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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!


Sometimes the Nearest Point of Complete Relief puts the player at a disadvantage and, in some cases it is not possible to take complete relief because of a thick bush or rock face. There are occasions where the player may have to play the ball as it lies or take penalty relief under the unplayable ball option.

This short video illustrates mistakes that players make when taking such relief.

See Rule 16 (Relief from Abnormal Course Conditions) and Rule 19 (Unplayable Ball)

We have an interesting situation on the 4th hole of the Links Course where the cart path is close to the rock face. There are areas where the cart path is so close to the rock face that getting full relief is not possible. This situation is dealt with in the Rule Book under Definitions, Nearest Point of Complete Relief/5 where the last paragraph reads, ¨If it is not physically possible to drop the ball in the identified relief area, the player is not allowed relief under Rule 16.1¨. In this scenario the player would have to play the ball as it lies or take penalty relief.


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!

Golf ball


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!



¨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¨

Not necessarily!

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.

Golf Balls


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.

Man on Computer


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

12th Green.jpg


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

Sticks and Stones


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. 

Golf Club and Ball


If there are matching scores we look at the back 9 on the card (for our course this is the North even if we played the course in the reverse order i.e. North then Links).

The winner is determined 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 score for the last six holes, three holes and final hole of the front nine are considered.

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.).

Click the link at the foot of this page to see why we use the Back Nine on the scorecard to resolve ties.

Golf Clubs, Ball and Trophy

Why we use the Back Nine on the Scorecard to resolve ties

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