Equipment

The Rules of Golf specify the equipment which may be used to play the game. These specifications can be found in Rule 4 and Appendix II for golf clubs and Rule 5 and Appendix III for golf balls. In general, they are 'descriptive' and 'restrictive' in nature - defining what a golf club should look like and how far a golf ball can travel.

In an historical context, the game of golf has seen progressive developments in the clubs and balls available to golfers who, through almost six centuries, have sought to improve the playing performance of their equipment.

While generally welcoming this progress, in 1924 The R&A issued a statement which "deplored that players, instead of trying to master the use of golf clubs, should endeavour to overcome difficulties of the game by using implements which have never been associated with it".

More recently, in a written 'statement of principles' published jointly by The R&A and the USGA, it was acknowledged that "History has proved that it is impossible to foresee the developments in golf equipment which advancing technology will deliver." However, both The R&A and the USGA remain vigilant when considering the equipment Rules. The main objective of Rules 4 and 5 and Appendices II and III is to protect golf's traditions, to prevent an over-reliance on technological advances rather than skill, and to ensure that skill is the dominant element golfing of success.

In 1924, The R&A issued a statement which "deplored that players, instead of trying to master the use of golf clubs, should endeavour to overcome difficulties of the game by using implements which have never been associated with it".

It is the role of The R&A's Equipment Standards Committee to interpret and apply the Rules relevant to clubs and balls, and to determine and advise which submitted clubs and balls conform to the Rules and which do not. The Committee is also responsible for recommending modifications to these Rules, if and when changes are believed to be necessary.

All clubs submitted to The R&A are retained for future reference and, collectively, they form an amazing array of unusual designs and ingenious mechanisms - including a putter head in the shape of a motor car and a shaft which doubles up as a spirit-level.

Manufacturers may also submit golf balls to The R&A for testing and, if ruled conforming, they are entered onto the List of Conforming Golf Balls which is updated on a monthly basis. To access the current list - please click on 'Conforming Golf Balls'.

For more information on the procedure for submitting any item of golf equipment for a formal ruling - please click on 'Equipment Submissions'.

Equipment Rules

The Rules Explorer makes it easy for you to reference the Equipment Rules.  It's easy to find out all the information you require about balls, clubs and their permitted designs.

Equipment Search

The Equipment Search function allows you to search for any club by equipment type, manufacturer, model and specification. There are over 11,000 clubs in the database, so you should be able to locate yours to find out whether it conforms to the Rules of Golf.

Functions and Principles

History has proved that it is almost impossible to predict the developments in golf equipment which advancing technology will deliver and, so, it's important that such advances are judged against a clear and broadly accepted series of principles.

Equipment in Focus

Throughout the year, we take the chance to question our Research, Testing and Equipment Standards Department about a piece of technology from golf’s past and present, be it a persimmon driver, a pitching wedge or a peripherally-weighted putter.

Guidelines

The main objective of the Equipment Rules is to ensure that technological advances are in the best interests of the game. Nobody wants to stifle innovation, but it's important to protect the traditions of the game, making sure that skill is always the determining factor in success.

Equipment Permitted for Medical Reasons

The Miscellaneous section of A Modification of the Rules of Golf for Golfers with Disabilities describes how there are many golfers who have physical limitations that may result in some degree of disability that may in turn have a significant impact on their ability to play the game.

Protocols and Procedures

Given the complexity of some of the tests required to evaluate equipment for conformance to the Rules of Golf, protocols and procedures are available to manufacturers and other interested parties detailing how certain tests are conducted.

Equipment Submissions

In order for The R&A to give a ruling on any item of golf equipment, a sample needs to be submitted for examination. Click through for further information about submissions and the submissions procedures.

Equipment Notices

The Equipment Standards Department is in regular consultation with all the relevant parties in the world of golf. Equipment Notices are sent to manfacturers as part of that consultation.