Local Rules

Local Rules –  Updated for 2023 and will come into affect from Saturday 1st April.

Course Boundaries and Out of Bounds (Rule 18.2 applies)


  • Internal Out of Bounds between 8th and 13th was removed in 2020
  • Out of Bounds on the right-hand side of the 14th general area has been removed
  • Raised area on the left-hand side of the general area of the 18th general area – changed status.

Model Local Rule A-1

  • In or over any hedge or fence defining the boundary of the course.

Model Local Rule A-2

  • The course-side edge of any wall defines the boundary of the course.
  • The course-side edge of the driveway when playing the 18th hole defines the boundary of the course.

Model Local Rule A-4 [New definition in place from Sunday 5th of May 2024]

  • During the play of the 14th hole, the left-hand side of the hole as defined by the White Stakes is out of bounds.
  • During the play of the 15th hole, the left-hand side of the holes as defined by the White Stakes is out of bounds.
  • These stakes are boundary objects during the play of both holes, and there is no free relief.
  • For all other holes, they are immovable obstructions.

Model Local Rule A-5

  • A ball coming to rest on or beyond the Horseshoe Road that splits the course is out of bounds, even if it comes to rest on another part of the course that is in bounds for other holes.

Model Local Rule A-6

  • The out of bounds on the left-hand side of the General Area on the 14th and 15th Holes is defined by the burnt line.  The white states are placed for visibility only and are immovable obstructions.

Penalty Areas

Members are reminded that the definition of a penalty area is:

Any body of water on the course (whether or not marked by the Committee), including a sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open watercourse (even if not containing water).

In addition to these areas players are advised:

Model Local Rule B-1

When playing the 9th hole the overgrown area on the left-hand side of the General Area between the 150-yard and 100-yard markers is a red penalty area. The margin of the penalty area is defined by the line where bare ground meets the edge of the grass.

When playing the 10th hole the red penalty at the green extends and coincides with the boundary edge.

When playing the 18th hole the raised area on the left-hand side of the general area is a red penalty area. [see notes below]

Model Local Rule B-2.1

If a player’s ball is in a penalty area, including when it is known or virtually certain to be in a penalty area even though not found, the player may take relief using one of the options under Rule 17.1d, each of one penalty stroke.

Or if the ball last crossed the edge of a red penalty area that coincides with the boundary of the course, as an extra relief option for one penalty stroke the player may drop the original ball or another ball on the opposite side of the penalty area.

Model Local Rule B.3 Provisional Ball for Ball in a Penalty Area

If a player does not know whether his or her ball is in the penalty area at the 10th green, the player may play a provisional ball under Rule 18.3, which is modified in this way:

In playing the provisional ball, the player may use the stroke-and-distance relief option (see Rule 17.1d(1), the back-on-the-line relief option (see Rule 17.1d(2)) or, if it is a red penalty area, the lateral relief option (see Rule 17.1d(3)). If a dropping zone (see Model Local Rule E-1) is available for this penalty area, the player may also use that relief option.

Once the player has played a provisional ball under this Rule, he or she may not use any further options under Rule 17.1 in relation to the original ball.

In deciding when that provisional ball becomes the player’s ball in play or if it must or may be abandoned, Rule 18.3c(2) and 18.3c(3) apply except that:

When Original Ball Is Found in Penalty Area Within Three-Minute Search Time. The player may choose either to:

Continue to play the original ball as it lies in the penalty area, in which case the provisional ball must not be played. All strokes with that provisional ball before it was abandoned (including strokes made and any penalty strokes solely from playing that ball) do not count, or

Continue to play the provisional ball in which case the original ball must not be played.

When Original Ball Is Not Found Within Three-Minute Search Time or Is Known or Virtually Certain to Be in Penalty Area. The provisional ball becomes the player’s ball in play.

Putting Greens

Model Local Rule D-5 Status of Practice Putting Green

The practice green located to the left-hand side of the penalty area on the 18th hole is not a wrong green and free relief is not required to be taken under Rule 13.1f, but it is ground under repair and a player may take free relief under Rule 16.1b.

Special Relief Procedures

Model Local Rule E-10 Protection of Young Trees

Young trees staked, boxed or less that one club length in height are no play zones:

If a player’s ball lies anywhere on the course other than in a penalty area and it lies on or touches such a tree or such a tree interferes with the player’s stance or area of intended swing, the player must take relief under Rule 16.1f.

