Local Rules and Guidance
Although players should have a basic understanding of the Rules of Golf, there are many occasions where rules are hotly debated at the 19th Hole. This page aims to throw some light on these topics of interest. New content will be added as the bar discussions continue!
DO YOU REALLY NEED TO PICK YOUR BALL UP TO IDENTIFY IT?
Under the Rules of Golf, you may lift your ball to identify it provided that you have marked its position before lifting and that you replace it on its original spot. In addition to this, you must not clean your ball more than is needed to identify it (except on the putting green) (Rule 7.2). Failure to follow this procedure, or if you lift your ball under this rule when it is not reasonably neccessary to identify it, will result in a one-shot penalty (Rule 7.3)
If you place your ball somewhere other than it´s original position and play your shot then the penalty is the General Penalty of two shots (Rule 14.7a).
The Committee´s advice is to ensure that your ball is always marked clearly on both sides which will largely eliminate the need to pick your ball up to identify it!
TOO MANY DISQUALIFICATIONS!
The Rules of Golf only require you and your marker to verify your card, have the correct gross scores recorded and hand your card in to the Committee at the end of your round.
It makes the Committees job much easier if the card is completed something like the card in this image.
To avoid disqualification, it´s good practice to run through your scores with your marker and check you have both signed the card before handing it in. It takes a few moments but it´s worth it!
DO I ALWAYS GET FREE RELIEF?
¨My ball is next to a water pipe (or some other immovable obstruction), so I must be entitled to free relief under Rule 16.1¨
16.1a (3) No Relief When Clearly Unreasonable. There is no relief under Rule 16.1:
When playing the ball as it lies is clearly unreasonable because of something from which the player is not allowed to take free relief (such as when a player is unable to make a stroke because of where the ball lies in a bush), or
When interference exists only because a player chooses a club, type of stance or swing or direction of play that is clearly unreasonable under the circumstances.
ONLINE COURSES FOR GOLF RULES
Why not take an online Rules course to improve your understanding? Both the USGA and R&A offer these courses and links can be found in the Úseful Links Section of this website.
RELIEF FROM IMMOVABLE OBSTRUCTIONS
The players ball has finished in this position just to the right of the twelfth green. They would like to putt towards the flag but the chain (which is in the penalty area) is interfering with their swing. Free relief or not?
Relief from interference (lie of ball, stance or swing) by things like posts and chains, which the rules call immovable obstructions, has everything to do with where the ball is and not where the obstruction is.
If the players ball is anywhere on the course, except in a penalty area, the player is entitled to free relief under Rule 16.1
If the players ball lies in the penalty area, the only relief the player is entitled to is penalty relief under the penalty area rule, Rule 17
HOW OUR SYSTEM SPLITS TIES IN A COMPETITION
The R&A in section 5 of About Committee Procedures suggest the following method of splitting ties:
* This was researched by the Ladies Captain after some discussion in the Ladies Section and is how our system (HandicapMaster) determines winners when scores are tied.
¨One method of matching scorecards is to determine the winner based on the best score for the last round. If the tying players have the same score for the last round or if the competition consisted of a single round, determine the winner based on the score for the last nine holes, last six holes, last three holes and finally the 18th hole. If there is still a tie, then the last six holes, three holes and final hole of the first nine holes will be considered in turn.¨
In medal competitions, the stroke index table is not used and half of the individuals competition handicap is used for their handicap for the 9 holes (a third for the last 6 etc.).
REMOVING LOOSE IMPEDIMENTS
The rules of golf allow you to remove loose impediments which are unattached natural objects and do not include sand or loose soil. Take care when doing this because the player must not cause his ball to move during the procedure.
An exception is that you can brush sand or loose soil away on the putting green, but they are not loose impediments anywhere else on the course.
An example at Golf Del Sur would be when your ball is lying in a waste area. You may remove stones, leaves etc. from around your ball but you cannot brush loose soil away.
Reference, R&A Rule 15.1
AIR SHOTS ON THE TEE!
There has been considerable debate regarding air shots on the tee. The key to this is Rule 6.1a ´A player has started a hole when they make a stroke to begin the hole´ and the R&A definition of a stroke; ´The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.´
If the intention was to hit the ball then it is not a penalty but does counts as a stroke.