The R&A - Working for Golf
Defining When and Where Players May Practise
Committee Procedures
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Section 8H
Section 8J
8I
Defining When and Where Players May Practise
I-1
Practising Before Rounds

Purpose. Rule 5.2 covers practising on the course before or between rounds during a competition:

  • Match Play (Rule 5.2a). Players in a match may practise on the course before or between rounds, as they usually will have an equal chance to do so because they play at the same time.
  • Stroke Play (Rule 5.2b). Players must not practise on the course before a round on the day of a competition, as they may not have an equal chance to do so because they usually play in different groups at different times. But they are allowed to practise on a day of the competition after their competition play for the day is complete.

There are many different considerations about whether to allow practice on the course, such as fairness to the players, possible interference with set-up of the course and maintenance activities, the amount of time before or between rounds, or when players are encouraged to play on the course outside the competition.

For these or other reasons, a Committee can choose to adopt a Local Rule that modifies these default provisions by either allowing or prohibiting such practice entirely or by limiting when, where or how such practice may take place.

Model Local Rule I-1.1

"Rule 5.2a is modified in this way:

A player must not practise on the competition course before or between rounds.

[Or, if players are allowed to practise in limited ways: Describe those limits and when, where and how a player may practise on the course.]

Penalty for Breach of this Local Rule:

Penalty for first breach: General Penalty (applied to the player's first hole).

Penalty for second breach: Disqualification."

Model Local Rule I-1.2

"Rule 5.2b is modified in this way:

A player may practise on the competition course before or between rounds.

[Or, if players are allowed to practise in limited ways: Describe those limits and when, where and how a player may practise on the course.]

[Or, if players are prohibited from practising on the course both before and between rounds: "A player must not practise on the competition course before or between rounds."]

I-2
Prohibiting Practising on or Near Previous Putting Green

Purpose. Rule 5.5b allows a player, between the play of two holes, to practise putting or chipping on or near the putting green of the hole just completed. But if this may affect pace of play or for other reasons, the Committee can choose to prohibit such practice.

Model Local Rule I-2

Rule 5.5b is modified in this way:

Between the play of two holes, a player must not:

  • Make any practice stroke on or near the putting green of the hole just completed, or
  • Test the surface of that putting green by rubbing the putting green or rolling a ball.

Penalty for Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty.

Course

The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee:

  • All areas inside the boundary edge are in bounds and part of the course.
  • All areas outside the boundary edge are out of bounds and not part of the course.
  • The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground.

The course is made up of the five defined areas of the course.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Course

The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee:

  • All areas inside the boundary edge are in bounds and part of the course.
  • All areas outside the boundary edge are out of bounds and not part of the course.
  • The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground.

The course is made up of the five defined areas of the course.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

Course

The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee:

  • All areas inside the boundary edge are in bounds and part of the course.
  • All areas outside the boundary edge are out of bounds and not part of the course.
  • The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground.

The course is made up of the five defined areas of the course.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Course

The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee:

  • All areas inside the boundary edge are in bounds and part of the course.
  • All areas outside the boundary edge are out of bounds and not part of the course.
  • The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground.

The course is made up of the five defined areas of the course.

Course

The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee:

  • All areas inside the boundary edge are in bounds and part of the course.
  • All areas outside the boundary edge are out of bounds and not part of the course.
  • The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground.

The course is made up of the five defined areas of the course.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Course

The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee:

  • All areas inside the boundary edge are in bounds and part of the course.
  • All areas outside the boundary edge are out of bounds and not part of the course.
  • The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground.

The course is made up of the five defined areas of the course.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Stroke

The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.

But a stroke has not been made if the player:

  • Decides during the downswing not to strike the ball and avoids doing so by deliberately stopping the clubhead before it reaches the ball or, if unable to stop, by deliberately missing the ball.
  • Accidentally strikes the ball when making a practice swing or while preparing to make a stroke.

When the Rules refer to "playing a ball," it means the same as making a stroke.

The player's score for a hole or a round is described as a number of "strokes" or "strokes taken," which means both all strokes made and any penalty strokes (see Rule 3.1c).

 

Interpretation Stroke/1 - Determining If a Stroke Was Made

If a player starts the downswing with a club intending to strike the ball, his or her action counts as a stroke when:

  • The clubhead is deflected or stopped by an outside influence (such as the branch of a tree) whether or not the ball is struck.
  • The clubhead separates from the shaft during the downswing and the player continues the downswing with the shaft alone, whether or not the ball is struck with the shaft.
  • The clubhead separates from the shaft during the downswing and the player continues the downswing with the shaft alone, with the clubhead falling and striking the ball.

The player's action does not count as a stroke in each of following situations:

  • During the downswing, a player's clubhead separates from the shaft. The player stops the downswing short of the ball, but the clubhead falls and strikes and moves the ball.
  • During the backswing, a player's clubhead separates from the shaft. The player completes the downswing with the shaft but does not strike the ball.
  • A ball is lodged in a tree branch beyond the reach of a club. If the player moves the ball by striking a lower part of the branch instead of the ball, Rule 9.4 (Ball Lifted or Moved by Player) applies.
Putting Green

The area on the hole the player is playing that:

  • Is specially prepared for putting, or
  • The Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

The putting green for a hole contains the hole into which the player tries to play a ball. The putting green is one of the five defined areas of the course. The putting greens for all other holes (which the player is not playing at the time) are wrong greens and part of the general area.

The edge of a putting green is defined by where it can be seen that the specially prepared area starts (such as where the grass has been distinctly cut to show the edge), unless the Committee defines the edge in a different way (such as by using a line or dots).

If a double green is used for two different holes:

  • The entire prepared area containing both holes is treated as the putting green when playing each hole.

But the Committee may define an edge that divides the double green into two different putting greens, so that when a player is playing one of the holes, the part of the double green for the other hole is a wrong green.

Putting Green

The area on the hole the player is playing that:

  • Is specially prepared for putting, or
  • The Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

The putting green for a hole contains the hole into which the player tries to play a ball. The putting green is one of the five defined areas of the course. The putting greens for all other holes (which the player is not playing at the time) are wrong greens and part of the general area.

The edge of a putting green is defined by where it can be seen that the specially prepared area starts (such as where the grass has been distinctly cut to show the edge), unless the Committee defines the edge in a different way (such as by using a line or dots).

If a double green is used for two different holes:

  • The entire prepared area containing both holes is treated as the putting green when playing each hole.

But the Committee may define an edge that divides the double green into two different putting greens, so that when a player is playing one of the holes, the part of the double green for the other hole is a wrong green.

Putting Green

The area on the hole the player is playing that:

  • Is specially prepared for putting, or
  • The Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

The putting green for a hole contains the hole into which the player tries to play a ball. The putting green is one of the five defined areas of the course. The putting greens for all other holes (which the player is not playing at the time) are wrong greens and part of the general area.

The edge of a putting green is defined by where it can be seen that the specially prepared area starts (such as where the grass has been distinctly cut to show the edge), unless the Committee defines the edge in a different way (such as by using a line or dots).

If a double green is used for two different holes:

  • The entire prepared area containing both holes is treated as the putting green when playing each hole.

But the Committee may define an edge that divides the double green into two different putting greens, so that when a player is playing one of the holes, the part of the double green for the other hole is a wrong green.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.