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Model Local Rules

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Model Local Rules
8
Model Local Rules
A Local Rule is a modification of a Rule or an additional Rule that the Committee adopts for general play or a particular competition. The Committee is responsible for deciding whether to adopt any Local Rules and for making sure they are consistent with the guidelines provided in Section 8(1).  Local Rules that are inconsistent with these guidelines are not authorized, and a round played with such a Local Rule in place is not considered to have been played by the Rules of Golf. If a Committee adopts a Local Rule that is inconsistent with the stated purpose of the Model Local Rules, the handicapping authority should be consulted as to whether players may submit acceptable scores from that round for handicap purposes. (1) Guidelines for Establishing Local Rules Before establishing a Local Rule, the Committee should consider the following guidelines: a. Local Rules have the same status as a Rule of Golf for that competition or course. b. While a Committee has significant authority under the Rules of Golf to adopt Local Rules to fit the particular needs of a course or competition, Committees should only use Local Rules to deal with the types of situations covered by the purpose statements in Section 8. c. A Model Local Rule can either be adopted in its entirety or can serve as an example of how to write a particular type of Local Rule. But if a Committee changes the wording of a Model Local Rule to fit the particular needs of the course or competition, it needs to ensure that the changes are consistent with the stated purpose. Examples of changes to Model Local Rules that would fit with this requirement include: d. Unless otherwise stated, the penalty for a breach of a Local Rule should be the general penalty. e. A Committee must not use a Local Rule to waive or modify a Rule of Golf simply because it might prefer a Rule to be different. Examples of Local Rules that are not authorized include:
    • Allowing the use of non-conforming clubs.
    • Extending the search time from three minutes to five minutes.
    • Allowing a player to have more than one caddie.
f. Rule 1.3c(3) states that the Committee does not have the authority to apply penalties in a different way than stated in the Rules of Golf. Therefore a Committee must not use a Local Rule to waive, modify or apply a penalty. Examples of Local Rules that would not be authorized include:
    • Waiving the penalty for playing from the wrong teeing area if the player corrects the error within one minute of making the stroke.
    • Reducing the penalty for making a stroke with a non-conforming club from disqualification to the general penalty.
    • Applying a penalty of one stroke for a player failing to notify another player that they are going to lift a ball to identify it.
g. Where a Local Rule is based on the Model Local Rules, the Committee may seek assistance in interpreting the Local Rule from The R&A. But where the Committee has written its own Local Rule, it is matter for the Committee to interpret that Local Rule. h. If a Local Rule is introduced because of a temporary situation, it should be removed as soon as the situation no longer requires the use of the Local Rule. i. The Model Local Rules in Section 8 cover the situations and issues that arise often enough to justify having a model form. Occasionally, a Local Rule may be warranted where no model language has been provided. Where this is the case, the Committee should write the Local Rule in clear and simple terms. But most importantly, the Local Rule should be aligned with the purpose statements in the Rules of Golf and Model Local Rules. For example, allowing free relief from divot holes in the fairway is not aligned with the central principle of playing the course as you find it and the ball as it lies, as established in the Purpose of Rule 1. If the Committee believes that a Local Rule not covered by these guidelines may be needed because of local abnormal conditions that interfere with fair play, it should consult with The R&A . (2) Communication of Local Rules The Committee should ensure that any Local Rules are made available to the players whether on the scorecard, through a Notice to Players or by digital methods of communication. Where a shorthand version of the full text of the Model Local Rule is provided, for example on the back of the scorecard, the Committee should ensure that the full text is available, for example on a noticeboard or on a website.
A

Course Boundaries and Out of Bounds

A-1
Common Ways of Defining Boundaries and Boundary Edges
Purpose. There are many ways in which a Committee may define the boundaries of the course and it is not appropriate or possible to provide a complete list of Local Rules that can be used for this purpose. The key is to be clear and specific when defining boundaries in the Local Rules. The most common method of defining boundaries is by using stakes, painted lines and existing fences. It is not necessary to describe every boundary in the Local Rules, but it is helpful to describe the methods used to define the boundaries. It is recommended that specific details are provided where the boundary might not be visually obvious and where the method used to define the boundary is less common. Some examples of how these may be described are provided below:
  • “Out of bounds is defined by [insert methods of defining out of bounds, for example, white stakes, lines and fences].”
  • “The boundary to the left of [specify hole number] is defined by the course-side edge of the white paint [lines | dots] [specify location, such as the pavement].”
  • “The maintenance area between [specify hole numbers] is out of bounds as defined by the fence surrounding the area.”
See Sections 2A and 5B(1) for more information on defining out of bounds.
A-2
Clarifying Boundary When Using Wall, Road or Other Objects
Purpose. The definition of "out of bounds" clarifies that when a boundary is defined by a wall, road or other objects, the Committee should define the boundary edge. Depending on the nature or condition of a wall, there may be good reasons for defining the boundary as being beyond the wall or, alternatively, using the course-side edge of the wall as the boundary.  Model Local Rule A-2.1 “The course-side edge of [identify object, for example, any wall or any road] defines the boundary of the course."  Model Local Rule A-2.2 "A ball is out of bounds when it is beyond [identify object, for example, any wall or any road] defining the boundary of the course." Model Local Rule A-2.3 “The boundary on [specify hole number] is defined by [insert description of object or feature].”
A-3
Boundary Fence to be Treated in a Different Way
Purpose. When defined by a fence, the boundary edge is defined by the line between the course-side points of the fence posts at ground level (excluding angled supports), and those fence posts are out of bounds. But the Committee may choose to treat a boundary fence in a different way due to the nature of the fence, or vegetation surrounding the fence. The Committee cannot change how the boundary is defined in relation to a line or stake. Model Local Rule A-3 “A ball is out of bounds when it is beyond the fence [specify hole number] at ground level (excluding angled supports).”Purpose. When defined by a fence, the boundary edge is defined by the line between the course-side points of the fence posts at ground level (excluding angled supports), and those fence posts are out of bounds. But the Committee may choose to treat a boundary fence in a different way due to the nature of the fence, or vegetation surrounding the fence. The Committee cannot change how the boundary is defined in relation to a line or stake. Model Local Rule A-3 “A ball is out of bounds when it is beyond the fence [specify hole number] at ground level (excluding angled supports).”
A-4
Internal Out of Bounds
Purpose. For course design or safety reasons, a Committee can choose to specify that a particular part of the course is out of bounds during the play of a particular hole.  This is done to stop players who are playing that hole from playing to and from another part of the course. For example, on a dog-leg hole, an internal out of bounds may be used to prevent a player from cutting the dog-leg by playing a ball to the fairway of another hole. But a Local Rule stating that a ball is out of bounds if it crosses a boundary, even if it re-crosses the boundary and comes to rest on the same part of the course, is not authorized because a ball is only out of bounds when it comes to rest out of bounds. Model Local Rule A-4 "During play of [specify hole number], the [specify location or side] of the hole, defined by [insert description of method of defining out of bounds, for example, white stakes], is out of bounds. These [insert objects used to define out of bounds, for example, stakes] are boundary objects during the play of [specify hole number]. For all other holes, they are [immovable|movable] obstructions."
A-5
Out of Bounds When Public Road Runs Through Course
Purpose. When a public road runs through a course, it is usually defined as out of bounds. This can make it possible for a ball played from one side of the road to come to rest in bounds on the other side of the road, even though that ball would be out of bounds if it came to rest on the road itself. If the Committee believes that it is unfair or dangerous to treat those situations differently, it may adopt a Local Rule stating that a ball played from one side of the road that comes to rest on the other side of that road is out of bounds. If a road crosses a particular hole where the players have to play from one side to the other in the normal course of play, the Committee should specify that this Local Rule does not apply to that road in the play of that hole. Model Local Rule A-5 "A ball coming to rest on or beyond the road [identify the road or the holes where it comes into play] is out of bounds, even if it comes to rest on another part of the course that is in bounds for other holes."
A-6
Stakes Showing Out of Bounds
Purpose. When out of bounds is defined by a line on the ground, a trench or in another way that might not be visible from a distance, the Committee may place stakes along the boundary to allow players to see where the boundary edge is from a distance. Boundary objects may not be moved and free relief is generally not given, but the Committee may provide for relief from these stakes through the following Model Local Rule, which should also clarify the status of these stakes. It is recommended that such stakes be marked differently than other boundary stakes on the course, for example, white stakes with black tops may be used for this purpose. Model Local Rule A-6 "Where a boundary is defined by [identify boundary, for example, a white line painted on the ground], white stakes with black tops have been placed for visibility. These stakes are [immovable | movable] obstructions."
B

