The USGA and The R&A Release Clarification to Rule 4.1b

The USGA and The R&A have provided a clarification that introduces a Local Rule, allowing players to replace a broken or significantly damaged club, except in cases of abuse.

Under the Local Rule, a club is “broken or significantly damaged” if it meets the following conditions: 

  • the shaft breaks into pieces, splinters or is bent (but not when the shaft is only dented)
  • the club face impact area is visibly deformed (but not when the club face is only scratched) 
  • the clubhead is visibly and significantly deformed
  • the clubhead is detached or loose from the shaft, or
  • the grip is loose

However, a player is not allowed to replace his or her club solely because there is a crack in the club face or clubhead.

Committees can begin using this Local Rule immediately.

The complete language of this new Local Rule and other clarifications can be found here:

Clarifications will normally be updated on a quarterly basis in January, April, July and October.  The next quarterly update will be in July 2019.