USGA Rules Workshop
Continuing Education

Golf’s Modernized Rules and New Player’s Edition Published

Golf’s new Rules have been published by the USGA and The R&A ahead of their effective date on Jan. 1, 2019 ...

For the first time, a new Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf is being introduced to provide a shorter, more user-friendly version of the Rules for golfers at all levels of the game. This version, which will serve as the primary publication for all golfers, features:

  • A more intuitive organization with 10 simplified topical groupings
  • A “Purpose of the Rule” description at the top of each Rule, to better define why the Rule exists
  • Easy-to-follow, full-color diagrams and charts to aid in understanding
  • A simpler, more direct writing style

Two million copies of the Player’s Edition will be distributed in the United States and its territories and Mexico by the USGA. The Player’s Edition is being launched alongside the modernized full Rules of Golf book, which includes some of the most significant changes made to the Rules in more than 60 years.

A new Official Guide to the Rules of Golf is also available in digital format via website and official apps, with a printed version to be released in November. Designed for golf administrators and club officials, the Guide features Interpretations on specific Rules (replacing the current Decisions) and includes a jointly-produced Committee Procedures document (providing practical guidance for running competitions and overseeing general play).

Another key feature is the Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities. This document is released alongside the Rules of Golf and enables players with disabilities to play fairly with other players with the same or different types of disability and with those without disabilities.

All of the new books are available in digital formats online at usga.org/rules and the official USGA Rules of Golf app, and through The R&A outside of the United States, Mexico and its territories. A range of explanatory videos and resources is available on both websites to enable all golfers to learn about the 2019 Rules.

Extensive educational programs are being conducted around the world, with the assistance of national and regional associations, to ensure that golfers and administrators throughout amateur and professional golf are ready for the new Rules when they take effect on January 1.

The process to modernize the Rules began in 2012 with the aim of making the Rules easier to understand and apply for all golfers and to help make golf more appealing and accessible for newcomers. The Rules of Amateur Status and the Rules of Equipment Standards were not part of the review process.

Some of the key changes in the new Rules include new procedures for dropping the ball when taking relief, the elimination or reduction of several penalties, relaxed putting green and bunker rules, and rules that encourage improved pace of play.

Instructions for Ordering Rules of Golf 2019 Publications from the USGA:  

  • Printed copies of the Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf, the complete Rules of Golf, and the Official Guidebook can be ordered at usgapublications.com.   
  • Digital versions exist at usga.org/rules or via the official USGA app found on the Apple App Store or Google Play.