As competition schedules pick up pace, here is a quintet of updates from the 2023 Rules of Golf that may catch out golfers at your club this year... With Spring now well underway, January 1 seems a long time ago, and you may well have forgotten about some of the major Rules of Golf changes that came into effect on this date. As the traditional season hits full stride, there are a number of adjustments to the rules you really need to know as you start administering competitions this summer. We've picked out five updates we think you’d be wise to brush up on to ensure you're prepared for any disputes at your club. Five 2023 Rules of Golf you need to know Your ball can go forward when taking back-on-the-line relief When you take back-on-the-line relief, usually when your ball has gone in a penalty area or you decide it is unplayable, there is something new to consider this year. Now, the procedure has been amended to provide that a player is required to drop on the line. Once you drop, the spot on the line where the ball first touches the ground now “creates a relief area that is one club-length in any direction from that point”. Yes, that can be forward. Are you responsible for putting your handicap on your scorecard? A change to Rule 3.3b (4) means you are no longer required to show your handicap on your scorecard. Competition committees now have the responsibility of calculating a player's handicap strokes and that has taken disqualification off the table. But clubs can bring in a Local Rule that shifts the onus back onto golfers and we’ve anecdotally heard of some which have decided to implement this - even though handicap chiefs at CONGU have advised otherwise. So ensure you have made it clear to golfers what your club is doing. Get involved in the debate. To join the GCMA, click here, or to organise a call with a member of the GCMA team, just complete the form below. Have you forgotten to sign your scorecard? Speaking of Local Rules, here’s another one that will make a big difference if your club have brought it in. For situations where a committee feels it to be “more appropriate”, they can rescind the disqualification penalty for not signing your scorecard, or your marker failing to do it, and hand you a two shot sanction instead. It would apply to the last hole of your round. Even if your club doesn't bring in this rule at this stage, it might be worth having it in the back of your mind. There’s a chance it could be written into the Rule Book permanently from 2027. When your ball is moved by natural forces This one's revealed in a new exception to Rule 9.3 and applies if you’ve taken relief - whether that's dropping, placing or replacing. If you do so, your ball is at rest and then it rolls into another area of the course or...
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