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How Many Rules Of Golf Are There?

How Many Rules Of Golf Are There?

The answer to this question as of January 1, 2023, and at the date of publication of this article, is 25 but that number has changed over the years.

Back in 1744, The Gentlemen Golfers of Leith, who would later become the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield, drafted the earliest known written rules of the game – ‘Articles and Laws in Playing at Golf’ (known today as the ‘13 Articles’) – for a specific competition day on Leith links. So, the earliest known number of Rules is 13, with some of those early principles still recognisable in today’s code.

Early golfers

Different clubs had different rules and codes in golf’s formative years with The Royal and Ancient assuming control in the 1890s

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Various other clubs had their own codes and rules in golf’s early era and it wasn’t until 1891 that The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews first formed a committee to oversee a major update of its own code, which would subsequently become widely adopted. A few years later, The R&A became the game’s recognised rulemaking authority and its newly established Rules of Golf Committee published golf’s first ever ‘official’ Rules in 1899.

It is not the remit of this article to chronicle every change over the years, but the author did acquire a copy of the 1988 Rules in a charity shop some years ago. By then, the number of Rules totalled 34, albeit with countless sub-sections, clauses and exceptions, which meant that the number of scenarios and situations addressed probably ran well into treble figures if you really dissected things.

Rules of Golf 1988

Pages from the 1988 Rule book showing 34 Rules. It remained at that number until the major 2019 Rules revisions

(Image credit: Future)

As a brief aside, in 2000 Callaway tried to add an extra Rule tongue-in-cheek when it named its first ever golf ball ‘Rule 35’, suggesting that Rule 35 should simply be, ‘Enjoy the game!’

Callaway Rule 35 golf ball

Callaway tried to add a tongue-in-cheek 35th Rule in 2000!

(Image credit: X)

But the actual figure remained at 34 until January 1, 2019 when The R&A’s and USGA’S major modernisation and improvement programme reduced that number down to 24 via various acts of streamlining, restructuring and amalgamation.

Dropping from knee height

The change to knee-high drops was just one of many major revisions from January 1, 2019

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the January 2023 Rules revisions, the number rose again to 25 when the Rules for players with disabilities were incorporated into the main Rules….


Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Golf Monthly…