The R&A - Working for Golf
Section

8G

Committee Procedures
Restrictions on Use of Specific Equipment
Committee Procedures
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Section 8F
Section 8H
8G
Restrictions on Use of Specific Equipment
G-1
List of Conforming Driver Heads

Purpose. To remove any doubt that drivers being used in a competition are conforming:

  • A Committee can choose to require players to use only drivers whose clubheads have been evaluated and approved as conforming under the Equipment Rules.
  • A List of Conforming Driver Heads is found at RandA.org.

This Local Rule is recommended for use only in competitions limited to highly skilled players (that is, professional and elite amateur competitions).

Model Local Rule G-1

"Any driver the player uses to make a stroke must have a clubhead, identified by model and loft, which is on the current List of Conforming Driver Heads issued by The R&A.

This list is regularly updated and is found at RandA.org.

Exception - Pre-1999 Driver Heads: A driver with a clubhead that was made before 1999 is exempt from this Local Rule.

Penalty For Making a Stroke with Club in Breach of this Local Rule: Disqualification.

There is no penalty under this Local Rule for carrying but not making a stroke with a driver that is not on the List of Conforming Driver Heads."

G-2
Groove and Punch Mark Specifications

Purpose. Effective 1 January 2010, the Equipment Rules were revised to provide new groove and punch mark specifications for all clubs other than drivers and putters. Until at least 2024, clubs made before 2010 are not required to meet these specifications.

But a Committee may choose to adopt a Local Rule requiring players to use only clubs that meet all the specifications included in the current Equipment Rules. This is recommended for use only in competitions limited to highly skilled players (that is, professional and elite amateur competitions).

An Equipment Database can be found at RandA .org to assist in finding which clubs may be used.

Model Local Rule G-2

"In making a stroke, the player must use clubs that conform to the groove and punch mark specifications in the Equipment Rules that took effect on 1 January 2010.

An Equipment Database of fairway woods, hybrids, irons and wedges which have been tested for conformance to the current Equipment Rules is found at RandA.org.

Penalty For Making a Stroke with Club in Breach of this Local Rule: Disqualification.

There is no penalty under this Local Rule for carrying but not making a stroke with a club which does not conform to these groove and punch mark specifications."

G-3
List of Conforming Golf Balls

Purpose. To remove any doubt that the balls being used in a competition are conforming, a Committee may choose to require the player to use only balls which have been evaluated and approved as conforming under the Equipment Rules.

A List of Conforming Golf Balls is found at RandA.org and is updated monthly.

Even if this Local Rule is not in place, any ball used must be a conforming ball.

Model Local Rule G-3

"Any ball used in making a stroke must be on the current List of Conforming Golf Balls issued by The R&A.

This list is regularly updated and is found at RandA.org. Penalty For Making a Stroke with a Ball Not on Current List in Breach of this Local Rule: Disqualification."

G-4
One Ball Rule

Purpose. To prevent a player from using balls with different playing characteristics depending on the nature of the hole or shot to be played during a round, the Committee can choose to require that a player use only a single type of ball that is on the List of Conforming Golf Balls.

Each individual listing on the List of Conforming Golf Balls is considered a different ball . Golf balls of different colours with identical markings are considered different balls.

This Local Rule is recommended for use only in competitions limited to highly skilled players (that is, professional competitions and elite amateur competitions).

Model Local Rule G-4

“During an entire round, each ball at which the player makes a stroke must be the same brand and model as found in a single entry on the current List of Conforming Balls.

If a different brand and/or model is dropped, replaced or placed but has not yet been played, the player may correct the mistake by stopping use of that ball, without penalty, under Rule 14.5. The player must drop, replace or place a ball of the same brand and model as used at the start of the round.

When the player discovers he or she has played a ball in breach of this Local Rule, he or she must stop using that ball before playing from the next teeing area and complete the round with a ball of the same brand and model as used at the start of the round; otherwise the player is disqualified.

If the discovery is made during the play of a hole, the player may complete play of this hole with the ball played in breach or place a ball of the correct brand and model on the spot where the ball played in breach of this Local Rule was lifted from.

Penalty for Making a Stroke at a Ball in Breach of Local Rule:

The player gets the general penalty for each hole during which he or she is in breach of this Local Rule.”

G-5
Prohibiting Use of Distance-Measuring Devices

Purpose. Although Rule 4.3 allows players to use equipment to measure distance (subject to certain requirements), a Committee can choose to prohibit the use of any electronic distance-measuring devices.

Model Local Rule G-5

"Rule 4.3a(1) is modified in this way:

During a round, a player must not obtain distance information by using an electronic distance-measuring device.

Penalty for Breach of Local Rule - see Rule 4.3."