Penalty Areas

B-1
Defining Penalty Areas
Purpose. There are many ways in which a Committee can define penalty areas on the course and so it is not appropriate or possible to provide a complete list of Local Rules that can be used for this purpose. The key is to be clear and specific when defining penalty areas in the Local Rules. While it is a good practice to mark the edges of penalty areas using stakes and lines, there are times when the edge of the penalty area can be defined by a physical feature and by using language on the scorecard or Local Rules sheet. This should only be done when there will be no confusion about where the edge of the penalty area begins. Some examples of how these may be described are provided below:
  • “The red penalty area on [specify hole number] extends to and coincides with the boundary edge.”
  • “The red penalty area on [specify hole number] defined on only one side extends to infinity.”
  • “All desert areas are red penalty areas and the edge of the penalty area is where the grass and desert meet.”
  • “All areas of lava are red penalty areas.”
  • “Where an artificial wall surrounds the edge of a lake or other body of water, the penalty area is defined by the outside edge of the wall.”
When a penalty area is potentially in play for more than one hole, the Committee may choose to define it as a yellow penalty area during play of one hole to maintain the challenge of that hole. But, a Local Rule may be introduced to define the penalty area as red for the play of all other holes, where lateral relief is appropriate.
  • “When playing the [specify hole number] the yellow penalty area on [specify other hole number] is to be played as a red penalty area.”
  • “The yellow penalty area on [specify hole number] is to be played as a red penalty area when playing all other holes.”
See Sections 2C and 5B(2) for more information on defining penalty areas.
B-2
Relief on Opposite Side of Red Penalty Area
Purpose. Rule 17.1 gives a player the option to take lateral relief or back-on-the-line relief based on where their ball last crossed the edge of a red penalty area. But in some cases (for example, due to the location of the red penalty area right next to a course boundary), those options may leave the player with no reasonable option other than to take stroke-and-distance relief. A Committee can introduce a Local Rule to allow lateral relief on the opposite side of the red penalty area as an extra relief option under Rule 17.1d. When considering a Local Rule to allow additional relief:
  • The Committee should consider introducing the Local Rule in situations when a player could be seriously disadvantaged if it was not introduced. Two such examples are:
    • Where a boundary coincides with the edge of a penalty area down the side of a hole such that if a ball last crossed into the penalty area on the boundary side, the player would be likely to have no realistic relief option other than to play again under stroke and distance.
    • Where the layout of the penalty area is such that there could be doubt as to where the ball last crossed into the penalty area and the decision on which side of the penalty area the ball last crossed has a considerable impact on where to take relief. This applies if a relatively narrow penalty area is bounded by bushes or thick rough on one side and fairway on the other.
  • It is recommended that the Committee specify the location of specific penalty area(s) that the Local Rule applies to, rather than applying it to all red penalty areas on the course. This Local Rule should not be used to allow a player to use this opposite side relief option to get across a red penalty area to a more favourable location than is available if only normal lateral relief under Rule 17.1d is used.
  • Where this option is available, it may also be desirable to mark the penalty area(s) in a special way such as putting a different coloured top on any stakes where the extra option is available, and this should be stated in the Local Rule.
  • Instead of using this Local Rule, the Committee may decide to put one or more dropping zones in place (see Model Local Rule E-1).
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 for one penalty stroke. Or, if the ball last crossed the edge of the red penalty area on [specify hole number and location], 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:
  • Reference Point: The estimated point on the opposite edge of the penalty area that is the same distance from the hole as the estimated point where the original ball last crossed the edge of the red penalty area. Such that a straight line between these two estimated points does not cross outside the penalty area.
  • Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: Two club-lengths, but with these limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area:
    • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
    • May be in any area of the course except the same penalty area, but
    • If more than one area of the course is located within two club-lengths of the reference point, the ball must come to rest in the relief area in the same area of the course that the ball first touches when dropped in the relief area.
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a." Model Local Rule B-2.2 Model Local Rule B-2.1 applies but with the following amendment to the second paragraph: “Or if the ball last crossed the edge of a red penalty area that coincides with a 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:”
B-3
Provisional Ball for Ball in a Penalty Area
Purpose. Under Rule 18.3, a player is not allowed to play a ball provisionally if it is known or virtually certain that their ball is in a penalty area. But in unusual cases, the size, shape or location of a penalty area may be such that:
  • The player cannot see whether the ball is in the penalty area,
  • It would unreasonably delay play if the player had to go forward to look for the ball before returning to play another ball either under penalty of stroke and distance or another option under Rule 17, and
  • If the original ball is not found, it would be known or virtually certain that the ball is in the penalty area.
For such situations, to save time a Committee may choose to modify Rule 18.3:
  • Rule 18.3a is modified to allow the player to play a ball provisionally under Rule 17.1d(1), Rule 17.1d(2) or, for a red penalty area, Rule 17.1d(3).
  • Rules 18.3b and 18.3c are modified to state when such a provisional ball must or may be played or abandoned, as stated in the Model Local Rule.
Model Local Rule B-3 "If a player does not know whether their ball is in the penalty area [identify location], 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 is available for this penalty area (see Model Local Rule E-1), the player may also use that relief option. Once the player has played a provisional ball under this Local Rule, they 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.
Penalty for Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty."
B-4
Defining Open Watercourse as Part of General Area
Purpose. If an open watercourse does not usually contain water (such as a drainage ditch or run-off area that is dry except during a rainy season), the Committee can define that area as part of the general area. The Committee can also choose to mark such an open watercourse as a penalty area during times of the year when it contains water, or leave it as part of the general area, in which case any water that collects would be treated as temporary water. However, areas that would normally contain water should be marked as penalty areas throughout the year. See Model Local Rule F-20 for when the open watercourse may be defined as an abnormal course condition Model Local Rule B-4.1 “The [describe specific watercourse and location, for example, ditch at the 6th hole] is to be treated as part of the general area and not as a penalty area.” Model Local Rule B-4.2 "All [describe specific types of watercourses, such as concrete drainage ditches] are to be treated as part of the general area and not as a penalty area."
B-5
Special Relief When Penalty Area Next to Bunker
Purpose. There may be particular holes where part of the edge of a red penalty area is so close to a bunker that a player taking lateral relief under Rule 17.1d(3) will need to drop a ball in the bunker. In such a case, a Committee can choose to create an extra relief option allowing the player, for one penalty stroke, to take relief in a dropping zone positioned in the general area. Model Local Rule B-5 "This Local Rule allows the use of a dropping zone as an extra relief option when:
  • A player’s ball is in the red penalty area [identify location], including when it is known or virtually certain to be in the penalty area even though not found, [and if applicable]
  • [describe where the ball must cross the edge of the penalty area, such as between two specially marked stakes].
In that case, the player has these relief options, each for one penalty stroke:
  • The player may take relief under one of the options in Rule 17.1d, or
  • As an extra option,  the player may drop the original ball or another ball in the nearest dropping zone to the point where the ball last crossed the edge of the red penalty area and that is not nearer the hole than that point. The dropping zone is a relief area under Rule 14.3.
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
C

Bunkers

C-1
Clarifying Edge of Bunker
Purpose. When it may be difficult to determine the edge of a bunker due to wear, or when bunkers blend into areas of sand that are in the general area or in a penalty area, the Committee may need to define the edge of the bunker. Some examples of how these may be described are provided below:
  • “The edge of the bunker [specify location and hole number, for example, the left of the 15th green] is defined by the outside edge of the [insert colour] stakes at ground level, and the stakes themselves are inside the bunker. The stakes are movable obstructions.”
  • “The edge of the bunker [specify location and hole number] is defined by the [identify colour] line painted in the sand.”
  • “The edge of the bunker to the right of [specify location and hole number] is defined by the groove that has been dug into the sand.”
  • “Any areas of sand that have been prepared (for example, raked) are considered to be a part of a bunker.”
See Sections 2D and 5B(3) for more information on bunkers.
C-2
Changing Status of Areas of Sand
Purpose. The definition of "bunker" specifies that a Committee may define a prepared area of sand as part of the general area or define a non-prepared area of sand as a bunker by Local Rule. Model Local Rule C-2.1 Defining a prepared area of sand as part of the general area: "The prepared area[s] of sand [detail holes or locations] are part of the general area and are not bunkers." Model Local Rule C-2.2 Defining a non-prepared area of sand as a bunker: "The non-prepared area[s] of sand [detail holes or locations] are bunkers and not part of the general area."
C-3
Clarifying Status of Material Similar to Sand when Material is not in a Bunker
Purpose. Bunkers on a course sometimes contain materials similar to sand, such as crushed shells or lava dust. Such materials are treated as sand when applying Rule 12. (See the definition of "bunker"). For consistency, the Committee can choose to treat such materials as sand everywhere else on the course as well. Model Local Rule C-3 "The [identify material such as crushed shell or lava dust] used to fill bunkers is treated as sand both when in a bunker and everywhere else on the course. This means that these materials are not loose impediments. A player must not improve the conditions affecting the stroke by removing these materials, except when they are on the putting green (see Rule 13.1c(1))."
C-4
Declaring Practice Bunkers to Be Part of General Area
Purpose. When bunkers within the boundaries of the course are used for practising, they do not lose their status as bunkers by default. However, the condition of practice bunkers may be very poor because players frequently do not rake them. If the Committee wishes to provide relief to players, the bunker may be defined or marked as ground under repair which means it becomes part of the general area, allowing players to take free relief outside the bunker. Model Local Rule C-4 "The practice bunker located [specify location] is ground under repair and is part of the general area. Free relief is available under Rule 16.1b."
D

