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Rules of Golf

As the governing body of golf in Canada, Golf Canada holds the exclusive right to govern, publish and distribute the Rules of Golf in Canada.

The Rules are typically updated every four years through the work of the R&A and the United States Golf Association. A joint committee of these associations, on which the Chair of Golf Canada’s Rules and Amateur Status Committee sits, is charged with revising, modernizing and improving the Rules of Golf. These two documents form the complete Rules of Golf that are used universally throughout the world of golf.

For clubs or committees in charge of competitions, the Conditions of Competition and Standard Local Rules that Golf Canada implements at all championships is posted for your reference. In addition, a list of local rules that should be considered is available on this website.

2019 Rules Modernization Initiative

As the National Sport Federation and governing body of golf in Canada, Golf Canada, in conjunction with the R&A and the USGA, have unveiled the 2019 Rules of Golf. This joint initiative was designed to modernize the Rules and make them easier to understand and apply.

Full details about the Rules Modernization Initiative

Overview of the Rules Modernization Initiative

Frequently Asked Questions of implementation in Canada

2019 Rules of Golf Publications

‘Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf’: An abridged, user-friendly set of the Rules with shorter sentences, commonly used phrases, and diagrams. Written in the “second person,” The Player’s Edition is intended to be the primary publication for golfers. 

Click here to view the 2019 Player’s Edition.

Purchase Player’s Edition

‘Full Rules of Golf’: The full edition of the Rules will be written in the third person and will include illustrations. The Rules of Golf is intended to be the primary publication for officials and is expected Golf Club Committees and Referees will use the publication as their primary Rules of Golf resource.

Click here to view the 2019 Rules of Golf.

Purchase Rules of Golf book

The Official Guide to the Rules of Golf: This “guidebook” replaces the Decisions book and will contain information to best support committees and officials. It includes interpretations on the Rules, Committee procedures (available local rules and information on establishing the terms of the competition), and the Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities. It is a “long-form” resource document intended as a supplementary publication. 

Click here to view the 2019 Official Guide.

The official guide will be available for purchase on our shop in October.

Resources

Visual Assets

Infographics – 2019 Rules Modernization

Documents

2019 Rules of Golf

2019 Player’s Edition

Links

2019 Official Guide

Rules of Golf App – iOS

Rules of Golf App – Android

Search and browse the Rules of Golf on the R&A Rules Explorer

Visual Search on the R&A Website and App

Quiz on the R&A Website and App

R&A Rules Modernization website

USGA Rules Modernization website

Available Soon (Launching Late Fall)

Top 10 Rules Essentials on the R&A Website and App
The top 10 Rules Essentials will allow every golfer to learn the essentials of the new Rules of Golf in a fun and user-friendly way before playing in 2019.  There will be 10 short videos to explain the most commonly used Rules. These will be made available one by one on social media starting in September, and will then be available in full on the web and app from November.

Rules Academy (R&A Website only)
The Rules Academy will be updated for the 2019 Rules of Golf. The “Academy” is aimed at all golfers and will use a combination of text, videos and diagrams to help you learn the most important aspects of the Rules.  You will also have the option to take an exam at the end to check that you are 2019-ready.  The Rules Academy is the on-line version of a Level 1 R&A Rules Seminar, which is the first step of the R&A’s three tier Rules Education programme. This will be available from October 2018.

Committee Toolkit
The Committee Toolkit has been designed to help those responsible for preparing the golf course for general play and for those running and administering competitions at all levels.  The “Toolkit” aims to help Committees get to know the Committee Procedures section of the Official Guide, and to better understand the changes that they need to make in advance of 2019 to reflect the new Rules.

The toolkit also includes a ‘Local Rules Creator’.  The purpose of this is to helps Clubs and Committees with the process of updating Local Rules for 2019.  Of course, the amount of space available on scorecards is limited and with that in mind, short form Local Rules are also available.

Current Rules of Golf (2016)

Click here to view the 2018 Rules of Golf.

Rules Education

In addition to publishing the Rules of Golf, Golf Canada is committed to train and educate all golfers that could ultimately lead to national certification as a Referee.

New for 2019, Golf Canada will be adopting the R&A’s Rules Education system. One of the main objectives of the Rules Modernization Initiative was to create consistency around the world in many facets of the Rules of Golf, including educating and training referees. The exams that Golf Canada will use and the designation by marks achieved will be consistent throughout the countries allied to the R&A, such as Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

While Golf Canada traditionally has employed a four-level system, the R&A’s Rules Education program consists of a three-tiered approach. In order to align the programs, Golf Canada’s current Levels 1 and 2 will be consolidated into just one level (the new Level 1). We will maintain separate programs for individuals to continue through our Rules Education Pathway at the provincial and national level, which will be the new Level 2 and Level 3.

The chart below compares the Levels from 2018 to what will be in place for 2019:

2018 2019
Level 1 (Online) Level 1 (Online)
Level 2 (Online)
Level 3 (Provincial) Level 2 (Provincial)
Level 4 (National) Level 3 (National)

Level 1

Level 1 provides an interesting and easy way to learn the basics of the Rules of Golf. This level will focus on Etiquette, the principle definitions and commonly encountered situations on the course. As part of the Level 1 program, students will be able to test their knowledge by taking the review questions at the end of each section before attempting the online Level 1 Exam.