G-6
Prohibiting Use of Motorized Transportation

Purpose. A Committee can choose to prohibit players from using any type of motorized transportation such as a golf cart during a round. This is appropriate when the Committee views walking as an integral part of playing in the competition or when it believes that the use of motorized transportation would be unsafe or might damage the course.

In adopting this Local Rule, the Committee can allow motorized transportation in limited ways, such as to take players from one hole to another when those holes are far apart or allowing members of the Committee to give a player a ride when he or she will play, or has played, again under penalty of stroke and distance.

If a player accepts a ride without the permission of the Committee, the Committee can waive the penalty if it would have authorized the player to ride in that situation had the request been made. For example, if a player who had lost a ball and needed to return to the teeing area accepted a ride from a volunteer when there was no Committee member available, the Committee could waive the penalty if members of the Committee would have given the player the ride if asked.

But, when motorized transportation is not allowed by Local Rule, it is a principle of the Local Rule that players should walk the entire course, so authorization should not be given if a player has been given a ride forwards when he or she has not already walked that distance. For example, if a player stops to buy a refreshment after playing his or her tee shot, and then accepts a ride forward to his or her ball from a volunteer, the penalty under the Local Rule should not be waived.

Model Local Rule G-6

“During a round, a player or caddie must not ride on any form of motorized transportation except as authorized or later approved by the Committee.

[A player who will play, or has played, under penalty of stroke and distance is always authorised to ride on motorized transportation.]

[Players and caddies may ride on the shuttle between holes [identify hole] and [identify hole].]

Penalty for Breach of Local Rule: The player gets the general penalty for each hole during which there is a breach of this Local Rule. If the breach occurs between the play of two holes, it applies to the next hole.

G-7
Prohibiting Use of Certain Types of Shoes

Purpose. To protect the course from damage, the Committee can prohibit the use of shoes with metal or traditionally designed spikes.

The Committee also may prohibit the use of shoes with other features that may cause undesirable damage.

Model Local Rule G-7

"Rule 4.3a is modified in this way:

During a round, a player must not wear shoes with:

  • Traditional spikes - that is, spikes having single or multiple points designed to penetrate deeply into the surface of the ground (regardless of whether made of metal, ceramic, plastic or other materials); or
  • Spikes of any design that are entirely or partially made of metal, if such metal may come in contact with the course.

Penalty for Breach of Local Rule - see Rule 4.3."

G-8
Prohibiting or Restricting Use of Audio and Video Devices

Purpose. Rule 4.3a(4) permits a player to use equipment to listen to audio or watch video of matters unrelated to the competition being played. But the Committee can adopt a Local Rule prohibiting the use of audio and video devices altogether during a round.

Model Local Rule G-8

"Rule 4.3a(4) is modified in this way: During a round, a player must not listen to or watch content of any nature on a personal audio or video device.

Penalty for Breach of Local Rule - see Rule 4.3."

Stroke

The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.

But a stroke has not been made if the player:

  • Decides during the downswing not to strike the ball and avoids doing so by deliberately stopping the clubhead before it reaches the ball or, if unable to stop, by deliberately missing the ball.
  • Accidentally strikes the ball when making a practice swing or while preparing to make a stroke.

When the Rules refer to "playing a ball," it means the same as making a stroke.

The player's score for a hole or a round is described as a number of "strokes" or "strokes taken," which means both all strokes made and any penalty strokes (see Rule 3.1c).

 

Interpretation Stroke/1 - Determining If a Stroke Was Made

If a player starts the downswing with a club intending to strike the ball, his or her action counts as a stroke when:

  • The clubhead is deflected or stopped by an outside influence (such as the branch of a tree) whether or not the ball is struck.
  • The clubhead separates from the shaft during the downswing and the player continues the downswing with the shaft alone, whether or not the ball is struck with the shaft.
  • The clubhead separates from the shaft during the downswing and the player continues the downswing with the shaft alone, with the clubhead falling and striking the ball.

The player's action does not count as a stroke in each of following situations:

  • During the downswing, a player's clubhead separates from the shaft. The player stops the downswing short of the ball, but the clubhead falls and strikes and moves the ball.
  • During the backswing, a player's clubhead separates from the shaft. The player completes the downswing with the shaft but does not strike the ball.
  • A ball is lodged in a tree branch beyond the reach of a club. If the player moves the ball by striking a lower part of the branch instead of the ball, Rule 9.4 (Ball Lifted or Moved by Player) applies.
Stroke

The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.

But a stroke has not been made if the player:

  • Decides during the downswing not to strike the ball and avoids doing so by deliberately stopping the clubhead before it reaches the ball or, if unable to stop, by deliberately missing the ball.
  • Accidentally strikes the ball when making a practice swing or while preparing to make a stroke.