Putting Greens

D-1
Clarifying Edge of Putting Green
Purpose. There may be times when it is difficult for a player to determine if their ball is on the putting green because there is not a discernible difference in the height of the grass on the putting green compared to that on the apron. In cases like this, the Committee may choose to define the edges of putting greens with a painted line or dots. Model Local Rule D-1 "The edges of putting greens are defined by [insert colour of lines] dots. The dots/line are [on][off] the putting green and free relief is not available from the dots/line."
D-2
Status of Putting Green When Temporary Putting Green Is Used
Purpose. There may be times when a putting green for a hole cannot be used for some reason, for example due to bad weather, or for reasons related to repair or maintenance. When this is the case, the Committee may wish to prepare a temporary putting green and put a Local Rule in place to define this as the putting green used for that hole. The putting green that has been replaced by a temporary putting green automatically becomes a wrong green because it is no longer the putting green for the hole the player is playing. Model Local Rule D-2 "Temporary putting greens are used as putting greens on holes [insert hole numbers] as defined by [insert description, for example, the areas of fairway surrounded by white lines]. Any putting green that has been replaced by a temporary putting green is a wrong green and free relief from interference must be taken under Rule 13.1f. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.
D-3
Prohibiting Relief from Wrong Green When Only Stance Interference Exists
Purpose. There may be situations where a Committee wishes to deny a player relief from a wrong green when the only interference is to the player's stance, for example:
  • There is thick rough close to some putting greens and the Committee considers that it would be unfair to require a player to take relief into such areas, or
  • One large green is used as the putting green for two separate holes, but the Committee decides to divide the green. It may also choose not to require a player whose ball is on the putting green for the hole being played to take relief when their stance is on the other putting green.
Model Local Rule D-3.1 "Rule 13.1f is modified in this way: Interference does not exist if a wrong green only interferes with the player's stance." Model Local Rule D-3.2 "Rule 13.1f is modified in this way: When a player's ball lies on the putting green of [specify hole number], interference does not exist for the player's stance on the putting green of [specify hole number] or the reverse.
D-4
Prohibiting Play from Fringe of Wrong Green
Purpose. If balls played on a particular hole often come to rest on the green of a nearby hole:
  • The nearest point of complete relief when taking relief from that wrong green under Rule 13.1f will usually be on the apron or fringe next to that green, and
  • That apron or fringe may become damaged as a result.
To prevent such damage, the Committee can choose to require players to take relief under Rule 13.1f by reference to a modified nearest point of complete relief that avoids interference with both the wrong green and the apron or fringe or by using a dropping zone (see Model Local Rule E-1). Model Local Rule D-4.1 "When playing [specify hole number], if the player must take relief under Rule 13.1f because their ball came to rest on the putting green of [specify hole number] or that putting green interferes with their stance or area of intended swing:
  • In finding the relief area to be used when taking this relief, the putting green of [specify hole number] is defined to include the area of fairway within [specify distance such as two club-lengths] from the edge of the putting green.
  • This means that the nearest point of complete relief must avoid interference from this area in addition to the putting green.
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a." Model Local Rule D-4.2 Wrong greens are treated as including [specify distance from edge of wrong green/area around wrong green]. When a player has interference from a wrong green under Rule 13.1f, including this expanded area, the player must take free relief. [Interference does not exist when the area only interferes with the player’s stance.] Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
D-5
Status of Practice Green or Temporary Putting Green
Purpose. Wrong greens include practice greens for putting or pitching by definition, but the Committee may choose to allow play from them by Local Rule (meaning that a player whose ball lies on such a green must play it from there). A temporary putting green for a hole is typically part of the general area when it is not in use, but the Committee may wish to clarify its status or declare it to be a wrong green. The Committee may also define a practice green or temporary green to be ground under repair which would allow a player to take free relief under Rule 16.1b. Model Local Rule D-5.1 "The practice green located [insert details of where the green is located] is not a wrong green and free relief is not required or allowed under Rule 13.1f."  Model Local Rule D-5.2 "The temporary green located [insert details of where the green is located] is a wrong green even when not in use and relief must be taken under Rule 13.1f." Model Local Rule D-5.3 "The practice green located [insert details of where the green is located] 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."
D-6
Dividing a Double Green into Two Separate Greens
Purpose. When a course has a green that serves as the putting green for two holes, the Committee may wish to divide the green into two separate greens through a Local Rule. This would require a player who is on the wrong portion of the green to take relief under Rule 13.1f. The method of defining the separation should be specified. This Local Rule may be modified such that interference does not exist when the wrong green only interferes with the player’s stance for cases where the player’s ball is on the correct portion of the green but their stance is on the other portion of the green. Model Local Rule D-6 "The green serving holes [specify hole numbers] is considered to be two separate greens divided by [specify method such as coloured stakes]. A player who has interference with the portion of the green for the hole not being played is on a wrong green and must take relief under Rule 13.1f. [Interference does not exist when the wrong green only interferes with the player’s stance.] Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
E

