Our articles on the principal changes in the Rules of Golf for 2012 – 15 continues as we discuss “Rule 6-3a Time of Starting”. Rule 6-3a has been amended to provide that the penalty for starting late, but within five minutes of the starting time, is reduced from disqualification to the loss of the first hole in match play or two strokes at the first hole in stroke play. Previously, this penalty reduction could be introduced as a condition of competition.
Though many golfers will notice this revision, the Rules will be more forgiving to players who get to the tee late, but within five minutes, of their starting time. In the past, if a player arrived late to the tee, they were disqualified unless the Committee had added a condition of competition that allowed for a five minute grace period, which would modify the penalty to two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play. The 2012 revision modifies the rule to match the current condition of the competition. Now, only players that arrive more than five minutes after the starting time will be disqualified.
Frank Guastella, PGA Master Professional
Michigan PGA Rules Official
Staff Writer for Mike Fay Golf