Level 2

Level 2 (provincial certification) seminars will be conducted by provincial golf associations, and the curriculum will begin to look at the more important playing Rules in detail. Some of the complexities that are found in the Decisions book are introduced along while also implementing on-course demonstrations. Level 2 (Provincial) will be designed for individuals with an involvement in tournament administration, or a desire to have such an involvement.

Level 3

Level 3 (national certification) will consist of a three-day seminar run by Golf Canada. It serves to give guidance and advice on refereeing at the highest level. This program is intended for experienced referees who wish to improve both their technical and practical knowledge as a referee.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Golf Canada will be launching our online Rules Education Program for the 2019 Rules of Golf in October. New content will be available to educate all golfers on the changes to the new Rules soon.

Level 3 – (National) Rules Seminar Information

Golf Canada’s seminars on the 2019 Rules of Golf are intended for experienced referees.

The fall 2018 and spring 2019 seminars will be focused mainly on the changes to the Rules for 2019 with less time spent on officiating.

The two series of workshops will have different exams. This will allow anyone taking the exam in the fall of 2018 to also take the exam given in the spring of 2019, should there be a need or desire to do so.

Entry Requirements – 2019 Rules of Golf Seminar Series in the Fall of 2018

3-DAY SEMINARS (Fri. – Sun.)

Priority for registration for the fall 2018 series of Rules of Golf seminars on the 2019 Rules of Golf will be given to persons who:

  • have achieved 85% or better on the Level 3 Rules Exam written in 2013 or later; or
  • have achieved 85% or better on the Level 4 Rules Exam written in 2013 or later; or
  • have achieved 70% or better on the USGA Rules Exam written in 2013 or later;

AND

  • have completed the required practical hours for Level 3 or Level 4

NOTE: For this seminar series, there will not be an option to write the exam without attending the seminar unless you attended a seminar in the fall of 2018.


Entry Requirements – 2019 Rules of Golf Spring Seminar Series

3-DAY SEMINARS (Fri. to Sun.)

Priority for registration for the spring 2019 series of Rules of Golf seminars on the 2019 Rules of Golf will be given to persons who:

  • have achieved 85% or better on the Level 3 Rules Exam written in 2013 or later; or
  • have achieved 85% or better on the Level 4 Rules Exam written in 2013 or later; or
  • have achieved 70% or better on the USGA Rules Exam written in 2013 or later; or
  • have been previously certified at Level 4 or equivalent by Golf Canada;
  • AND
  • have completed the required practical hours for Level 3 or Level 4

NOTE: For this seminar series, there will not be an option to write the exam without attending the seminar.


Dates and Locations – 2019 Rules of Golf Seminars (Fall of 2018 and Spring of 2019)

2018 Fall National Rules Seminars

Nov.16 –18 | Vancouver, B.C. (Point Grey Golf & CC)

Nov. 23 –25 | Calgary, Alta. (Grey Eagle Resort and Casino)

Nov. 23 – 25 | Quebec, QC (French only – Location: TBD) – CANCELLED

Nov. 23 – 25 | Montreal, QC (Elm Ridge CC)

Nov. 30 – Dec. 2 | Oakville, Ont. (Glen Abbey Golf Club)

Nov. 30 – Dec. 2 | Halifax, N.S. (Brightwood Golf & CC)


2019 Spring National Rules Seminars

March 29 – March 31 | Moncton, N.B. (Location: Royal Oaks Golf Club)

March 29 – March 31 | Victoria, B.C. (Location: Royal Colwood Golf Club)

April 5 – 7  | Ottawa, Ont. (The Royal Ottawa Golf Club)

April 26 – 28 | Montreal, Q.C. (FRENCH Only – Elm Ridge CC)

April 26 – 28 | Winnipeg, M.B. (St. Charles Golf & CC)

Register!


IMPORTANT INFORMATION

2018 Rules Certification Extensions

Golf Canada has decided for those level 4 officials whose certification will no longer be valid in 2018, we will be extending their certification until December 31, 2018.

2019 Golf Canada Rules of Golf Seminars

The first series of workshops on the new Rules of Golf will be conducted in the Fall of 2018, with a second series of workshops scheduled during the Spring of 2019. The two series of workshops will have different exams. This will allow anyone taking the exam in the Fall of 2018 to also take the exam given in the Spring of 2019, should there be a need or desire to do so.

The schedule for workshops on the new Rules will be published in the spring, with registration opening in the early summer. Additionally, information about new tools and resources to support your learning of the new Rules will be provided in the coming months.

Equipment

The List of conforming drivers and conforming golf balls are universal lists used by all golf associations.

  1. List of conforming driver heads
  2. List of conforming golf balls

Ask a Rules Expert

To ask a rules question, please email us at smrules@golfcanada.ca.

If you have a rules question regarding a competition currently taking place (the competition has not closed), then you may wish to use the Competition Hotline.

To contact Golf Canada for a ruling during a competition please call Adam Helmer, Director of Rules and Competitions at 416-450-6374.

If your call is not answered immediately, please leave a detailed message including your name, title (Rules Chair, Professional, etc.) phone number where you can be contacted and a description of the incident requiring a ruling. Your call will be returned as soon as possible.