Special Relief Procedures

E-1
Dropping Zones
Purpose. A dropping zone is a special relief area that may be adopted by the Committee. When taking relief in a dropping zone, the player must drop a ball in and have it come to rest in the dropping zone. Dropping zones should be considered when there may be practical problems with players using the normal relief options under a Rule, such as: The following points apply when dropping a ball in a dropping zone:
  • The player does not have to stand in the dropping zone when dropping the ball.
  • When a player is using a dropping zone, the relief area is defined by that dropping zone and the ball must be dropped in and come to rest in the dropping zone (see Rule 14.3).
  • If the dropping zone is defined by a line on the ground, the line is inside the dropping zone.
The Committee may provide more than one dropping zone for certain situations, such as for a large penalty area. Where this is the case, the Committee should specify which dropping zone to use, such as the nearest dropping zone, or the nearest dropping zone not nearer the hole. See Section 2I for additional information regarding dropping zones.  Model Local Rules have been provided for two of the most common uses of dropping zones, however these may be adapted as appropriate for the other Rules mentioned above. Model Local Rule E-1.1 This Model Local Rule covers the example of a dropping zone used as an extra option for taking relief from a penalty area. "If a player’s ball is in the [identify colour if restricting use] penalty area [identify location], including when it is known or virtually certain to be in that penalty area even though not found, the player has these relief options, each forone penalty stroke:
  • The player may take relief under Rule 17.1, or
  • As an extra option, the player may drop the original ball or another ball in the dropping zone [describe how the dropping zone is defined and where located]. The dropping zone is a relief area under Rule 14.3
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a." Model Local Rule E-1.2 This Model Local Rule covers the example of a dropping zone used as an extra option for taking relief from an abnormal course condition such as a large area of ground under repair. "If a player's ball is in the ground under repair [identify location], including when it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found is in the ground under repair, the player has these relief options:
  • The player may take relief under Rule 16.1, or
  • As an extra option, the player may take free relief by dropping the original ball or another ball in the dropping zone [describe how the dropping zone is defined and where located]. The dropping zone is a relief area under Rule 14.3.
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a." Model Local Rule E-1.3 This Model Local Rule covers the example of a dropping zone used as the only relief option available (other than stroke and distance) for taking relief from a penalty area, but it may be adapted for any other Rule mentioned above. "If a player’s ball is in the [identify colour if restricting use] penalty area [identify location], including when it is known or virtually certai to be in that penalty area even though not found, the player has these relief options, each for one penalty stroke:
  • The player may take stroke-and-distance relief under Rule 17.1d(1), or
  • The player may drop the original ball or another ball in the dropping zone [describe how the dropping zone is defined and where located]. The dropping zone is a relief area under Rule 14.3.
The player must not take relief under Rules 17.1d(2) or 17.1d(3). Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
E-2
Cleaning Ball
Purpose. When ground conditions may cause mud to stick to the ball, the Committee can choose to allow the player to mark, lift, clean and replace the ball in the general area. Such relief should be limited to those portions of the course where needed. While the Local Rule for Preferred Lies (Model Local Rule E-3) is designed for use only in areas cut to fairway height or less in the general area, this Local Rule can be used throughout the general area or restricted to specific areas. The Committee could choose to use both Local Rules permitting preferred lies in the fairways and cleaning the ball elsewhere in the general area. It is not authorized to implement this Local Rule once play has begun for a stroke-play round. Doing so would allow players who had more holes to play the advantage of using it for a longer period of time. The Local Rule may be implemented once a match has begun between the play of two holes as opponents have an equal benefit. For guidance on when and how this Local Rule may be used in order for acceptable scores to be submitted for handicap purposes (for example, if it must be limited to fairway only), consult the rules or recommendations contained within the World Handicap System™ publications or other guidance as provided by the handicapping body in the local jurisdiction. Model Local Rule E-2 "When a player's ball lies in [identify area, such as the general area, at the 6th hole, in the general area cut to fairway height or less, etc.], the ball may be lifted, cleaned and replaced without penalty. The player must mark the spot of the ball before lifting it (see Rule 14.1) and the ball must be replaced on its original spot (see Rule 14.2). Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
E-3
Preferred Lies
Purpose. When temporary abnormal conditions might interfere with fair play, the affected parts of the course can be defined as ground under repair. But adverse conditions such as heavy snows, spring thaws, prolonged rains or extreme heat can sometimes damage the course or prevent use of heavy mowing equipment. When such conditions are widespread on the course, the Committee can choose to adopt a Local Rule for "preferred lies" to allow fair play or help protect some or all fairways. Such a Local Rule should be withdrawn as soon as conditions allow. The use of this Local Rule outside the fairway in the general area is not recommended as it may result in a player receiving free relief from areas where a ball might otherwise be unplayable (such as in areas of bushes or trees). When conditions such as wet ground throughout parts of the course may cause mud to stick to the ball, rather than using a Local Rule for “preferred lies”, the Committee may choose to allow the player to mark, lift, clean and replace the ball in the general area (see Model Local Rule E-2). It is not authorized to implement a Local Rule for preferred lies once play has begun for a stroke-play round. Doing so would allow players who have more holes to play the advantage of using it for a longer period of time. The Local Rule may be implemented once a match has begun between the play of two holes as opponents have an equal benefit. For guidance on when and how this Local Rule may be used in order for acceptable scores to be submitted for handicap purposes (including the size of the relief area and if it may only be used in the fairway), consult the rules or recommendations contained within the World Handicap System™ publications or other guidance as provided by the handicapping body in the local jurisdiction. Model Local Rule E-3 "When any part of a player's ball touches part of the general area cut to fairway height or less [or identify a specific area such as 'on the fairway of the 6th hole'], the player may take free relief once by placing the original ball or another ball in and playing it from this relief area:
  • Reference Point: Spot of the original ball.
  • Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: [Specify size of relief area, such as one club-length, one scorecard length or 6 inches] from the reference point, but with these limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area:
    • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
    • Must be in the general area.
In proceeding under this Local Rule, the player must choose a spot to place the ball and use the procedures for replacing a ball under Rules 14.2b(2) and 14.2e. But, for the purposes of applying Rule 14.2e, the player has only chosen the spot on which to place the ball once the ball has been set down, and the player has let the ball go with the intent for that ball to be in play. After a ball has been placed and is in play under this Local Rule, if the player then proceeds under another Rule that provides relief, this Local Rule may be used again. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
E-4
Relief from Aeration Holes
Purpose. Aeration holes do not fall within the meaning of holes made by the maintenance staff or “damage on the putting green” in Rule 13.1c. Therefore players are not allowed to repair them on the putting green or take free relief from them in the general area or on the putting green, but such holes can interfere with the proper playing of the game. If the Committee declares aeration holes to be ground under repair, a player may find it impractical or impossible to obtain complete relief. Therefore, when aeration holes may significantly interfere with the lie of the ball, the Committee can choose to give relief for a ball that lies in or touches an aeration hole. This Local Rule should be withdrawn when the aeration holes have healed enough to avoid significant interference. Model Local Rule E-4 "If a player's ball lies in or touches an aeration hole: (a) Ball in General Area. The player may take relief under Rule 16.1b. If the ball comes to rest in another aeration hole the player may take relief again under this Local Rule. (b) Ball on Putting Green. The player may take relief under Rule 16.1d. But interference does not exist if the aeration hole only interferes with the player's stance or area of intended swing or, on the putting green, on the player's line of play. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
E-5
Alternative to Stroke and Distance for Lost Ball or Ball Out of Bounds
Purpose. When a provisional ball has not been played, significant issues with pace of play can result from a player needing to take stroke-and-distance relief for a ball that is out of bounds or cannot be found. The purpose of this Local Rule is to allow a Committee to provide an extra relief option that allows a player to play on without returning to the location of the previous stroke. The Local Rule is appropriate for general play where golfers are playing casual rounds or playing their own competitions. The Local Rule is not appropriate for competitions limited to highly skilled players (that is, professional competitions and elite amateur competitions). For guidance on when and how this Local Rule may be used in order for acceptable scores to be submitted for handicap purposes, consult the rules or recommendations contained within the World Handicap System™ publications or the other guidance as provided by the handicapping body in the local jurisdiction. Where a Committee has introduced such a Local Rule for general play, and removes it for competitions, it should ensure that all players are aware of this before play begins. A Committee may introduce such a Local Rule for all play on the course or only for one or two specific holes where it may be especially useful (for example, where players are unable to see the landing area and therefore may not know whether or not to play a provisional ball). This option allows the player to drop in a large area between the point where the ball is estimated to have come to rest or gone out of bounds and the edge of the fairway of the hole being played that is not nearer the hole. The player gets two penalty strokes when using this relief option. This means that the relief is comparable to what could have been achieved if the player had taken stroke-and-distance relief. This Local Rule cannot be used for an unplayable ball, or for a ball that is known or virtually certain to be in a penalty area. If a provisional ball is played and neither the original ball nor the provisional ball are found, then the Local Rule may be applied for the provisional ball that cannot be found. Model Local Rule E-5 "When a player's ball has not been found or is known or virtually certain to be out of bounds, the player may proceed as follows rather than proceeding under stroke and distance. For two penalty strokes, the player may take relief by dropping the original ball or another ball in this relief area (see Rule 14.3): Two Estimated Reference Points: (a)Ball Reference Point: The point where the original ball is estimated to have:
  • Come to rest on the course, or
  • Last crossed the edge of the course boundary to go out of bounds.
(b) Fairway Reference Point: The point of fairway of the hole being played that is nearest to the ball reference point, but is not nearer the hole than the ball reference point. For purposes of this Local Rule, "fairway" means any part of the general area cut to fairway height or less. If a ball is estimated to be lost on the course or last crossed the edge of the course boundary short of the fairway, the fairway reference point may be a grass path or a teeing ground for the hole being played cut to fairway height or less. Size of Relief Area Based on Reference Points: Anywhere between
  • A line from the hole through the ball reference point (and within two club-lengths to the outside of that line), and
  • A line from the hole through the fairway reference point (and within two club-lengths to the fairway side of that line).
But with these limits: Limits on Location of Relief Area:
  • Must be in the general area, and
  • Must not be nearer the hole than the ball reference point.
Once the player puts a ball in play under this Local Rule:
  • The original ball is no longer in play and must not be played.
  • This is true even if the ball is found on the course before the end of the three-minute search time (see Rule 6.3b).
But the player may not use this option to take relief for the original ball when:
  • That ball is known or virtually certain to have come to rest in a penalty area, or
  • The player has played another ball provisionally under penalty of stroke and distance (see Rule 18.3).
A player may use this option to take relief for a provisional ball that has not been found or is known or virtually certain to be out of bounds. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under: Rule 14.7a."
E-6
Line of Play Relief for Protective Fence
Purpose. A fence (or similar protective screen) is sometimes used to protect players on one hole from shots played at another hole. If such a fence is close to the playing area for another hole, the Committee can choose to use a dropping zone or zones to give a player an extra relief option without penalty when they are playing that other hole and the fence is on the line of play. The player should be entitled to relief only when the ball is nearer the hole than a dropping zone, so that a player whose ball is well away from the fence is not allowed to move forward to the dropping zone. The Committee should take this into consideration when positioning the dropping zone or zones to ensure that this relief will be available only for situations where it believes such free relief is justified. Model Local Rule E-6 "During play of the [specify hole number], if the protective fence on the [specify hole number] is on a player's line of play the player may take free relief by dropping a ball in and playing it from the dropping zone [describe location]. But this relief is only allowed if the ball is in play nearer the hole than where the dropping zone is located (see Rule 14.3). Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
E-7
Relief from Electric Boundary Fence
Purpose. Where an electric fence is used as a boundary object, a Local Rule providing free relief for a ball lying within a certain distance (for example, two club-lengths) of the boundary fence is allowed. In these circumstances, to ensure the safety of the player, the player can measure the two club-lengths from the fence and has a one club-length relief area in which to drop the ball no nearer the hole than where the ball originally lay. Model Local Rule E-7 "If a player's ball lies on the course and within [specify distance, such as two club-lengths] of the electric boundary fence on hole[s] [specify location(s)], the player may take free relief using the procedure in Rule 16.1, but based on this reference point:
  • The point that is [specify distance, such as two club-lengths] from the fence and an equal distance from the hole to the spot of the original ball.
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
E-8
Defining No Play Zones
Purpose. There may be some parts of the course where the Committee wishes to prohibit play, in which case each part must either be defined as part of an abnormal course condition or a penalty area. The Committee can use no play zones for any reason, such as:
  • To protect wildlife, animal habitats, and environmentally-sensitive areas.
  • To prevent damage to young trees, flower beds, turf nurseries, re-turfed areas or other planted areas.
  • To protect players from danger.
  • To preserve sites of historical or cultural interest.
See Sections 2G and 5B(5) for more information on No Play Zones and how to mark them distinctively. Model Local Rule E-8.1 "The area defined by [specify how the area is marked, for example, with blue stakes with green tops] [specify where it is located, for example, on the right of the fairway on hole 8] is a no play zone that is treated as an abnormal course condition. Relief must be taken from interference by the no play zone under Rule 16.1f" Model Local Rule E-8.2 "The area within the [red /yellow] penalty area defined by [specify how the area is marked and where it is located, for example, with red / yellow stakes with green tops on the right of hole 8] is a no play zone that is treated as a penalty area and relief must be taken from interference by the no play zone under Rule 17.1e."
E-9
Defining an Area of Out of Bounds as a No Play Zone
Purpose. Although a player may not play a ball from out of bounds, there may be areas that are out of bounds that the Committee may wish to designate as no play zones, for example, to stop players from damaging anything growing in that area when it interferes with the play of a ball on the course. In this case, a player must take free relief if the player's ball is on the course but their area of intended stance is in the no play zone out of bounds or if their swing touches something that is in the no play zone. Model Local Rule E-9 "The [identify the area] is out of bounds and is defined as a no play zone and the player must take relief under Rule 16.1f(2) if their ball is on the course and anything in the no play zone interferes with the player's area of intended stance or swing. The player must not play the ball as it lies. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
E-10
Protection of Young Trees
Purpose. To help prevent damage to young trees when a player makes a stroke, a Committee can choose to designate the young trees as no play zones so that:
  • If a player has any type of interference as defined in Rule 16.1 from such a tree designated as a no play zone, they must take relief under Rule 16.1f.
  • If the player's ball lies in a penalty area, they must either take free relief under the Local Rule within the penalty area or proceed with penalty under Rule 17.1.
Similarly, the Committee may mark a collection of young trees as a single no play zone. Alternatively, the Committee may choose to define young trees to be abnormal course conditions so that the player is not required to take relief. In either case, such trees should be identified by stakes, tape, or in some other clear way. When the tree has matured and no longer needs this protection, the Committee should withdraw the Local Rule and/or remove the identifying object from the tree. Model Local Rule E-10.1 "The young trees identified by [identify markings] 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 area of intended 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 under Rule 17.1e.
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a." Model Local Rule E-10.2 "The young trees identified by [identify markings] are abnormal course conditions. The player may take relief under Rule 16.1. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
E-11
Ball Deflected by Power Line
Purpose. If a permanent overhead power line may interfere with the reasonable play of a hole, a Committee can require that if a ball hits the power line (and towers, support wires or poles supporting the power line), the stroke does not count and the player must play the stroke again. This Local Rule should not generally be used for power lines that do not interfere with play of a hole or are out of bounds. A Local Rule that gives a player the option to replay the stroke for a ball that hits a power line is not authorized. Model Local Rule E-11 "If it is known or virtually certain that a player's ball hit [describe the structure, for example, a power line, tower, wire or pole supporting a power line] during the play of [specify hole number], the player must replay the stroke by playing the original ball or another ball from the spot where that stroke was made (see Rule 14.6). If the player replays the stroke but does so from a wrong place, they get the general penalty under Rule 14.7. If the player does not replay the stroke, they get the general penalty and the stroke counts, but the player has not played from a wrong place.”
E-12
Compulsory Use of Fairway Mats
Purpose. It may be necessary to protect parts of the course from damage during play, such as when prolonged periods of cold weather are limiting the amount of grass growth. When this is the case, a Committee may decide to require the use of mats on parts of the general area cut to fairway height or less, when a putter is not being used for the stroke. The use of this Local Rule outside the fairway in the general area is not recommended and it is not authorized to restrict the use of putters to specific areas. For guidance on when and how this Local Rule may be used in order for acceptable scores to be submitted for handicap purposes, consult the rules or recommendations contained within the World Handicap System™ publications or other guidance as provided by the handicapping body in the local jurisdiction. Model Local Rule E-12 "When a player’s ball lies in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less and a putter is not being used for the stroke, the player must take free relief by lifting the original ball and placing the original ball or another ball on an artificial mat and play it from there. The mat must be placed on top of the spot where the ball came to rest. If a ball when placed rolls off the mat, the player must try to place it a second time. If the ball again does not stay on the mat, the mat must be moved to the nearest spot, not nearer the hole, where the ball will come to rest on the mat when placed. If the ball on the mat is accidentally moved before a stroke is made, there is no penalty and the ball must be placed again on the mat. If a tee is used to secure the mat into the ground, the ball must not be placed on the tee. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F

