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The Course
The Course

Course Maintenance During Round

While it is preferable to have all maintenance on the course completed before the first group reaches each hole to make sure that all players play the course in the same condition, this is sometimes not possible. Where course maintenance, such as cutting of putting greens, fairways or rough, or the raking of bunkers, takes place during a round, the results of the competition stand as played. While the Committee should attempt to mark all areas that warrant being marked as ground under repair before the competition begins, there will be times when areas are not noticed until play has begun. There will also be times when weather, vehicles, players or spectators may cause additional damage to the course. In these cases, the Committee may decide to mark the areas as ground under repair. The decision to mark an area should be made regardless of whether a player has already played from that area.

Setting Hole Locations and Teeing Areas

In a stroke-play competition, all players should play the course with the tee-markers and holes positioned in the same places. The Committee should avoid moving any tee-markers or holes after groups have played a hole, but there may be situations where this cannot be avoided or where they are moved by someone else in error. Teeing Area Becomes Unusable After Start of Round If a teeing area becomes covered in temporary water or for some other reason is not usable after the round has started, the Committee may suspend play or relocate the teeing area if this can be done without giving any player a significant advantage or disadvantage. Tee-Markers or Hole Moved If tee-markers or the hole are moved by a member of the course staff, or if tee-markers are moved by a player or anyone else, the Committee should determine if any players have been significantly advantaged or disadvantaged. If so, the round should generally be declared null and void. If the course has not been altered significantly and no player has been given a significant advantage or disadvantage, the Committee may choose to let the round stand. Moving the Position of the Hole Due to Severity of Position In stroke play, if it becomes apparent during a round that a hole is positioned such that the ball will not stop near the hole due to the severity of the slope, which has resulted in several players taking an excessive number of putts, the Committee has several options available. The Committee should consider all factors, including how severe the position is, how many players have completed play of the hole and where the hole is in the round, and take the course of action that it considers to be the fairest to all the players. For example:
  • Have play continue with the hole position unchanged on the basis that the conditions are the same for all players in the competition.
  • Keep the hole in the same position but take some action to improve the situation such as watering the putting green between groups.
  • Declare the round null and void and have all players start the round again with the hole repositioned.
  • Suspend play, reposition the hole and have the players who played the hole return at the conclusion of their rounds to replay the hole. The score for the hole for these players is the score achieved after the hole is repositioned.
  • Have all players disregard their score for the hole in question and play an additional hole (whether on the competition course or elsewhere) for their score for the hole.
The last two options should be taken only in extreme circumstances because they alter the round for some or all players. In match play, the Committee may move the hole between matches. Relocating Hole After Ball Already Positioned Nearby on Putting Green If a ball is on the putting green when the hole has been damaged, the Committee should attempt to repair the hole so that it conforms with the definition of ”hole”. If this is not possible the players may complete the hole with the hole in its damaged state. It is not desirable to relocate the hole before all players in the group have completed play of the hole. However, the Committee may relocate the hole in a nearby similar position if doing so is necessary to ensure the proper playing of the game. If this is done before the players in the group have completed the hole, the Committee should require any player whose ball is on the putting green to reposition his or her ball to a position that is comparable to that which the previous stroke had originally given the player. For a ball that lies off the putting green, the Committee should require that ball to be played as it lies.
Section 1The Role of the Committee
The Rules of Golf define the Committee as the person or group in charge of a competition or the course. The Committee is essential to the proper playing of the game. Committees have the responsibility of running the course on a day-to-day basis or for a specific competition and they should always act in ways that support the Rules of Golf. This part of the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf provides guidance to Committees in fulfilling this role. While many of the duties of a Committee are specific to running organized competitions, an important part of the Committee's duties relates to its responsibility for the course during general or every day play.
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