A Guide to the Rules on Clubs and Balls

Form and Make of Golf Clubs - General (Rule 4-1a)

Rule 4-1a provides that:

The players' clubs must conform with this Rule and the provisions, specifications and interpretations set forth in Appendix II.

Whilst the submission procedure mentioned above is mostly successful in preventing nonconforming equipment from reaching the market place, not all products are submitted to The R&A for a ruling and sometimes there might be instances when products are submitted after they have been mass produced and distributed for sale. Occasionally, a new or modified Rule can render existing equipment nonconforming. Add to this the fact that many golfers do like to make their own modifications to their clubs, after purchase (see Section on "Wear and Alteration"), and it is no longer surprising that nonconforming equipment does sometimes appear in players’ bags.

It is the player’s own responsibility to ensure that his clubs conform to the Rules but if he is in any doubt as to the conformity of a club, he should consult The R&A. Queries may also be directed to the Committee in charge of a competition and this is where this publication should be a valuable tool.

The penalty for carrying a club which breaches the Rules or which is purposely altered during a round was changed for the 2008 edition of the Rules and no longer results in automatic disqualification. Only if the player were to make a stroke with such a club would the disqualification penalty be applied.The details of this revised penalty situation are clearly laid out at the end of Rule 4-2.

For information relating to the Note to Rule 4-1a, please refer to Section 8 - Spring Effect & Dynamic Properties.