anchoring the Club While Making a Stroke

Read full details of the Principal Changes.

Click here for an infographic which shows an overview of these changes and view the various downloads below for full details.

Rule 14-1b – Anchoring the Club


From 1 January 2016 all golfers will be prohibited from 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. 

For guidance on this Rule and to read about the background to the adoption of this Rule follow the link to the right.

Rules of Amateur Status

The Rules of Amateur Status continue to evolve but remain committed to preserving the amateur Code. In the latest Code, the Rule relating to prize money has been revised to make it easier for amateur golfers to support worthwhile charitable causes and the recommended guidelines on periods awaiting reinstatement are amended. Full details of the Rules of Amateur Status and the related Decisions are available in the Rules Explorer.

For specific details of the 2016 changes click here.