Rules of Golf 2023 – Rule 25: Modifications for Players with Disabilities
Golf has developed into a game for everyone – regardless of age, race, gender or ability, and in the 2023 Rules of Golf, this has been endorsed with the addition of a new rule, Rule 25 – Modifications for Players with Disabilities, but it is not a licence for everyone with an ailment or disability to adopt modified rules.
What did the old rules say about players with disabilities?
The modified rules of golf for players with disabilities were separate from the 24 Rules and they only applied if adopted by the committee in charge of a competition. They did not apply automatically to every competition involving players with disabilities and it was up to each committee to decide whether to adopt any of the modified rules for their own competitions.
What does the new Rule 25 say?
Rule 25 automatically applies to all competitions and all forms of play but, Rule 25.1 says it is a “player’s category of disability and eligibility that now determine whether they can use the specific modified Rules in Rule 25″.
These categories are:
- Players who are blind (which includes certain levels of vision impairment),
- Players who are amputees (which means both those with limb deficiencies and those who have lost a limb),
- Players who use assistive mobility devices, and
- Players with intellectual disabilities.
Modifications include, depending on category of disability:
- allowing the setting down of objects to help with aiming,
- stance and swinging,
- anchoring, and
- touching sand in a bunker with a club in front or behind the ball.
But not every player who has a ‘disability’ can take advantage of Rule 25.
Although Rule 25 has removed the need for a Committee to decide if or what modified Rules to adopt for a competition, it still places the onus on the committee to decide what category of disability a player would come within and whether they were eligible to use any specific modifications to the Rules contained in Rule 25.
The Rule only applies to players who fall within those categories covered by Rule 25.
Although there are many players with other types of disabilities (such as players with neurological conditions, players with orthopaedic conditions, players of short stature and players who are deaf). These additional categories of disability are not covered in Rule 25 as, to date, no requirement has been identified for modification of the Rules of Golf for these players.
So, it falls to individual Clubs/Committees to determine whether a player’s disability may affect their playing ability and so be allowed any modified decisions outlined in Rule 25.
More information regarding eligibility for Rule 25 can be found in Section 5D of the Committee Procedures within the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf.
See: Section 5D of Committee Procedures:
Eligibility Requirements for Players with Disabilities to use Rule 25
As provided in Rule 25.1, the modified Rules for players with disabilities apply to all competitions, and it is a player’s category of disability and eligibility that determine whether they can use specific modified Rules in Rule 25.
It is not necessarily the role of a Committee to make assessments on player eligibility. Determining a player’s eligibility to use specific Rules in Rule 25 can be straightforward, but in some cases it is less obvious.
Eligibility for Rule 25 is based on the impact that a player’s impairments have on their ability to play golf rather than being a determination of whether someone is disabled.
A Committee may ask for evidence of a player’s disability in order to confirm the eligibility of a player to use Rule 25. Such evidence could be in the form of a medical certificate, confirmation from a national governing body, a pass issued by an officially accredited medical authority, or something similar.
Alternatively, a Committee may specify that only players who hold a specific pass or certificate are eligible to compete in a competition (with players who are eligible then using the modified Rules applicable to their category of disability).
Examples of passes that a Committee may choose to require as evidence of a category of disability or may require for players to be eligible for specific competitions are the EDGA WR4GD Player Pass and the EDGA Access Pass.
These passes are administered and issued by the EDGA Eligibility Team and the application process for golfers to get an EDGA Pass is free of charge. More information can be found at: www.edgagolf.com/online/pass/pass_info.php
You can download a copy of the Rule 25 Guidance for National Governing Bodies which provides further information by clicking on the Download Button below: