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. An example is a golfer who cannot grip a club because of severe arthritis or missing digits. The modifications do not necessarily help such individuals.

In cases where modified equipment or an artificial device, such as a brace or gripping aid, will allow these individuals to play in a particular competition, the individual may approach the Committee in charge of the competition for permission to use the device under the Exception to Rule 14-3. The Exception to Rule 14-3 provides that a player is not in breach of that Rule (Rule 14-3: Artificial Devices, Unusual Equipment and Unusual Use of Equipment) if (a) the equipment or device is designed for or has the effect of alleviating a medical condition, (b) the player has a legitimate medical reason to use the equipment or device, and (c) the Committee is satisfied that its use does not give the player any undue advantage over other players.

Alternatively, The R&A will review and issue a preliminary decision, on a case by case basis, as to whether or not the use of such equipment or device in that individual's circumstances would constitute a breach of Rule 14-3. In reaching its decision, The R&A will take into account: the individual's medical condition and whether the equipment is necessary to alleviate that medical condition. Where The R&A is of the view that the individual's use of such equipment or device would not constitute a breach to Rule 14-3, it will provide details of its preliminary decision to the Committee in charge of the relevant competition. If that Committee then determines that the individual does not gain any undue advantage over other players by using the equipment, the Committee may permit the individual to use the equipment during the stipulated round. Players wishing to obtain permission to use such equipment in a competition organised by The R&A should contact The R&A in the first instance.

In addition to the procedures noted above, The R&A publishes a List of Equipment Permitted Conditionally for Medical Reasons (the "List") - click on the link below - for certain items manufactured on a commercial scale, i.e. mass produced with respect to a specific condition rather than designed for use by a specific individual. To be included on the List, an item must be submitted to Equipment Standards Department of The R&A for review, along with medical and/or scientific evidence demonstrating a significant connection between the device, as used by a golfer, and the targeted condition. For details on the submissions process click here.  Devices designed on a customised level, i.e. designed for use by a specific individual, will continue to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

A player is not considered to be in breach of the Rules of Golf for using a device included on the List if:

  • he establishes, with the Committee in charge of the competition, that he currently has a medical condition identified on the List that is associated with a particular device, and
  • the Committee determines that the player would not gain an undue advantage over other players in that competition by using the device.

Neither R&A Rules Limited or any member of The R&A group of companies accept any responsibility or liability in any way whatsoever for or make any representations or warranties, whether express or implied, with respect to the use or purpose of any device on the List or any endorsement as to the suitability or appropriateness of any equipment or device on the List and shall have no liability to any third party resulting from use of or reliance upon any piece of equipment or device on the List.

List of Equipment

The List of Equipment Permitted Conditionally for Medical Reasons (the "List") is a list of items manufactured on a commercial scale with respect to a specific condition rather than designed for use by a specific individual. A player is not considered to be in breach of the Rules of Golf for using an item included on the List if:

(1) he establishes, with the Committee in charge of the competition, that he currently has a medical condition identified on the List that is associated with a particular device, and

(2) the Committee determines that the player would not gain an undue advantage over other players in that competition by using the device.



Name Type Manufacturer Designated Medical Conditions
Bionic 'Classic' Golf Glove Padded glove Hillerich & Bradsby of Europe Arthritis of the hand
Bionic 'Silver' Golf Glove Padded glove Hillerich & Bradsby of Europe Arthritis of the hand
Dental Power Splint Mouthguard  DPS Jaw joint and dental problems 
Sporteeth Mouthguard Medical Databank Inc Dental problems