Local Rules

Local Rules –  Updated 2018

Protection of Young Trees

Protection of young staked or boxed trees less than one club length in height. If such a tree interferes with a player’s stance or area of intended swing, the ball must be lifted, without penalty, and dropped in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Rule 24-2b (Immovable Obstruction).  If a ball lies in a water hazard, the player must lift and drop the ball in accordance with Rule 24-2b(i), expect that the nearest point of relief must be in the water hazard and the ball must be dropped in the water hazard, or the player may proceed under Rule 26. The ball may be cleaned when lifted under this Local Rule.

Exception: A player may not obtain relief under this if (a) interference by anything other than such tree makes the stroke clearly impracticable or (b) interference by such a tree would occur only through the use of a clearly unreasonable stroke or an unnecessary abnormal stance, swing or direction of play.

Penalty for Breach of the Local Rule:
Match Play – Loss of Hole; Stroke Play – Two Strokes

Flower Beds

All raised flower beds are ground under repair from which play is prohibited. If a player’s ball lies in the area, or if it interferes with the player’s stance or the area of his intended swing, the player must take relief under Rule 25-1.

Penalty for Breach of the Local Rule:
Match Play – Loss of Hole; Stroke Play – Two Strokes

Stones in Bunkers

Stones in bunkers are movable obstructions (Rules 24-1 applies)

Transportation [Buggies]

Members must not ride on any form of transportation during a club competition unless authorised by the Match & Handicap committee.

Penalty for Breach of the Local Rule:
Match Play – At the conclusion of the hole at which the breach is discovered, the state of the match is adjusted by deducting one hole for each hole at which a breach occurred; maximum deduction per round – two holes.

Stroke Play – Two strokes for each hole at which the breach occurred; maximum penalty per round – four strokes (two strokes at each of the first two holes at which any breach occurred).

Match Play or Stroke Play – If a breach is discovered between the play of two holes, it is deemed to have been discovered during the play of the next hole, and the penalty applied accordingly.

Stableford – Member must report the facts to the Committee before returning his score card; if he fails to do so, they are disqualified. The committee will, from the total points scored for the round, deduct two points for each hole at which any breach occurred, with a maximum deduction per round for four points for each Rule breached.

* Use of any unauthorised form of transportation must be discounted immediately upon discovery that a breach has occurred. Otherwise, the players is disqualified.

Measuring Devices

For all club competitions a player may obtain distance information by using a device that measures distance only. If, during a stipulated round, a player uses a distance-measuring device that is designed to gauge or measure other conditions that might affect his play (e.g. gradient, windspeed, etc) the player is in breach of Rule 14-3.

Accidental Movement of a Ball on a Putting Green

Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1 are modified as follows:

When a player’s ball lies on the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved by the player, his partner, his opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment.

The moved ball or ball-marker must be replaced as provided in Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1.

This Local Rule applies only when the player’s ball or ball-marker lies on the putting green and any movement is accidental.

Note: If it is determined that a player’s ball on the putting green was moved as a result of wind, water or some other natural cause such as the effects of gravity, the ball must be played as it lies from its new location. A ball-marker moved in such circumstances is replaced.”

Integral Parts of the Course

The raised ground around the base of the trees on to the left-hand side of the seventh fairway, all stone walls including the one surrounding the tree in the middle of the ninth fairway and the overgrown path on either side of the twelfth fairway are integral parts of the course. If a player wishes to take relief they may deem their ball to be unplayable under penalty of one stroke. [Rule 28]

The path on either side of the twelfth fairway is an integral part of the course. All other paths are obstructions.

Out of Bounds [Rule 27]

Beyond any fence or line of white stakes defining the boundary of the course

8th Hole           Over the hedge between the 8th and 13th fairways

10th Hole         On or over the burnt line on the left hand side of the fairway

13th hole          Over the hedge between the 8th and 13th fairways

14th Hole         On or over the burnt line on both sides of the fairway

15th Hole         On or over the burnt line on the left side of the fairway

18th Hole         Raised area as marked on the left hand side of the fairway

18th Hole         On or over the road behind the 18th fairway and hole

A ball that crosses a public road defined as out of bounds and comes to rest beyond that road is out of bounds, even though it may lie on another part of the course.

Power Lines

If a ball strikes over header power lines within the boundary of the course, the stroke is cancelled and the player must play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot which the original ball was played in accordance with Rule 20-5.

Etiquette / Rules of Golf

Time of Starting [Rule 6-3a]

The player must start at the time established by the committee.

Penalty for breach of Rule 6-3a:
If the player arrives at their starting point, ready to play, within five minutes after their starting time, the penalty for failure to start on time is loss of the first hole in match play or two strokes at the first hole in stroke play. Otherwise, the penalty for breach of this Rule is disqualification.

Stableford – The committee will deduct two points from the total points scored for the round.

Undue Delay; Slow Play [Rule 6-7]

The player must play without undue delay and in accordance with any pace of play guidelines that the committee may establish. Between completion of a hole and playing from the next teeing ground, the player must not unduly delay play.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 6-7:
Match Play – Loss of Hole; Stroke Play – Two Strokes.

Stableford – The committee will deduct two points from the total points scored for the round.

Subsequent offence – Disqualification.

Etiquette: players should play at a good pace.  It is a group’s responsibility to keep up with the group in front. If it loses a clear hole and it is delaying the group behind, it should invite the group behind to play through, irrespective of the number of players in that group. Where a group has not lost a clear hole, but it is apparent that the group behind can play faster, it should invite the faster group to play through.

“Ready golf” is a commonly used term which indicates that players should play when they are ready to do so, rather than adhering strictly to the “farthest from the hole plays first” stipulation in the Rules of Golf.

“Ready golf” is not appropriate in match play due to the strategy involved between opponents and the need to have a set method for determining which player plays first. However, in stroke play formats it is only the act of agreeing to play out of turn to give one of the players an advantage that is prohibited. On this basis, it is permissible for administrators to encourage “ready golf” in stroke play, and there is strong evidence to suggest that playing “ready golf” does improve the pace of play. For example, in a survey of Australian golf clubs conducted by Golf Australia, 94% of clubs that had promoted “ready golf” to their members enjoyed some degree of success in improving pace of play, with 25% stating that they had achieved ‘satisfying success’.

When “ready golf” is being encouraged, players have to act sensibly to ensure that playing out of turn does not endanger other players.

“Ready golf” should not be confused with being ready to play, which is covered in the Player Behaviour section of this Manual.

The term “ready golf” has been adopted by many as a catch-all phrase for a number of actions that separately and collectively can improve pace of play. There is no official definition of the term, but examples of “ready golf” in action are:

  • Hitting a shot when safe to do so if a player farther away faces a challenging shot and is taking time to assess their options
  • Shorter hitters playing first from the tee or fairway if longer hitters have to wait
  • Hitting a tee shot if the person with the honour is delayed in being ready to play
  • Hitting a shot before helping someone to look for a lost ball
  • Putting out even if it means standing close to someone else’s line
  • Hitting a shot if a person who has just played from a greenside bunker is still farthest from the hole but is delayed due to raking the bunker
  • When a player’s ball has gone over the back of a green, any player closer to the hole but chipping from the front of the green should play while the other player is having to walk to their ball and assess their shot
  • Marking scores upon immediate arrival at the next tee, except that the first player to tee off marks their card immediately after teeing off