When the Rules refer to "playing a ball," it means the same as making a stroke.

The player's score for a hole or a round is described as a number of "strokes" or "strokes taken," which means both all strokes made and any penalty strokes (see Rule 3.1c).

 

Interpretation Stroke/1 - Determining If a Stroke Was Made

If a player starts the downswing with a club intending to strike the ball, his or her action counts as a stroke when:

  • The clubhead is deflected or stopped by an outside influence (such as the branch of a tree) whether or not the ball is struck.
  • The clubhead separates from the shaft during the downswing and the player continues the downswing with the shaft alone, whether or not the ball is struck with the shaft.
  • The clubhead separates from the shaft during the downswing and the player continues the downswing with the shaft alone, with the clubhead falling and striking the ball.

The player's action does not count as a stroke in each of following situations:

  • During the downswing, a player's clubhead separates from the shaft. The player stops the downswing short of the ball, but the clubhead falls and strikes and moves the ball.
  • During the backswing, a player's clubhead separates from the shaft. The player completes the downswing with the shaft but does not strike the ball.
  • A ball is lodged in a tree branch beyond the reach of a club. If the player moves the ball by striking a lower part of the branch instead of the ball, Rule 9.4 (Ball Lifted or Moved by Player) applies.
Equipment Rules

The specifications and other regulations for clubs, balls and other equipment that players are allowed to use during a round. The Equipment Rules are found at RandA.org/EquipmentStandards.

Equipment Rules

The specifications and other regulations for clubs, balls and other equipment that players are allowed to use during a round. The Equipment Rules are found at RandA.org/EquipmentStandards.

Stroke

The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.

But a stroke has not been made if the player:

  • Decides during the downswing not to strike the ball and avoids doing so by deliberately stopping the clubhead before it reaches the ball or, if unable to stop, by deliberately missing the ball.
  • Accidentally strikes the ball when making a practice swing or while preparing to make a stroke.

When the Rules refer to "playing a ball," it means the same as making a stroke.

The player's score for a hole or a round is described as a number of "strokes" or "strokes taken," which means both all strokes made and any penalty strokes (see Rule 3.1c).

 

Interpretation Stroke/1 - Determining If a Stroke Was Made

If a player starts the downswing with a club intending to strike the ball, his or her action counts as a stroke when:

  • The clubhead is deflected or stopped by an outside influence (such as the branch of a tree) whether or not the ball is struck.
  • The clubhead separates from the shaft during the downswing and the player continues the downswing with the shaft alone, whether or not the ball is struck with the shaft.
  • The clubhead separates from the shaft during the downswing and the player continues the downswing with the shaft alone, with the clubhead falling and striking the ball.

The player's action does not count as a stroke in each of following situations:

  • During the downswing, a player's clubhead separates from the shaft. The player stops the downswing short of the ball, but the clubhead falls and strikes and moves the ball.
  • During the backswing, a player's clubhead separates from the shaft. The player completes the downswing with the shaft but does not strike the ball.
  • A ball is lodged in a tree branch beyond the reach of a club. If the player moves the ball by striking a lower part of the branch instead of the ball, Rule 9.4 (Ball Lifted or Moved by Player) applies.
Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Stroke

The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.

But a stroke has not been made if the player:

  • Decides during the downswing not to strike the ball and avoids doing so by deliberately stopping the clubhead before it reaches the ball or, if unable to stop, by deliberately missing the ball.
  • Accidentally strikes the ball when making a practice swing or while preparing to make a stroke.

When the Rules refer to "playing a ball," it means the same as making a stroke.

The player's score for a hole or a round is described as a number of "strokes" or "strokes taken," which means both all strokes made and any penalty strokes (see Rule 3.1c).

 

Interpretation Stroke/1 - Determining If a Stroke Was Made

If a player starts the downswing with a club intending to strike the ball, his or her action counts as a stroke when:

  • The clubhead is deflected or stopped by an outside influence (such as the branch of a tree) whether or not the ball is struck.
  • The clubhead separates from the shaft during the downswing and the player continues the downswing with the shaft alone, whether or not the ball is struck with the shaft.
  • The clubhead separates from the shaft during the downswing and the player continues the downswing with the shaft alone, with the clubhead falling and striking the ball.

The player's action does not count as a stroke in each of following situations:

  • During the downswing, a player's clubhead separates from the shaft. The player stops the downswing short of the ball, but the clubhead falls and strikes and moves the ball.
  • During the backswing, a player's clubhead separates from the shaft. The player completes the downswing with the shaft but does not strike the ball.
  • A ball is lodged in a tree branch beyond the reach of a club. If the player moves the ball by striking a lower part of the branch instead of the ball, Rule 9.4 (Ball Lifted or Moved by Player) applies.
Drop

To hold the ball and let go of it so that it falls through the air, with the intent for the ball to be in play.

