December - 2009
Already 2010 is upon us and golf will be entering a new two-year cycle regarding the Decisions On the Rules of Golf.
In November, following the two-year review cycle with the Royal and Ancient, Ltd., (the R&A, Ltd.), the United States Golf Association has announced 28 new Decisions, 51 revised Decisions and one withdrawn Decision for the 2010-2011 edition of "Decisions on The Rules of Golf." The changes will take effect on January 1, 2010. The USGA and The R&A have also issued a joint statement of principles regarding the use of electronic devices, including distance-measuring devices. The USGA and The R&A first allowed the use of distance-measuring devices by local rule in January 2006 and are reaffirming that these devices may be used to measure only distance and must not be able to measure other conditions such as wind speed or direction, the slope of the ground or the temperature. Neither the USGA nor The R&A anticipate adopting the local rule at any of their championships.
The USGA states "With 28 new Decisions and 51 revised Decisions there are no earth-shattering changes that will affect the fundamental way the game is played. That lack of significant change reflects the fact that the Rules themselves were not changed (the next revision of the Rules in their quadrennial review cycle will be in 2012) as well as a general satisfaction with the current state of the Rules and their Decisions. The great majority of changes fall into the category of clarifications of details of the Rules."
The Decision that seems to have gained the most interest is Decision 20-2a/8 (Player Drops Ball to Determine Where Original Ball May Roll if Dropped). It's a long and winding road to get to the reasoning behind why the USGA's and the R&A's Rules of Golf Committees made their final Decision. If you are interested to see why they made their Decision and how long this process took, go to USGA-org.-Changes to Decisions on the Rules of Golf.