Current Rule: A Committee may penalise a player for improper conduct (such as dishonesty, offensive remarks, damaging equipment or the course, etc.) only in one way:
Ø If the player is guilty of a “serious breach of etiquette”, the Committee may disqualify the player from the competition under Rule 33-7.
Ø But unless some other specific Rule is breached, the Committee has no authority to impose any lesser penalty for a player’s misconduct.
Proposed Rule: Under new Rule 1.2b, a Committee would be allowed to adopt a “Code of Conduct” that:
Ø Sets the Committee’s own standards for how players should conduct themselves, and
Ø May set penalties less than disqualification (such as a one-stroke penalty or a two-stroke penalty/loss of hole penalty) for a player’s breach of those standards.
The Committee would also still be able to disqualify a player for serious misconduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game, as emphasised in new Rule 1.2a (see Explanation for Proposed Rule Change – Expected Standards of Player Conduct).
Reasons for Change:
Ø Some Committees have requested additional means under the Rules to allow them to address player conduct that is contrary to expected standards that are central to the game (such as courtesy and sportsmanship).
o In many cases, disqualifying a player for inappropriate behavior would be overly harsh - leaving Committees today with no way to penalise players for such behavior.
o Some Committees deal with this through disciplinary sanctions outside the Rules (such as warnings, fines, restriction of playing privileges, etc.), but such methods are not always effective, appropriate or practical.
o Also, as the game’s global reach has continued to expand to include golfers from many more cultures and backgrounds, there is a growing desire to let Committees set and enforce standards that fit their particular needs and local norms of proper behavior.
o This has been a particular concern for junior golf organisations whose mission often includes teaching young golfers how to act while on the course.
Ø The proposed Rule change would give Committees flexibility to set and enforce standards of conduct specific to their competitions and players, should they choose to do so.