Golf Rules & Local Rules

RULE CHANGES (January 2019)

  1. Club-length for measuring relief area – longest club in bag (but not long putter)
  2. Ready Golf – this is encouraged, in a safe and responsible way (R5)
  3. Ball moved during a search – no penalty for accidentally moving (R7)
  4. Identifying the ball – must be marked before lifting or rotating, must not be
    cleaned more than needed for identification, must replace on original spot. (R7)
  5. Double hit – no penalty if ball accidentally struck more than once (R10)
  6. Ball accidently hits the player or equipment – no penalty, play as it lies (R11)
  7. Ball hit opponent in match play – played as it lies (R11)
  8. Touching the sand in the bunker – accidental touch no penalty. You cannot touch
    sand with club during your backswing or in taking practice swings.(R12)
  9. Wrong Green – you must take free relief including your stance (R13)
  10. Ball moves on the green after being marked, lifted and replaced – must be put
    back (R13)
  11. Ball on the green moved accidentally by the player – replace, no penalty (R13)
  12. Repairing damage on the green – now includes spike marks (R13)
  13. Hitting the flagstick – may be left in whilst putting – no penalty (R13)
  14. Ball wedged on the flagstick – classed as holed if part below lip (R13)
  15. Dropping – from knee height, ball must finish in relief area (R14)
    When dropping back-on-the line, your ball cannot be played from nearer the hole than your chosen reference point
  16. Loose impediments – may be removed anywhere on course. However, if ball is
    moved there is a +1 stroke penalty (R15)
  17. Embedded ball – free drop in “general area” not just fairway. Embedded means
    that part of your ball is below the level of the ground (R16)
  18. Animal holes – not restricted to burrowing animals (R16)
  19. Penalty Areas – replacing water hazards. You can now ground your club and take
    practice swings in penalty areas without penalty (R17)
  20. Dropping options for red penalty areas – no opposite relief (R17)
  21. Touching the ground / water in penalty areas – no penalty (R17)
    You cannot take relief from a penalty area unless you are at least 95% certain your ball is in penalty area
  22. Search time for lost ball – 3 minutes (R18)
  23. Provisional ball – can return & play provisional provided within the 3 minutes
    search time (R18)
  24. Unplayable ball in bunker – extra option to drop outside bunker for 2 penalty
    strokes (R19)
    SEE DEFINITIONS – Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf 2019 page 136

New Wording for Preferred Lies 2019

With the change to the Rules of Golf for 2019, the wording for Preferred
Lies has changed.
When a player’s ball lies in a part of the general area cut to fairway
height or less, the player may take free relief once by placing the original
ball or another ball in and playing it from this relief area:
• Reference Point – Spot of the original ball.
• Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point – 6 inches
The following limits apply on the location of the relief area
• Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point
• Must be in the general area
In proceeding under this Local Rule, the player must choose a spot to
place the ball and use the procedures for replacing a ball under Rules
14.2b(2) and 14.2e.

Winter Rules

(Temporary local rules applicable from 1st OCTOBER to 30th APRIL, if required)

Preferred lies

’A ball lying ON a closely mown area through the green may be lifted without penalty and cleaned. Before lifting the ball, the player must mark its position. Having lifted the ball, he must place it on a spot within 6 inches [150mm] of and not nearer the hole than where it originally lay, that is not in a hazard and not on a putting green.

A player may place his ball only once, and it is in play when it has been placed (Rule 20-4). If the ball fails to come to rest on the spot on which it is placed, Rule 20-3d applies. If the ball when placed comes to rest on the spot on which it is placed and it subsequently moves, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies, unless the provisions of any other Rule apply. If the player fails to mark the position of the ball before lifting it or moves the ball in any other manner, such as rolling it with a club, he incurs a penalty of one stroke.`

Note: ’Closely Mown Area” means any area of the course, including paths through the rough, cut to fairway height or less.
Penalty for breach of Local Rule:
Match play Loss of hole; Stroke play Two strokes

Plugged ball

A ball embedded in the rough may be marked, lifted, cleaned and then dropped no nearer the hole without penalty. If it again plugs it may be re-dropped without penalty (playing partners must agree the ball is plugged in all instances).

Abnormal ground conditions

When the putting green is very wet or there is frost, it is not necessary to tend the flag. If the ball is holed with the flagstick in place, no penalty is incurred. If the player’s ball strikes the flagstick when attended, a penalty is incurred.

Winter mats

A player may stand outside the teeing ground to play a ball within the teeing ground.

Temporary greens

Where the hole on the temporary green is oversized the ball must be putted out. Where it is a regular sized cup, then the ball coming to rest within one normal sized putter length of the hole is deemed to have been holed out with the addition of one stroke.

Leaves on the fairway

During the Autumn the starter of any competition may declare temporary relief without penalty on the fairway when the ball is lost under fallen leaves. All playing partners must agree that the ball came to rest on the fairway.

Stakes and ropes around approach to greens

A drop within one club length of relief (no nearer the hole) may be taken, without penalty, when the ball comes to rest close to the temporary stakes and ropes which protect the greens.

NB: These temporary local rules may be revoked, supplemented or altered at any time by the Club Committee as the Committee sees fit.