- The amendment to Decision 14-3/4 permits the use of a compass during a round. More importantly, it clears the way for players to use an iPhone with a distance measuring application, providing a Local Rule permits the use of distance measuring devices. Previously, the presence of an inbuilt compass that could not be deleted from a smart phone meant that they could not be used for this purpose. (Edit 16th January: This R&A article, 'Your Distance Measuring Device Questions Answered' confirms that the inbuilt spirit level on an iPhone does not preclude it from being used, provided that spirit level is not used in a manner that might assist play.)
- Amendments to Decisions 1-1/1, 1-3/7, 2-1/1.5 and 2-1/4 clarify that opponents in match play will not be disqualified for breaching Rule 1-3, if they are not aware that they are agreeing to breach a Rule.
- Note that this paragraph will no longer be relevant after the Rules of Golf revisions dated 1st January 2012 become effective. The new Decision 18-2b/1 (the old Decision with the same number was withdrawn) clarifies that the effects of gravity do not satisfy the Exception to Rule 18-2b. So, if a player has addressed their ball, by grounding their club immediately in front to or behind their ball, and it subsequently moves in calm conditions, the player does not escape the penalty of one stroke if the cause of the movement was gravity, and the ball must be replaced.
- To supplement the amended text of Decision 25-2/0.5 there is an accompanying diagram. This is an important area for all golfers and so I am reproducing the Decision in full;
A ball is deemed to be embedded in the ground only if:
the impact of the ball landing has created a pitch-mark in the ground,Provided that these three requirements are met, a ball does not necessarily have to touch the soil to be considered embedded (e.g., grass, loose impediments or the like may intervene between the ball and the soil).
the ball is in its own pitch-mark, and
part of the ball is below the level of the ground.
Any doubt as to whether a ball is embedded should be resolved against the player. (Revised)
- The amendment to Decision 27-2a/1.5 has the effect of permitting a player who has just played a stroke to go forward a short distance (approximately 50 yards) to determine whether it would save time to play a provisional ball. Previously, he could not return to play a provisional once he, or his partner, had left the area of the stroke to go forward to search.
- I am not going to go into the detail of the amendment to Decision 30/2.5, as the circumstances are uncommon, but it provides an unusual example of an amended Decision resulting in a player incurring a penalty that did not apply previously. (For those that have a copy of my ‘999 Questions’ book, or eBook, the answer to question 990 is now ‘D’).
- Decision 33-8/8 permits a Committee to introduce a Local Rule providing relief under Rule 25-1, Abnormal Ground Condition, for interference from exposed tree roots when a ball lies on a closely-mown area.
- Decision 33-8/16 recommends that Committees do not make a Local Rule making water hazard and ground under repair stakes immovable obstructions, as this may result in players being penalised for removing them.
** Click here for a link to the joint statement by R&A and USGA on use of video and other visual evidence.
This is a good time to purchase my book, ‘999 Updated Questions on the Rules of Golf’, as I have just updated it to take account of the amendments to the Decisions of Golf 2014-2015 that became effective on 1st January. Six of the seven reviews on Amazon/Kindle give it the maximum rating of five stars (the other reader gave it four stars). However, if you purchase it through my ‘Rhodes Rules School’ web site it will cost you less and you will receive a .pdf file (for computers) as well as the .mobi file (for eReaders, tablets and smart phones).
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