If the player lets go of a ball without intending it to be in play, the ball has not been dropped and is not in play (see Rule 14.4).

Each relief Rule identifies a specific relief area where the ball must be dropped and come to rest.

In taking relief, the player must let go of the ball from a location at knee height so that the ball:

  • Falls straight down, without the player throwing, spinning or rolling it or using any other motion that might affect where the ball will come to rest, and
  • Does not touch any part of the player’s body or equipment before it hits the ground (see Rule 14.3b).
Replace

To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play.

If the player sets a ball down without intending it to be in play, the ball has not been replaced and is not in play (see Rule 14.4).

Whenever a Rule requires a ball to be replaced, the Rule identifies a specific spot where the ball must be replaced.

 

Interpretation Replace/1 - Ball May Not Be Replaced with a Club

For a ball to be replaced in a right way, it must be set down and let go. This means the player must use his or her hand to put the ball back in play on the spot it was lifted or moved from.

For example, if a player lifts his or her ball from the putting green and sets it aside, the player must not replace the ball by rolling it to the required spot with a club. If he or she does so, the ball is not replaced in the right way and the player gets one penalty stroke under Rule 14.2b(2) (How Ball Must Be Replaced) if the mistake is not corrected before the stroke is made.

Drop

To hold the ball and let go of it so that it falls through the air, with the intent for the ball to be in play.

If the player lets go of a ball without intending it to be in play, the ball has not been dropped and is not in play (see Rule 14.4).

Each relief Rule identifies a specific relief area where the ball must be dropped and come to rest.

In taking relief, the player must let go of the ball from a location at knee height so that the ball:

  • Falls straight down, without the player throwing, spinning or rolling it or using any other motion that might affect where the ball will come to rest, and
  • Does not touch any part of the player’s body or equipment before it hits the ground (see Rule 14.3b).
Replace

To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play.

If the player sets a ball down without intending it to be in play, the ball has not been replaced and is not in play (see Rule 14.4).

Whenever a Rule requires a ball to be replaced, the Rule identifies a specific spot where the ball must be replaced.

 

Interpretation Replace/1 - Ball May Not Be Replaced with a Club

For a ball to be replaced in a right way, it must be set down and let go. This means the player must use his or her hand to put the ball back in play on the spot it was lifted or moved from.

For example, if a player lifts his or her ball from the putting green and sets it aside, the player must not replace the ball by rolling it to the required spot with a club. If he or she does so, the ball is not replaced in the right way and the player gets one penalty stroke under Rule 14.2b(2) (How Ball Must Be Replaced) if the mistake is not corrected before the stroke is made.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Teeing Area

The area the player must play from in starting the hole he or she is playing.

The teeing area is a rectangle that is two club-lengths deep where:

  • The front edge is defined by the line between the forward-most points of two tee-markers set by the Committee, and
  • The side edges are defined by the lines back from the outside points of the tee-markers.

The teeing area is one of the five defined areas of the course.

All other teeing locations on the course (whether on the same hole or any other hole) are part of the general area.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Caddie

Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways:

  • Carrying, Transporting or Handling Clubs: A person who carries, transports (such as by cart or trolley) or handles a player’s clubs during play is the player’s caddie even if not named as a caddie by the player, except when done to move the player’s clubs, bag or cart out of the way or as a courtesy (such as getting a club the player left behind).
  • Giving Advice: A player’s caddie is the only person (other than a partner or partner’s caddie) a player may ask for advice.

A caddie may also help the player in other ways allowed by the Rules (see Rule 10.3b).

Committee

The person or group in charge of the competition or the course.

See Committee Procedures, Section 1 (explaining the role of the Committee).

Stroke and Distance

The procedure and penalty when a player takes relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).

The term stroke and distance means that the player both:

  • Gets one penalty stroke, and
  • Loses the benefit of any gain of distance towards the hole from the spot where the previous stroke was made.
Caddie

Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways:

  • Carrying, Transporting or Handling Clubs: A person who carries, transports (such as by cart or trolley) or handles a player’s clubs during play is the player’s caddie even if not named as a caddie by the player, except when done to move the player’s clubs, bag or cart out of the way or as a courtesy (such as getting a club the player left behind).
  • Giving Advice: A player’s caddie is the only person (other than a partner or partner’s caddie) a player may ask for advice.

A caddie may also help the player in other ways allowed by the Rules (see Rule 10.3b).

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Course

The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee:

  • All areas inside the boundary edge are in bounds and part of the course.
  • All areas outside the boundary edge are out of bounds and not part of the course.
  • The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground.

The course is made up of the five defined areas of the course.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.