Abnormal Course Conditions and Integral Objects

F-1
Defining Abnormal Course Conditions and Integral Objects
Purpose. There are many ways in which a Committee can define abnormal course conditions and integral objects on the course and so it is not appropriate or possible to provide a complete list of Model Local Rules that can be used for this purpose. The key is to be clear and specific when defining abnormal course conditions and integral objects in the Local Rules. The Committee may adopt Local Rules for the following purposes without the need for them to fit with the Model Local Rules:
  • Clarifying the status of objects that may be obstructions.
  • Declaring any artificial object to be an integral object (and not an obstruction).
  • Declaring artificial surfaces and edges of roads to be integral objects.
  • Declaring roads and paths that don't have artificial surfaces and edges to be obstructions if they could unfairly affect play.
  • Defining temporary obstructions on the course or next to the course as movable, immovable or temporary immovable obstructions.
No specific Model Local Rules are included in this section given the variety of options available, but some examples are provided below:
  • "Ground under repair is defined by any area encircled by a white line [or insert other colour or description as appropriate]."
  • "Ground under repair includes exposed rocks in areas cut to fairway height or less [or within a stated distance of the fairway, such as two club-lengths]."
  • "Areas in bunkers where sand has been removed by the movement of water resulting in deep furrows through the sand are ground under repair."
  • "Mats that are secured and plastic cable ramps that are covering cables are immovable obstructions."
  • "Protective fences around greens are immovable obstructions."
  • "The rails on split rail fences are [movable or immovable] obstructions."
  • "Retaining artificial walls and pilings when located in penalty areas are integral objects."
  • "Wires and other objects [closely] attached to trees are integral objects."
See Sections 2F and 5B(4) for more information on abnormal course conditions. See Sections 2H and 5B(4) for more information on integral objects.
F-2
Limited Relief for Embedded Ball
Purpose. Rule 16.3 normally allows relief whenever a ball is embedded anywhere in the general area (other than in sand in areas that are not cut to fairway height or less). But a Committee may choose:
  • To allow relief only when a ball is embedded in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less.
  • Not to allow free relief for a ball embedded in the wall or lip of a bunker (such as a stacked turf or soil face).
Model Local Rule F-2.1 "Rule 16.3 is modified in this way: Free relief is allowed only when a ball is embedded in part of the general area that is cut to fairway height or less. [Stacked turf faces above bunkers are not cut to fairway height or less for the purpose of this Rule.] Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a." Model Local Rule F-2.2 "Rule 16.3 is modified in this way: Free relief is not allowed when a ball is embedded in [stacked turf faces] [soil faces] above bunkers. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-3
Ground Under Repair Treated as Part of Nearby Obstruction
Purpose. Ground under repair may be located right next to an immovable obstruction. For example, when a flower bed that the Committee has defined to be ground under repair is surrounded by an artificially surfaced cart path or when cart traffic causes damage next to a cart path. This can lead to complicated relief situations. After taking relief from one condition, a player may find that there is now interference by the other condition; and after taking relief from that other condition, the player may find that the first condition once again interferes. Although the definition of "nearest point of complete relief" contemplates this scenario, the Committee can choose to treat both conditions as a single abnormal course condition to allow the player to take relief in one step. When this is done, the areas of ground under repair should either be connected to the immovable obstruction by white lines or should be defined in some other clear way. This Model Local Rule gives examples of how to address situations of this type: Model Local Rule F-3.1 When white lines are used to mark the ground under repair: "Where white-lined areas of ground under repair are tied into [artificially surfaced road or path or other identified obstruction] they are treated as a single abnormal course condition when taking relief under Rule 16.1."  Model Local Rule F-3.2 When white lines are not used to mark the ground under repair: "Where areas of damaged ground are right next to [artificially surfaced road or path or other identified obstruction] they are treated as a single abnormal course condition when taking relief under Rule 16.1." Model Local Rule F-3.3 For decorative planted areas such as flower beds surrounded by an immovable obstruction such as a cart path: "Where a [describe area, such as decorative planted areas] is surrounded by an artificially surfaced road or path (including everything growing within that area), they are treated as a single abnormal course condition when taking relief under Rule 16.1."
F-4
Extensive Damage Due to Heavy Rain and Traffic
Purpose. When heavy rain has resulted in many areas of unusual damage to the course (such as deep ruts caused by vehicles or deep footprints caused by spectators), and it is not feasible to define them with stakes or lines, the Committee has the authority to declare such unusual damage to be ground under repair. Model Local Rule F-4 "Ground under repair may include areas of unusual damage, including areas where spectators or other traffic have combined with wet conditions to alter the ground surface materially, but only when so declared by an authorized referee or member of the Committee. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-5
Immovable Obstructions Close to Putting Greens
Purpose. When a ball lies anywhere other than on the putting green, an immovable obstruction on the player's line of play is not, of itself, interference under Rule 16.1. Free relief is normally not allowed. But if the aprons or fringes of putting greens are cut short enough that putting from off the green is likely to be a common choice of stroke, immovable obstructions that are close to the putting green may interfere with such strokes. In that case, the Committee can choose to give an extra relief option under Rule 16.1 when a player's ball lies in the general area and an immovable obstruction close to the putting green is on the player's line of play. The Committee may limit such relief to certain situations, such as only for particular holes or obstructions, or only when the ball and the obstruction are in part of the general area cut to fairway height or less. Model Local Rule F-5.1 "Relief from interference by an immovable obstruction may be taken under Rule 16.1. The player has an extra option to take relief when such immovable obstructions are on or close to the putting green and on the line of play: Ball in General Area: The player may take relief under Rule 16.1b if an immovable obstruction is:
  • On the line of play, and is:
    • On or within two club-lengths of the putting green, and
    • Within two club-lengths of the ball.
But complete relief must be taken, which includes both physical and line of play interference. Exception - No Relief If Line of Play Clearly Unreasonable. There is no relief under this Local Rule if the player chooses a line of play that is clearly unreasonable. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a." Model Local Rule F-5.2 Model Local Rule F-5.1 applies but with the following addition to the second paragraph: "This Local Rule only applies when both the ball and the obstruction are in part of the general area cut to fairway height or less."
F-6
Prohibiting Relief from Abnormal Course Condition When Only Stance Interference Exists
Purpose. A Committee may wish to deny relief for interference with the player's stance from some conditions such as animal holes, as interference to the stance does not significantly affect the stroke or if relief for interference with the stance could result in repeatedly taking relief from nearby similar conditions. Model Local Rule F-6 "Rule 16.1a(1) is modified in this way: Relief is not allowed if [insert condition from which relief is restricted] only interferes with the player’s stance.".
F-7
Relief from Seams of Cut Turf
Purpose. A portion of the course that has been repaired with cut turf is often marked as ground under repair until it is stable enough for play. But when the area of turf itself no longer needs to be marked as ground under repair, the Committee may still choose to allow relief when:
  • A ball lies in one of the cut turf seams (also known as sod seams).
  • A seam interferes with the player's area of intended swing .
When such seams only interfere with the player's stance, there is no need to allow relief. Model Local Rule F-7 "If a player's ball lies in or touches a seam of cut turf or a seam interferes with the player's area of intended swing: (a) Ball in General Area. The player may take relief under Rule 16.1b. (b) Ball on Putting Green. The player may take relief under Rule 16.1d. But interference does not exist if the seam only interferes with the player's stance.. All seams within the area of cut turf are treated as the same seam in taking relief. This means that if a player has interference from any seam after dropping the ball, the player must proceed as required under Rule 14.3c(2) even when the ball is still within one club-length of the reference point. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-8
Relief from Cracks in Ground
Purpose. In certain conditions, parts of  the course may suffer due to cracks in the ground. The lie of a ball could be seriously affected if it comes to rest in such a crack, but a player’s stance may not be hindered by the condition, in which case a Local Rule that gives relief for the lie of ball and area of intended swing only is recommended. Model Local Rule F-8 "Cracks in the ground [specify areas of the course, such as in parts of the general area cut to fairway height or less] are ground under repair. The player may take relief under Rule 16.1b. [But relief is not allowed if the crack only interferes with the player’s stance.] Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-9
Relief from Tree Roots in or Close to Fairway
Purpose. In the unusual situation where exposed tree roots are found in the fairway, it may be unfair to prohibit the player from taking relief from the roots. The Committee can choose to treat such tree roots as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1b. In some circumstances where exposed tree roots are found close to the fairway, the Committee can also choose to treat such tree roots within a specified distance from the edge of the fairway (for example four club-lengths) as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1b. In doing so, the Committee can choose to limit relief to interference with the lie of ball and the area of intended swing. Model Local Rule F-9 "If a player’s ball lies in the general area and there is interference from exposed tree roots that are [specify area of the course, such as in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less or in the rough within a certain number of club-lengths from the edge of the area cut to fairway height or less], the tree roots are treated as ground under repair. The player may take free relief under Rule 16.1b. [But relief is not allowed if the tree roots only interfere with the player’s stance.]: color_lightBlue} Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-10
Damage by Animals
Purpose. There may be times when animals cause damage to the course that is so widespread that it is not practical to mark all the damaged areas as ground under repair. Also, some types of animal damage may not be covered by Rule 16.1. This Model Local Rule shows how the Committee can choose to address these issues. If animals, including insects, create damage on a course, the Committee can choose to treat such damage as ground under repair from which relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. This is done by defining the areas or the condition rather than attempting to mark all the areas of damage. A Committee can choose to limit relief only for damage that interferes with the lie of the ball or the area of intended swing. Model Local Rule F-10 "Areas of damage in [specify the areas of the course, such as, the general area] caused by [type of animal] are treated as ground under repair from which relief is allowed under Rule 16.1b. [But relief is not allowed if the damage only interferes with the player’s stance.] Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-11
Ant Hills
Purpose. Ant hills are loose impediments and may be removed under Rule 15.1. They are not animal holes from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. But there are situations when ant hills are difficult or impossible to remove (such as when large, hard or conical in shape). In that case, the Committee can adopt a Local Rule giving the player an option to treat such ant hills as ground under repair. It is not necessary to adopt such a Local Rule for fire ants as fire ants are considered a dangerous animal condition and free relief is available under Rule 16.2. Model Local Rule F-11 "[Describe the types of ant hills] ant hills on the course are, at the player's option, loose impediments that may be removed under Rule 15.1 or ground under repair from which relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-12
