Four-year review ends with Quadrennial Conference

Rules Officials from all over the globe have converged on St Andrews for the 2011 Quadrennial Rules Conference. The final consultative phase of the four-year Rules review process, the Conference is being attended by representatives of The R&A and the USGA.

In addition, all of The R&A Rules of Golf Committee’s international advisory members are in attendance including officials from the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation; the Council of National Golf Unions; the European Golf Association; the Ladies’ Golf Union; and the South American Golf Federation. The Chief Referee on the European Tour, John Paramor, is also be present.

Just as it was in 1951, the aim of the meeting is to ensure that the next publication of the Rules of Golf...is as clear, as simple and as fair as possible.
David Rickman - Director of Rules and Equipment Standards

It is at the QRC that final recommendations for the new Code of Rules are agreed, which will come into effect on 1 January 2012.  It is, therefore, a very important part of the regulatory process, helping to maintain a uniform set of Rules for all golfers throughout the world.

The QRC and the four-year Rules review process have their origins in the 1950’s, when there was a concern that the Rules of The R&A and the USGA were in danger of heading in different directions. At a Conference held in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in 1951, it was agreed that a joint Code should be produced for the first time. 

The Rules of Golf are translated into many different languages.Joseph C Day Jr, the then-USGA Executive Secretary said, at the time: “For four days, those 12 men explored every phase of the Rules. There were no axes to grind, no ultra-nationalistic views. They were just golf-lovers, and they worked together in complete harmony.”

The Code came into effect in 1952 and in a move to guard against a constant “tinkering” with the Rules, it was agreed that the next revision should not be published until 1956. Consequently, the conference and the review cycle came to be a quadrennial event.

The 1842 Rules of Golf“The Quadrennial Rules Conference is a key event in our calendar,” explained The R&A’s Director of Rules and Equipment Standards, David Rickman. “It’s an excellent opportunity for us to get together with officials from all over the world to debate and discuss proposals that have been made for alterations to the Rules over the past four years.

“Just as it was in 1951, the aim of the meeting is to ensure that the next publication of the Rules of Golf, in this case the 32nd edition, is as clear, as simple and as fair as possible.”

The three-day conference began at 9.00am on Tuesday 18 January and ends on the following Thursday. A video production documenting the event will appear on RandA.org upon the Conference’s conclusion.