Golf: R&A to conduct comprehensive review to refresh golf rules

Singapore golfer Koh Sock Hwee teeing off at the Sentosa Golf Club on Nov 22, 2013.
Singapore golfer Koh Sock Hwee teeing off at the Sentosa Golf Club on Nov 22, 2013. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Faced with a decreasing number of new players, falling television viewership and the ever-increasing challenge of attracting a young and restless generation, golf will undergo a "significant review" of its rules in a bid to freshen itself.

This is according to David Bonsall of the R&A, which, together with the United States Golf Association, governs the game worldwide.

Speaking on the sidelines of the R&A - South East Asia Rules Launch, held at Sentosa Golf Club, Bonsall told The Straits Times: "Every 30 years or so, we do tend to have significant reviews. We feel it's time and we have brought together people from governing bodies, the Tours, and rules experts.

"It's very significant, and it's about supporting and improving the game of golf. It's a big step for golf, and so it takes a while."

Key outcomes of this major review include simplifying the rules, and improving the pace of play. Each round of 18 holes takes around four to five hours to complete, which Bonsall admitted was too long.

Bonsall, the chairman of the R&A's Rules of Golf Committee, likened the scale of this Rules Review Project to the 1952 coming together of R&A and USGA to jointly produce the rules of golf to be implemented worldwide.

He added that they have been working on the project for the past three to four years, and the new changes would likely coincide with the release of the next edition of Rules of Golf in 2020.