If the ball lies in a penalty area, and interference to the player’s stance or area of intended swing exists from such a tree, the player must take relief either with penalty under Rule 17.1e or with free relief under Rule 17.1e(2).

Penalty for playing ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty under Rule 14.7a

Model Local Rule E-11 Ball Deflected by Power Line

If it is known or virtually certain that a player’s ball hit a power line within the boundary of the course, the stroke does not count.  The player must play a ball without penalty from where the previous stroke was made [see Rule 14.6 for what to do]

Penalty for playing ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty under Rule 14.7a

Abnormal Course Conditions and Integral Objects

Change: the status of the path when playing the 12th hole on either side of the general area. It has been reinstated as an immovable obstruction.


Under the Rules of Golf all artificially surfaced paths on the course are treated as immovable obstructions from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1.

Model Local Rule F-1 Abnormal Course Conditions

Areas in bunkers where sand has been removed by the movement of water resulting in deep furrows through the sand are ground under repair.

All flower beds are no play zones that are to be treated as an Abnormal Course Condition. Free relief must be taken from interference by the no play zone under Rule 16.1f

Integral Objects

  • The stone with the direction sign for the 4th tee at the back left of the fifth green.
  • The raised ground around the base of the trees on to the left-hand side of the seventh general area. [or the left-hand side of the fifth general area]
  • The stone wall surrounding the tree in the middle of the ninth general area

If a player wishes to take relief, they may deem their ball to be unplayable under penalty of one stroke. [Rule 19]

Restrictions on Use of Specific Equipment

Model Local Rule G-6 Prohibiting Use of Motorised Transportation [Buggies]

During a round a player must not ride on any form of transportation during a club competition except as authorised or later approved by the Match & Handicap committee.

Penalty for Breach of Local Rule: The player gets the General Penalty for each hole during which there is a breach of the local rule. If the breach occurs between the play of two holes, it applies to the next hole.

Pace of Play Policies

Model Local Rule K-1 Maximum Time for All or Part of Round If a group finishes the round more than the starting interval behind the group in front and 4 hours 10 minutes from the time of starting, all players in the group are subject to a penalty of one stroke.

Model Local Rule B-1 [Additional Notes]

When playing the 18th hole the raised area on the left-hand side of the general area is a red penalty area.

Until the area has been clearly marked, the edges of the penalty will be defined as where the ground starts to rise to the mound. All other ground is part of the general area.

In the same area the wooden grass box is an immovable obstruction and although the grass is not piled for remove the Handicap Committee have declared it as Ground Under Repair.

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

Score Cards

From 1st April 2022 all Covid provisions will no longer apply, which means the Rules of Golf 3.3b will apply.

Electronic Score Cards
Although members can continue to use the HowDidiDo app to return competition scores we will not accept them if a physical score card is not returned.

For General Play rounds members can use the HowDidiDo and Golf Ireland app but a physical score card must be returned as well.

Physical Score Cards
The player’s score is kept on his or her scorecard by the marker.

Marker’s Responsibility:
After each hole during the round, the marker should confirm with the player the number of strokes on that hole (including strokes made and penalty strokes) and enter that gross score on the scorecard. When the round has ended the marker must sign the hole scores on the scorecard.

Player’s Responsibility:
During the round, the player should keep track of his or her scores for each hole. When the round has ended, the player should

  • Carefully check the hole scores entered by the marker and raise any issues with the Committee.
  • Must make sure that the marker signs the scorecard,
  • Must not change a hole score entered by the marker except with the marker’s agreement or the Committee’s approval, and
  • Must sign the scorecard and promptly return it to the Committee, after which the player must not change the scorecard.
  • If the player breaches any of these requirements in Rule 3.3b, the player is disqualified.

General Play Rounds / Cards for Handicap

CONGU Guidance states:

In GB&I each National Union determines that it is a requirement that all rounds for handicapping purposes, including those for Initial Handicap Award, must be pre-registered either through the computer software or manually. Entering a competition or being named in a draw or a booking system is not in itself pre-registration. Registration must be confirmed on the day itself in the manner prescribed by the club/Committee.