The main objective of Rules 4 and 5 and Appendices II and III is to ensure that technological advances in the design and manufacture of golf equipment are in the best interests of the game of golf. Whilst not wishing to stifle innovation, the purpose of the Equipment Rules is to protect the traditions of the game, to prevent an over-reliance on technological advances rather than on practice and skill and to preserve skill differentials throughout the game.
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 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.
In order to achieve consistency in the decision-making process, a database of all previous decisions is kept and maintained. Also, over time, the Committee has developed a comprehensive set of ‘guidelines’ based on these decisions to help interpret the equipment Rules in a consistent way.
It is the aim of “A Guide to the Rules on Clubs and Ball” to pass on some of these guidelines to manufacturers, tournament officials and other interested parties in an effort to help them interpret and apply the Rules on golf clubs and balls.