Animal Dung
Purpose. The dung of a bird or other animal is a loose impediment that may be removed under Rule 15.1. But if there is concern with the effect of dung on fair play, the Committee can give players the option of treating dung as ground under repair from which relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. If treating the dung as ground under repair will not necessarily give full relief when a ball is on the putting green, a Committee can also allow players to use a greens switch/whip or similar maintenance equipment to remove the dung from the line of play without penalty, even if doing so improves the line of play or other conditions affecting the stroke. Model Local Rule F-12 "At the player's option, dung from [specify dung from which relief would be given, for example, goose dung, dog dung] may be treated either as:
  • A loose impediment that may be removed under Rule 15.1, or
  • Ground under repair from which relief is allowed under Rule 16.1.
[If dung is found on the putting green, the player may also use the greens switch/whip located by the putting greens to remove the dung from the line of play. If doing so improves the line of play or other conditions affecting the stroke, there is no penalty under Rule 8.1a.] Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-13
Animal Hoof Damage
Purpose. The hoofs of animals such as deer or elk can cause damage on the course. This damage can be repaired on the putting green (see Rule 13.1), but free relief is not available elsewhere on the course. A Committee may wish to allow players to take relief from this damage as ground under repair without having to mark all such areas. Since damage caused by animals may be repaired on the putting green the Committee can declare such damage as ground under repair or allow players to repair it. Model Local Rule F-13 "Damage that is caused by animal hoofs is ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. [But on the putting green, Rule 16.1 does not apply and such damage may be repaired under Rule 13.1.] Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-14
Accumulations of Loose Impediments
Purpose. At certain times of the year, piles of loose impediments such as leaves, seeds or acorns may make it difficult for a player to find or play their ball. A Committee can choose to treat such piles of loose impediments in the general area or in a bunker as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. This Local Rule may not be used for penalty areas as relief is not available for abnormal course conditions in penalty areas. The Local Rule should be limited to the hole(s) where problems are created by such loose impediments and should be withdrawn as soon as conditions allow. Model Local Rule F-14 "During play of the [specify hole number], any ground with temporary accumulations of [identify types of loose impediments] in the general area or in a bunker is treated as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-15
Mushrooms on Putting Green
Purpose. If mushrooms growing on the putting green may interfere with fair play, the Committee can treat them as ground under repair so that a player may take free relief under Rule 16.1d. Model Local Rule F-15 "Mushrooms that are attached on the putting green are ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1d. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-16
Bunker Filled with Temporary Water
Purpose. If a bunker or multiple bunkers are filled with temporary water, free relief under Rule 16.1c may not be sufficient to allow for fair play as players may be limited to taking maximum available relief or relief outside the bunker for one penalty stroke. A Committee can choose to treat certain bunkers as ground under repair in the general area so that free relief is allowed outside the bunker. The Committee should only use this Local Rule for specifically identified bunkers and is not authorized to make a Local Rule providing generally that all bunkers filled with temporary water are ground under repair. The rationale for this is that individual bunkers may change from being completely flooded to partially flooded during the round, and it would be inappropriate for some players to get free relief from a bunker treated as ground under repair in the general area, whereas other players have to treat it as a bunker as it is not completely flooded at the time their ball is in it. Model Local Rule F-16 "The bunker filled with temporary water on [insert location of bunker, for example, left of 5th green] is ground under repair in the general area. It is not treated as a bunker during the round. The player may take free relief under Rule 16.1b. All other bunkers on the course, whether they contain temporary water or not, are still bunkers for all purposes under the Rules. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-17
All Roads and Paths Treated as Obstructions
Purpose. Where roads or paths that are not artificially surfaced may interfere with fair play, the Committee can choose to designate such roads as immovable obstructions from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. Model Local Rule F-17 “All roads and paths on the course [or identify particular types or locations], even if not artificially-surfaced, are treated as immovable obstructions from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-18
Treating Movable Objects to Be Immovable
Purpose. The Committee can choose to treat certain movable objects on the course, such as all stakes (other than boundary stakes), bins and directional poles, to be immovable so as to discourage players from moving them. The implications of this Local Rule should be fully considered by the Committee in advance as it may result in players breaching Rule 8.1 by moving an obstruction that is treated as immovable. Model Local Rule F-18 "All stakes [or identify the movable obstructions that are to be considered immovable] on the course are treated as immovable obstructions from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. Relief is not allowed to be taken under Rule 15.2. Penalty for Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty."
F-19
Edging Grooves Near Putting Greens
Purpose. Edging grooves are sometimes cut on the apron or fringe of the putting green to keep grasses from creeping onto the putting green. Because it can be difficult to play a ball from such grooves, a Committee can choose to treat them as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. Relief should be allowed only for interference with the lie of the ball or the area of intended swing. Model Local Rule F-19 "The edging grooves around the aprons or fringes of putting greens are ground under repair. If a player's ball lies in or touches a groove or a groove interferes with the area of intended swing: (a) Ball in General Area. The player may take free relief under Rule 16.1b. (b) Ball on (including touching) the Putting Green. The player may take free relief under Rule 16.1d. But interference does not exist if the edging groove only interferes with the line of play or with player's stance. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-20
Concrete Drainage Channels
Purpose. Narrow concrete drainage channels are sometimes found on courses where flooding is common. This can create issues for play because:
  • These channels are penalty areas as defined in the Rules.
  • They often run next to cart paths and are more like immovable obstructions than penalty areas.
The Committee can choose to treat these drainage channels as immovable obstructions in the general area rather than as penalty areas. See Model Local Rule B-4 for when an open watercourse can be defined to be part of the general area. Model Local Rule F-20 "Drainage channels that are made of artificial materials and run next to cart paths are treated as immovable obstructions in the general area and are part of the cart path. A player may take free relief under Rule 16.1b. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-21
Painted Lines or Dots
Purpose. If the Committee puts paint lines or dots down on the putting green or in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less (for example, for distance markings), it may treat those areas as abnormal course conditions from which free relief is available under Rule 16.1. When such paint lines or dots only interfere with the player's stance, there is no need to allow relief. Alternatively, the Committee can choose to clarify that there is no free relief available from such paint lines or dots. Model Local Rule F-21.1 "Painted lines or dots on the putting green or in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less are to be treated as ground under repair from which relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. But interference does not exist if painted lines or dots only interfere with the player's stance. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a." Model Local Rule F-21.2 "Free relief is not allowed from painted lines or dots [describe area, for example, in areas where the grass is not cut to fairway height or less]. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-22
Temporary Lines and Cables
Purpose. Temporary lines and cables are often placed on the course to provide power and communications for a competition. These cables may be on the surface of the ground or above or below the ground. Such lines and cables are not normally present and are not part of the challenge of playing the course, so the Committee may choose to provide extra relief when they interfere with play. Model Local Rule F-22 "Temporary lines and cables for power and communications (and mats covering or poles supporting them) are obstructions: 1. If they can be moved with reasonable effort and without damaging the obstruction or the course, they are movable obstructions and a player may remove them without penalty under Rule 15.2. 2. Otherwise they are immovable obstructions from which the player may take relief as follows: (a)Ball in General Area or in Bunker. The player may take relief under Rule 16.1. (b)Ball in Penalty Area. Rule 16.1b is modified to allow the player the extra option to take free relief from interference by these immovable obstructions in a penalty area by dropping a ball and playing it from this relief area:
  • Reference Point: The nearest point of complete relief in the penalty area.
  • Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: One club-length, but with these limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area:
    • Must be in the penalty area in which the ball came to rest,
    • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
    • There must be complete relief from all interference by the immovable obstruction.
3. If it is known or virtually certain that a player’s ball hits a temporary elevated line or cable, the player must replay the stroke by playing the original ball or another ball from the spot where that stroke was made (see Rule 14.6). If the player replays the stroke but does so from a wrong place, they get the general penalty under Rule 14.7. If the player does not replay the stroke, they get the general penalty and the stroke counts, but the player has not played from a wrong place. 4.Grass-covered trenches for temporary lines or cables in the general area are ground under repair, even if not marked. The player may take free relief under Rule 16.1. But there are two exceptions:
  • Exception 1 - Ball Strikes Elevated Cable That Rises from Ground: If a ball hits an elevated section of cable rising from the ground, the stroke counts, and the ball must be played as it lies.
  • Exception 2 - Ball Strikes Wires Supporting Temporary Immovable Obstruction: Guy wires supporting a temporary immovable obstruction (TIO) are part of the TIO and are not covered by this Local Rule, unless the Committee states that the guy wires are to be treated as temporary elevated lines or cables under this Local Rule.
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-23
Temporary Immovable Obstructions
