The R&A - Working for Golf

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 4.3. The Exception to Rule 4.3 provides that a player is not in breach of that Rule (Rule 4.3: 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 4.3. 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 4.3, 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.

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

  • he establishes, with the Committee in charge of the competition, that he currently has a medical condition identified 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 or any endorsement as to the suitability or appropriateness of any equipment or device and shall have no liability to any third party resulting from use of or reliance upon any piece of equipment or device.

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