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Nova Scotia Golf Association – Players Code of Conduct


Well here we are at the last Rules email for the season.  Almost all of the changes except behaviour have been covered. With the 2019 Rules, the game is returning to the Club / Tournament Committees and the Players themselves. The etiquette and ethics pre-amble have moved into the rules of golf and the instructions for committees has been greatly enhanced with detailed Committee Procedures covered in 146 pages.   


Insisting on High Standards of Conduct and Trusting Player Integrity 


Spirit of the Game, Rule 1.2

New provisions have been added reinforcing the high standards of conduct expected from all players on the course and the Committee’s discretion to disqualify players for serious misconduct. Players must:
  1. Act with integrity by applying all penalties and being honest in all aspects of the rules. 
  2. Show consideration and be courteous to others by playing at a prompt pace, looking out for the safety of others and not distracting the play of another player.
  3. Take good care of the course by replacing divots, smoothing bunkers, repairing ball-marks and not causing damage to the course.

Code of Player Conduct, Rule 1.2b

Committees are given the authority to adopt their own code of player conduct and to set penalties for the breach of standards in that code. Breaches of conduct may include one or two stroke penalties or for serious misconduct assess a Disqualification. Golf Canada and NSGA events use the Golf Canada Code of Player Conduct


Player Integrity and Trust, Rule 1.3

The Rules now implicitly trust the player’s good judgment and honesty. 
  1. The Rules eliminated the need to announce intent to lift a ball. When you have good reason to lift your ball to identify it, to see if it is cut or cracked or to see if you are entitled to relief (such as to see if the ball is embedded), you are no longer required first to announce to another player or your marker that you intend to do so or to give that person an opportunity to observe the process, Rule 14.1
  2. Reasonable judgment standard: When you need to estimate or measure a spot, point, line, area or distance under a Rule, your reasonable judgment will not be second-guessed based on later evidence (such as video review) if you did all that could reasonably be expected under the circumstances to estimate or measure accurately, Rule 1.3a.
Conclusion and Acknowledgment
This concludes the spring rules update for the 2019 Rules of Golf. These evolved from the Developers of the new Rules and their “Overview of the Rules”. I hope that you get out and enjoy the game. 


These are the objectives of the 2019 Rules of Golf: 
  1. Eliminating many restrictions (and thus eliminating many penalties) that have been perceived as unfair or unnecessary and/or that have required close and controversial judgments to be made; 
  2. Making various procedures easier to use, such as how to take relief and what to do when a club is damaged during play; 
  3. Using the Rules affirmatively to help address the pressing issue of pace of play; and 
  4. Reinforcing the game’s traditional emphasis on both expecting high standards of conduct from all players and trusting them to act honestly and reasonably. 
I leave the Final Word to the 2019 Rules of Golf developers: 
“We know that there are limits in trying to achieve all of our goals and objectives, especially at the same time. This is for two reasons. First, golf is an inherently complicated sport. It is played outdoors in all types of weather, on non-standardized fields of play found in almost every type of landscape and human environment on the planet and with people, animals, vehicles and a great many other objects regularly in the way. The game’s bedrock principles are simple – you are to play a ball from the tee until it ends up in the hole and to play the ball as it lies and the course as you find it. But the number and range of things that can happen to a golf ball and a golfer during play are almost infinite. The result is a need for many reasonable exceptions to these principles and for procedures telling the player what can or must be done in a wide range of situations that inevitably arise. This leads to longer and more detailed Rules, as players understandably expect answers to all such situations. 


Second, there is often a tension between pursuing simplicity (which may lead towards having absolute rules that are easy to apply but may produce outcomes that sometimes seem wrong or unfair) versus trying to achieve  “fair” and “right” results (which may lead towards having exceptions and more complicated doctrines so that slightly different factual scenarios can have different outcomes). Some changes (such as elimination of certain prohibitions and penalties) may help achieve both objectives, but other changes necessarily go in one direction or the other. Our overriding goals in balancing these considerations were to do what seems best from the standpoint of all golfers and to preserve the fundamental challenge and essence of the game.”


Love the Game, Grow the Game