Purpose. When obstructions are temporarily placed on or next to the course, the Committee should specify whether they are movable obstructions (see Rule 15.2), immovable obstructions (see Rule 16.1) or temporary immovable obstructions ("TIOs"). TIOs (such as a grandstand or a tent) are not normally present and are not considered to be part of the challenge of playing the course. Because of their temporary nature, this Local Rule provides an additional relief option that is not allowed from immovable obstructions, although the player can still choose to treat the TIO as if it were an immovable obstruction and use the relief procedures available in Rule 16. The additional relief provided by this Local Rule includes the ability for a player to take relief when the TIO is located on the straight line between their ball and the hole (known as "line of sight relief") by moving sideways, keeping the same distance from the hole, so that the TIO is no longer between the player's ball and the hole (also known as moving along the "equidistant arc"). When a player takes relief from a TIO, whether under this Local Rule or the relief procedures in Rule 16, the player is guaranteed complete relief from physical interference. But only when relief is taken using the additional relief option under this Local Rule will the player normally be guaranteed complete relief from line of sight interference from the TIO. Model Local Rule F-23 "Definition of TIO: A temporary immovable obstruction (TIO) is a structure that is temporarily placed on or next to the course, usually for a particular competition, and is fixed or does not meet the definition of movable obstruction. Examples of TIOs are temporary tents, scoreboards, grandstands, television towers and toilets. TIOs include any supporting guy wires connected to them, except when the Committee decides the supporting guy wires are to be treated as immovable obstructions or as temporary elevated lines or cables using Model Local Rule F-22. The outermost edge of the TIO is used in determining whether a ball is under the TIO or whether the TIO is on the player's line of sight between the ball and the hole. Lines or stakes may be used to define the edges of a TIO or to connect multiple TIOs into a single, larger TIO. A TIO is different from an immovable obstruction and this Local Rule provides additional relief from interference by a TIO. This means that the player can choose to take relief by using either:
  • The procedure for taking relief from an abnormal course condition in Rule 16.1, as if the TIO were an immovable obstruction (this relief is also available when the ball lies in a penalty area or when the TIO is out of bounds), or
  • The additional relief option available under this Local Rule.
a. When Relief Is Allowed Relief from a TIO is normally allowed when there is physical interference or line of sight interference from the TIO. Interference under this Local Rule means that the player has:
  • Physical interference,
  • Line of sight interference, or
  • Both physical and line of sight interference.
(1) Meaning of Physical Interference by Temporary Immovable Obstruction. Physical interference exists when:
  • The player's ball touches or lies in or on a TIO, or
  • The TIO interferes with the player's area of intended stance or area of intended swing.
(2) Meaning of Line of Sight Interference by Temporary Immovable Obstruction. Line of sight interference exists when:
  • The player's ball touches or lies in, on or under a TIO, or
  • The TIO is on the player's line of sight to the hole (that is, the TIO is located on the straight line between the ball and the hole), or
  • The ball is within one club-length, measured on an equidistant arc from the hole, of a spot where the TIO would be on the player's direct line of sight to the hole (this one club-length wide area is commonly referred to as the "corridor").
(3) When No Relief Is Available Despite Having Interference. If the ball touches or is in or on the TIO, relief is always available. But when the ball neither touches nor is in or on the TIO, there is no relief under this Local Rule if any of the following applies:
  • From either physical interference or line of sight interference:
    • There is no relief when playing the ball as it lies would be clearly unreasonable because of something from which the player is not allowed to take free relief (such as when the player is unable to make a stroke because of where the ball lies in a bush outside the TIO), and
    • There is no relief when interference exists only because the player chooses a club, type of stance or swing or direction of play that is clearly unreasonable under the circumstances; and
  • From line of sight interference:
    • There is no relief when it is clearly unreasonable for a player to play the ball far enough that the ball will reach the TIO, and
    • There is no relief when the player cannot show that there is a stroke that they could reasonably make that would both (a) have the TIO (including the corridor) on the line of that stroke, and (b) result in the ball finishing on a direct line to the hole.
b. Relief from Interference for Ball in General Area If the player's ball is in the general area and there is interference by a TIO (including a TIO located out of bounds), the player may take free relief by dropping the original ball or another ball in and playing it from this relief area:
  • Reference Point: The nearest point of complete relief where both physical and line of sight interference no longer exist.
  • Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: The entire area within one club-length from the reference point, but with these limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area:
    • Must be in the general area,
    • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
    • There must be complete relief from both physical and line of sight interference by the TIO.
If the player has physical interference from the TIO, instead of using this relief procedure they may choose to take relief using the procedure for taking relief from an abnormal course condition in Rule 16.1, treating the TIO as if it were an immovable obstruction. The relief procedure under Rule 16.1 is also available when the ball lies in a penalty area or when the TIO is out of bounds. See Clause f of this Local Rule for how the player may proceed under other relief Rules. c. Relief from Interference for Ball in Bunker or Penalty Area. If the player's ball is in a bunker or a penalty area and there is interference by a TIO (including a TIO located out of bounds), the player may take either free relief or penalty relief: (1) Free Relief: Playing from Bunker or Penalty Area. The player may take free relief as provided in Clause b, except that the nearest point of complete relief where interference no longer exists, and the relief area must be in that bunker or penalty area. If there is no such point in that bunker or penalty area where interference no longer exists, the player may still take this relief as provided above by using the point of maximum available relief in the bunker or the penalty area as the reference point. (2) Penalty Relief: Playing from Outside Bunker or Penalty Area. For one penalty stroke, the player may drop the original ball or another ball in and play it from this relief area:
  • Reference Point: The nearest point of complete relief not nearer the hole where both physical and line of sight interference no longer exist that is outside that bunker or penalty area.
  • Size of Relief Area from Reference Point: The entire area one club-length from the reference point, but with these limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area:
    • Any area of the course other than in that bunker or penalty area or on the putting green,
    • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
    • There must be complete relief from both physical and line of sight interference by the TIO.
If the player has physical interference from the TIO, instead of using this relief procedure they may choose to take relief using the procedure for taking relief from an abnormal course condition in Rule 16.1c, treating the TIO as if it were an immovable obstruction. The relief procedure under Rule 16.1b is also available when the TIO is out of bounds or the ball lies in a penalty area. If a ball lies in a penalty area, the reference point and relief area must be in that penalty area. See Clause f of this Local Rule for how the player may proceed under other relief Rules. d. Relief When Ball in TIO Not Found If the player's ball has not been found but is known or virtually certain to have come to rest in a TIO:
  • The player may take relief under this Local Rule by using the estimated point where the ball last crossed the edge of the TIO on the course as the spot of the ball for purposes of finding the nearest point of complete relief.
  • Once the player puts another ball in play to take relief in this way:
    • The original ball is no longer in play and must not be played.
    • This is true even if it is then found on the course before the end of the three-minute search time (see Rule 6.3b).
But if it is not known or virtually certain that the ball came to rest in the TIO, the player must play under penalty of stroke and distance (see Rule 18.2). e. Committee Authority to Modify TIO Relief Procedures When adopting this Local Rule, the Committee may modify the relief procedures in Clauses b and c in either or both of the following ways: (1)Optional or Mandatory Use of Dropping Zones. The Committee may permit or require a player to use a dropping zone as the relief area for taking relief under this Local Rule. When doing so, the Committee may add the dropping zone for relief from only physical interference or only line of sight interference or it may be used for relief from both types of interference. (2)"Either Side" Relief Option. The Committee may permit the player the option to take relief on the other side of a TIO in addition to the relief options allowed under Clauses b and c of this Local Rule. But the option to take relief on either side does not apply when using the procedures in Rule 16.1. f. Player May Proceed Under Other Relief Rules (1)Taking Relief by Using the Procedures in Rule 16.1 or this Local Rule. If a player has physical interference from the TIO as defined in Clause a, the player may either:
  • Choose to use the relief procedures in Rule 16.1 or
  • Use this Local Rule.
But the player may not take relief under one of these options and then take relief under the other. If the player chooses to use the procedure for taking relief from an abnormal course condition in Rule 16.1, they must treat the TIO as if it is an immovable obstruction and take relief based on where the ball lies:
  • In the general areausing the procedures in Rule 16.1b.
  • In a bunkerusing the procedures in Rule 16.1c.
  • In a penalty areausing the procedures in Rule 16.1c as if the ball lies in a bunker.
  • On the putting greenusing the procedures in Rule 16.1d.
(2)Taking Relief under Rule 17, 18 or 19. This Local Rule does not prevent the player from taking relief under Rule 17, 18 or 19 rather than taking TIO relief under this Local Rule. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-24
Free Relief From Immovable Obstructions in Penalty Area
Purpose. When a player’s ball is in a penalty area and the player has interference from an immovable obstruction, free relief is not available (see Rule 16.1a(2)). However, there may be instances where a Committee may wish to provide free relief within the penalty area from certain obstructions. When using this Local Rule, the Committee should specify which immovable obstruction it applies to (rather than allowing free relief from all immovable obstructions) and on which hole it apples if it does not apply to all holes. Model Local Rule F-24 Relief from interference by [specify which immovable obstructions] located in the penalty area on [specify hole number] is allowed under Rule 16.1b, with the following modifications.
  • Reference Point: The nearest point of complete relief must be in the penalty area.
  • Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: One club-length, but with these limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area:
    • Must be in the penalty area in which the ball came to rest,
    • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
    • There must be complete relief from all interference by the immovable obstruction.
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-25
Nearest Point of Complete Relief to be Determined Without Crossing Over, Through or Under Abnormal Course Condition
Purpose. There are times when a player may have interference from an abnormal course condition, such as a narrow fence or wall, and their nearest point of complete relief may be on the other side of the abnormal course condition, which may have a significant and undesirable impact on the outcome of the relief.  Although the player is allowed to measure their club-lengths across or through objects, the Committee may wish to require that the nearest point of complete relief be determined without crossing over, through or under the abnormal course condition.  The Committee may also wish to use this Model Local Rule to prevent players from being able to measure across or through an object. Model Local Rule F-25.1 “When taking relief under Rule 16.1, the nearest point of complete relief must be determined without crossing over, through or under the [specify abnormal course condition and hole number]. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a." Model Local Rule F-25.2 “When taking relief from [specify abnormal course condition and hole number], the relief area must be on the same side of the abnormal course condition as the reference point. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-26
Gates in Boundary Fences and Walls
Purpose. If a Committee wants to prohibit players from getting free relief from closed gates in boundary fences or walls (such as when it is an entrance to a private property) they may treat such a gate as part of the boundary object when in a closed position. The implications of this Local Rule should be fully considered by the Committee in advance as it may result in players breaching Rule 8.1 by moving the gate. Model Local Rule F-26 “All closed gates that are attached to boundary walls and fences are part of the boundary object. Relief is not allowed from such a gate under Rules 15.2 or 16.1. But an open gate is not treated as part of the boundary object and may be closed or moved to a different position.”
G

