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FORE Winter 2014 : Page 64

KNOW THE RULES Bring Your SmartPhone In the Decisions For 2014, more devices can now be used on the course By Jeff Ninnemann, Director of Rules & Competitions T he use of a compass is no longer a breach of the Rules. As we’ve heard from some of you, that’s the greatest change the Rules of Golf will ever make. Why? Because certain smartphones, such as the iPhone 4, may now be used as a distance measuring device. Ev-ery two years, the Decisions on the Rules of Golf are amended to make our code more applicable to the evolving game and environment in which golf is played. Here’s a look at some of the key changes that are now in eff ect after the most recent changes: Ⅲ While certain smartphones can now be used as distance measur-ing devices, some still cannot. For example, the iPhone 5 has a built in level associated with its compass application. While the compass itself is no longer a breach of the Rules, the use of a level is – there-fore, the iPhone 5 would be a non-conforming distance measuring device since it has the capability to measure factors besides distance, which are not permitted by the Rules. As you can see, the Rules of Golf will have its hands full at-tempting to keep up with today’s racing technology. Ⅲ The rules also now permit a player to look at weather condi-tions on an app or a web browser. The idea is that this data is not specific to your exact location, thus it is no longer a breach to obtain it. As long as you’re not carrying a device such as an anemometer (yes, I had to Google that word) capable of measuring conditions where you’re physically located, you’re in the clear. Every sport’s governing body has to eventually address the capabili-ties of technology and television. The NFL, for example, has done an amazing job with instant replay, while MLB, well, they’re working on it. One of golf’s perceived hurdles is the couch referee, whose flat screen TV is so powerful that he has the ability to see (and call in) rules infractions from home. The USGA and R&A released a state-ment that addresses this topic, and while we shouldn’t necessarily expect to see a change in how they respond to whistle blowers, they did create a new decision (18/4) which covers the situation where a ball at rest is moved by a player, but the movement is only discern-able through the use of advanced technology. In other words, if the player is unable to determine that the ball moved with the naked eye, he or she is given the benefit of the doubt and the ball is deemed not to have moved. Ⅲ In the coming years, I hope to see more changes that assist with the speed of play, but we got a start in 2014. For years, the rules didn’t allow a player to first go forward to search for his original ball prior to playing a provisional ball. New 64 | FORE Winter 2014

Know The Rules

Jeff Ninnem

Bring Your SmartPhone In the Decisions For 2014, more devices can now be used on the course

The use of a compass is no longer a breach of the Rules. As we’ve heard from some of you, that’s the greatest change the Rules of Golf will ever make. Why? Because certain smartphones, such as the iPhone 4, may now be used as a distance measuring device. Every two years, the Decisions on the Rules of Golf are amended to make our code more applicable to the evolving game and environment in which golf is played. Here’s a look at some of the key changes that are now in effect after the most recent changes:

• While certain smartphones can now be used as distance measuring devices, some still cannot. For example, the iPhone 5 has a built in level associated with its compass application. While the compass itself is no longer a breach of the Rules, the use of a level is – therefore, the iPhone 5 would be a nonconforming distance measuring device since it has the capability to measure factors besides distance, which are not permitted by the Rules. As you can see, the Rules of Golf will have its hands full attempting to keep up with today’s racing technology.

• The rules also now permit a player to look at weather conditions on an app or a web browser. The idea is that this data is not specific to your exact location, thus it is no longer a breach to obtain it. As long as you’re not carrying a device such as an anemometer (yes, I had to Google that word) capable of measuring conditions where you’re physically located, you’re in the clear.

Every sport’s governing body has to eventually address the capabilities of technology and television. The NFL, for example, has done an amazing job with instant replay, while MLB, well, they’re working on it. One of golf’s perceived hurdles is the couch referee, whose flat screen TV is so powerful that he has the ability to see (and call in) rules infractions from home. The USGA and R&A released a statement that addresses this topic, and while we shouldn’t necessarily expect to see a change in how they respond to whistle blowers, they did create a new decision (18/4) which covers the situation where a ball at rest is moved by a player, but the movement is only discernable through the use of advanced technology. In other words, if the player is unable to determine that the ball moved with the naked eye, he or she is given the benefit of the doubt and the ball is deemed not to have moved.

• In the coming years, I hope to see more changes that assist with the speed of play, but we got a start in 2014. For years, the rules didn’t allow a player to first go forward to search for his original ball prior to playing a provisional ball. New Decision 27-2a/1.5 allows the player to walk forward up to approximately 50 yards prior to returning to play a provisional ball. This is especially useful in the case of a blind shot or when playing a course that is unfamiliar to you. After walking this short distance forward, if you then become aware that your original ball may be lost or out of bounds, the rules now permit you to return to play a provisional. Why? Because it takes less time to do this than to walk a significant distance forward only to have to return to put another ball into play.

• Perhaps the biggest enhancement we’ll see in the future is the ruling bodies’ attempt to simplify the book. Twenty-four decisions were removed (which makes it thinner) and illustrations were added for clarity, such as in Decision 25-2/0.5, which now better explains what it means for a ball to be considered embedded. If I were a betting man, I’d say expect to see more changes like these in the future, as our code will continue to evolve to meet the demands of tomorrow’s game.

Read the full article at http://editiondigital.net/article/Know+The+Rules+/1613443/192735/article.html.

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