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

Frequently Asked Questions of implementation in Canada


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 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 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 Official Guide.

Purchase Official Guide

2021 National Rules Seminars Information

Golf Canada will be conducting its National Rules Seminars virtually due to the continued impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. While we explored in-person options, we were unable to commit to doing so safely.

Registration & Fee

Participants will be charged a fee of $200 and will be required to register for one of the sessions outlined below by 5:00 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, February 10th.  The exam will be optional, but all participants must notify the National Rules Seminar Administrator of their intention to write the exam at least one (1) week prior to the start of their registered seminar.  Referees who have previously attended and certified at the National Level will also have the option of not attending the seminar sessions and only writing the exam.  The exam only fee is $100.

Participants may register for a session that is not held within their region to accommodate their personal and/or work schedules.  Additionally, participants in Québec may opt to attend any of the other sessions if they would prefer that the material is covered in English.

CLICK HERE to register.

Format & Schedule

Each seminar will be delivered over a period of three (3) weeks and will have a total of five (5) sessions (the fifth session will be the online examination).  All the sessions (excluding the examination) will be a maximum of two (2) hours and will take place at the time indicated in the document below.  The timing of each examination session will be communicated at a later date.

2021 Seminar Dates & Times 


  • Achieved Provincial Level certification in 2019 or 2020 (including all practical hours)
  • Achieved a minimum of 80% or better on the National Rules Examination in 2019 or 2020
  • Achieved a minimum of 90% or better on the PGA/USGA Rules of Golf Examination in 2019-2021, in addition to having completed the number of practical hours required at the Provincial Level
  • Previous certification (Level 3 or Level 4) under the old Golf Canada Rules Education Program (Note: must have achieved full certification prior to the introduction of the 2019 Rules of Golf)

Minimum & Maximum Session Size

If there are fewer than 7 participants registered by the deadline, Golf Canada reserves the right to cancel the seminar or transfer participants to another seminar.  If cancelled, all applicants will be refunded their seminar fee.  Each seminar will have a maximum capacity of 25 participants.


If you need to withdraw from a seminar, please email the National Rules Seminar Administrator as soon as possible.  If you cancel at least two (2) weeks prior to the first session of your seminar, the seminar fee will be refunded, subject to a $50.00 (or $30.00 for exam-only participants) non-refundable fee to cover the cost of materials and administration.  The seminar fee is fully non-refundable for anyone withdrawing less than 14 days prior to the first session of your seminar.

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 which similarly Golf Canada has adopted. Level 1 is the introductory level to Golf Canada’s Rules Education program which then proceeds into separate programming for individuals to continue through our Rules Education Pathway at the provincial and national level.


Level 1 is an easy and interesting way to learn the basics of golf. This level focuses on the game’s etiquette, key definitions, and the most common situations in the field. As part of the Level 1 program, students can put their knowledge to the test by answering summary questions at the end of each section, before tackling the Level 1 online certification exam.

Please click here to begin Level 1.

Please note when you register to participate in the R & A Rules Academy through the Academy’s R & D Rules website, your contact information and other relevant information, including exam results, will be shared with Golf Canada. Golf Canada reserves the right to use this information to communicate with you about rules training, golf education, volunteer opportunities and golf events. We will use this information to promote and develop golf in Canada. For more information on how we can use and protect your personal information, please see our privacy policy by clicking here.


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


  • Level 1 certified (online)

Requirements to be Provincially Certified:

  • Attend and achieve a minimum of 80% on the Provincial exam, administered by the PA.
  • Complete 50 hours of on-course experience as a Referee.
  • Complete an additional 10 hours accompanying a Nationally certified Referee at a championship

For National accompanying opportunities in your area, please see the Golf Canada Competitions schedule or contact your Provincial Association for more information.


National level seminars 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.


  • Provincial level certification (written and practical components completed)

Requirements to be Nationally Certified:

  • Attend and achieve a minimum of 80% on the National level exam, administered by Golf Canada.
  • Complete 100 hours of on-course experience as a Referee, including 10 of those hours accompanying a current Nationally certified Referee.

Tournament Work Record Form



Modernized Rules of Golf video series featuring Adam Helmer, Golf Canada’s Director of Rules & Competitions.

Visual Assets

Infographics – 2019 Rules Modernization


Rules of Golf

Player’s Edition

2019 Standard Local Rules – Hard Card

Poster – Top 20 Rules Changes for 2019

Clarifications of the 2019 Rules of Golf (Updated October 1, 2020)

COVID-19 Rules of Golf and Rules of Handicapping FAQs


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

Green Reading Material Resources

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.  There will be 10 short videos to explain the most commonly used Rules. Click here to view.

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 familiarize the Committee Procedures section of the Official Guide, and to better understand the changes that they need to make 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. Click here to view.

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 of the program.  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.


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

NEW – R & A Equipment Rules

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 Akash Patel, Manager of Rules and Competitions at 647-233-2930.

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.