This new equipment rule offers golfers more leniency during rounds

GC Quad sticker dots

Reflective dots used to track the club face on a GC Quad launch monitor

Ryan Barath

The rules of golf can be complicated and confusing, but the USGA has been doing its best to help make the rules easier to understand. Witness the recently released tweaks for 2023.

Among the changes: the ability to replace a broken club, no disqualification for forgetting to sign a scorecard (under a local rule) and modifications for golfers with a disability. But for those hardcore practicers out there, there’s another new rule that’s also worth noting.

new USGA rule stickers quad
Rules of golf 4.1a(3) USGA

The new rules change to 4.1a(3) — good luck pulling that reference out of thin air! — now allows golfers to remove any clubface sticker from the club before using it (with no penalty!) and then continue to use that club during the round. The old rule prohibited the use of the club even after the stickers were removed.

single gc quad sticker dot
The GC Quad also allows for a single sticker mode Ryan Barath

You might think it would be easy to remember if your golf club had a sticker on the face or not, but with the popularity of Foresight Sports’ GCQuad launch monitor, which requires small reflective dots to capture data of the golf club during impact, it’s easy to forget they’re there — especially when under a headcover. Or, say, when you’re busy prepping for a PGA Tour round.

Rory Sabo Vegas Shriners
Rory Sabbatini at the Shriners Open Ryan Barath

This exact scenario played out last year when Olympic silver medalist Rory Sabbatini forgot to remove a reflective stick from his 3-wood before using it during the RSM Classic — and it resulted in him being disqualified.

So for anyone who practices or uses reflective club face stickers to test golf equipment (your correspondent is taking note!), make sure to take them off before you hit that next shot, and the USGA has no problem with it.

Are you planning an equipment overhaul in 2023? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.

Ryan Barath Editor

Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and’s senior editor for equipment. He has an extensive club-fitting and -building background with more than 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. Before joining the staff, he was the lead content strategist for Tour Experience Golf, in Toronto, Canada.