Restrictions on Use of Specific Equipment

G-1
List of Conforming Driver Heads
Purpose. To remove any doubt that drivers being used in a competition are conforming a Committee can choose to require players to use only drivers with clubheads that have been evaluated and approved as conforming under the Equipment Rules. A List of Conforming Driver Heads is found at RandA.org. This Local Rule is recommended for use only in competitions limited to highly skilled players (that is, professional and elite amateur competitions). Even if this Local Rule is not in place, any driver used must conform to the requirements in the Equipment Rules. Model Local Rule G-1 "Any driver the player uses to make a stroke must have a clubhead, identified by model and loft, which is on the current List of Conforming Driver Heads issued by The R&A. This list is regularly updated and is found at RandA.org. Exception - Pre-1999 Driver Heads: A driver with a clubhead that was made before 1999 is exempt from this Local Rule. Penalty for Making a Stroke with Club in Breach of this Local Rule: Disqualification. There is no penalty under this Local Rule for carrying but not making a stroke with a driver that is not on the List of Conforming Driver Heads."
G-2
Groove and Punch Mark Specifications
Purpose. Effective 1 January 2010, the Equipment Rules were revised to provide new groove and punch mark specifications for all clubs other than drivers and putters. Until four years’ notice is given, clubs made before 2010 are not required to meet these specifications. But a Committee may choose to adopt a Local Rule requiring players to use only clubs that meet all the specifications included in the current Equipment Rules. This is recommended for use only in competitions limited to highly skilled players (that is, professional and elite amateur competitions). An Equipment Database can be found at RandA.org to assist in finding which clubs may be used. Model Local Rule G-2 "In making a stroke, the player must use clubs that conform to the groove and punch mark specifications in the Equipment Rules that took effect on 1 January 2010. An Equipment Database of fairway woods, hybrids, irons and wedges which have been tested for conformance to the current Equipment Rules is found at RandA.org. Penalty for Making a Stroke with Club in Breach of this Local Rule: Disqualification. There is no penalty under this Local Rule for carrying but not making a stroke with a club which does not conform to these groove and punch mark specifications."
G-3
List of Conforming Golf Balls
Purpose. To remove any doubt that the balls being used in a competition are conforming, a Committee may choose to require the player to use only balls which have been evaluated and approved as conforming under the Equipment Rules. A List of Conforming Golf Balls is found at RandA.org and is updated monthly. Even if this Local Rule is not in place, any ball used must conform to the requirements in the Equipment Rules. Model Local Rule G-3 "Any ball used in making a stroke must be on the current List of Conforming Golf Balls issued by The R&A. This list is regularly updated and is found at RandA.org. If a ball that is not on the List of Conforming Golf Balls is dropped, replaced or placed but has not yet been played, the player may correct the mistake, without penalty, under Rule 14.5. Penalty for Making a Stroke with a Ball Not on Current List in Breach of this Local Rule: Disqualification."
G-4
One Ball Rule
Purpose. To prevent a player from using balls with different playing characteristics depending on the nature of the hole or shot to be played during a round, the Committee can choose to require that a player use only a single type of ball that is on the List of Conforming Golf Balls. Each individual listing on the List of Conforming Golf Balls is considered a different ball. Golf balls of different colours with identical markings are considered different balls. This Local Rule is recommended for use only in competitions limited to highly skilled players (that is, professional competitions and elite amateur competitions). Model Local Rule G-4 “During a round, each ball at which the player makes a stroke must be the same brand and model as found in a single entry on the current List of Conforming Balls. If a different brand and/or model is dropped, replaced or placed but has not yet been played, the player may correct the mistake, without penalty, under Rule 14.5. When correcting the mistake, the player must use a ball of the same brand and model as used at the start of the round. If a player discovers they have played a ball in breach of this Local Rule, they must revert to using a ball of the same brand and model as used at the start of the round when they play from the next teeing area; otherwise the player is disqualified. If the discovery is made during the play of a hole, the player may complete play of this hole with the ball played in breach or place a ball of the correct brand and model on the spot where the ball played in breach of this Local Rule was lifted from. Penalty for Making a Stroke at a Ball in Breach of Local Rule The player getsone penalty stroke for each hole during which they are in breach of this Local Rule.”
G-5
Prohibiting Use of Distance-Measuring Devices
Purpose. Although Rule 4.3 allows players to use equipment to measure distance (subject to certain requirements), a Committee can choose to prohibit the use of any electronic distance-measuring devices. Model Local Rule G-5 "Rule 4.3a(1) is modified in this way: During a round, a player must not obtain distance information by using an electronic distance-measuring device. Penalty for Breach of Local Rule - see Penalty Statement to Rule 4.3."
G-6
Prohibiting Use of Motorized Transportation
Purpose. A Committee can choose to prohibit players from using any type of motorized transportation such as a golf cart during a round. This is appropriate when the Committee views walking as an integral part of playing in the competition or when it believes that the use of motorized transportation would be unsafe or might damage the course. In adopting this Local Rule, the Committee can allow motorized transportation in limited ways, such as to take players from one hole to another when those holes are far apart or allowing members of the Committee to give a player a ride when they will play, or has played, again under penalty of stroke and distance. If a player accepts a ride without the permission of the Committee, the Committee can waive the penalty if it would have authorized the player to ride in that situation had the request been made. For example, if a player who had lost a ball and needed to return to the teeing area accepted a ride from a volunteer when there was no Committee member available, the Committee could waive the penalty if members of the Committee would have given the player the ride if asked. But, when motorized transportation is not allowed by Local Rule, it is a principle of the Local Rule that players should walk the entire course, so authorization should not be given if a player has been given a ride forwards when they have not already walked that distance. For example, if a player stops to buy a refreshment after playing their tee shot, and then accepts a ride forward to their ball from a volunteer, the penalty under the Local Rule should not be waived. Model Local Rule G-6 “During a round, a player or caddie must not ride on any form of motorized transportation except as authorized or later approved by the Committee. [A player who will play, or has played, under penalty of stroke and distance is always authorized to ride on motorized transportation.] [Players and caddies may ride on the shuttle between holes [identify hole] and [identify hole].] Penalty for Breach of Local Rule: The player gets the general penalty for each hole during which there is a breach of this Local Rule. If the breach occurs between the play of two holes, it applies to the next hole.”
G-7
Prohibiting Use of Certain Types of Shoes
Purpose. To protect the course from damage, the Committee can prohibit the use of shoes with metal or traditionally designed spikes. The Committee also may prohibit the use of shoes with other features that may cause undesirable damage. Model Local Rule G-7 "Rule 4.3a is modified in this way: During a round, a player must not make a stroke while wearing shoes with:
  • Traditional spikes - that is, spikes having single or multiple points designed to penetrate deeply into the surface of the ground (regardless of whether made of metal, ceramic, plastic or other materials); or
  • Spikes of any design that are entirely or partially made of metal, if such metal may come in contact with the course.
Penalty for Breach of Local Rule - see Penalty Statement to Rule 4.3."
G-8
Prohibiting or Restricting Use of Audio and Video Devices
Purpose. Rule 4.3a(4) permits a player to use equipment to listen to audio or watch video of matters unrelated to the competition being played. But the Committee can adopt a Local Rule prohibiting the use of audio and video devices altogether during a round. Model Local Rule G-8 "Rule 4.3a(4) is modified in this way: During a round, a player must not listen to or watch content of any nature on a personal audio or video device. Penalty for Breach of Local Rule - see Penalty Statement to Rule 4.3."
G-9
Replacing Club That is Broken or Significantly Damaged
Purpose. Rule 4.1a(2) allows a player to repair or replace a club that is damaged during the round, except in cases of abuse. But a Committee may adopt a Local Rule to restrict replacement of a club to cases where the club is broken or significantly damaged, which does not include a club that is cracked. Model Local Rule G-9 "Rule 4.1a(2) is modified in this way: Rule 4.1a(2) applies except that a club that is damaged by the player or their caddie during the round (including while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a) may only be replaced if it is “broken or significantly damaged”. For the purposes of this Local Rule: A club is “broken or significantly damaged” when:
  • The shaft breaks into pieces, splinters or is bent (but not when the shaft is only dented),
  • The club face impact area is visibly deformed (but not when the club face is only scratched or cracked),
  • The clubhead is visibly and significantly deformed (but not when the clubhead is only cracked),
  • The clubhead is detached or loose from the shaft, or
  • The grip is loose.
Exception: A club face or clubhead is not “broken or significantly damaged” solely because it is cracked. Penalty for Breach of Local Rule - see Rule 4.1b."
G-10
Prohibiting Use of Clubs Longer than 46 Inches
Purpose. To limit the maximum allowable club-length, a Committee may choose to adopt a Local Rule which restricts the maximum length for clubs, other than putters, to 46 inches. A measurement tolerance of 0.20 inches is allowed above 46 inches. For an explanation of the measurement of a club, see Figure 3 under Part 2.1c of the Equipment Rules. This Local Rule is recommended for use only in competitions limited to highly skilled players (that is, professional competitions and elite amateur competitions). For the avoidance of doubt, when this Model Local Rule is in effect, the application of the physical need exception allowing a player to use clubs longer than 46 inches is not available. Model Local Rule G-10 "In making a stroke, the player must not use a club, except for a putter, which exceeds 46 inches in length. Penalty for Making a Stroke with a Club in Breach of this Local Rule: Disqualification. There is no penalty under this Local Rule for carrying but not making a stroke with a club which does not conform to these length specifications."
G-11
Restricting Use of Green-Reading Materials
PurposeRule 4.3, and specifically Clarification 4.3a/1, puts limitations on the size and scale of detailed green-reading materials. But to ensure that players and caddies use only their eye and feel to help them read the line of play on the putting green, the Committee may further restrict the use of green-reading materials by requiring that players are limited throughout their round to using only the yardage book that has been approved for use in the competition. This Local Rule is intended only for the highest levels of competitive golf and, even then, only to competitions where it is realistic for the Committee to undertake an approval process for yardage books. When introducing this Local Rule, the Committee is responsible for approving the yardage book that players may use, and the approved yardage book should contain diagrams of putting greens with minimal detail only (such as significant slopes, tiers or false edges that indicate sections of greens). Players and caddies may add handwritten notes to the approved yardage book to help them read the line of play on a putting green, so long as those notes are allowed under this Local Rule. Model Local Rule G-11 "Rule 4.3a is modified in this way: During a round, the player may use only the yardage book(s) approved by the Committee. This restriction also applies to any other maps of the course, including hole-location sheets. Additional restrictions apply to handwritten notes and any other materials used by the player that could help read the line of play on the putting green:
  • Handwritten notes may be added to an approved yardage book or approved hole-location sheet before or during the round by the player or the player’s caddie only and are limited to information gathered by the player or caddie only.
  • Handwritten notes may contain information gained only through personal experiences of the player or the player’s caddie from the course or by watching a televised broadcast, but are limited to information gained:
    • While observing a ball that was rolled or played (whether by the player, caddie or someone else) or
    • Through the player’s or caddie’s feel or general observations of the putting green.
These additional restrictions on handwritten notes or other materials do not apply to such information when they could not help the player read the line of play on the putting green (such as handwritten or printed information containing swing thoughts or listing carry distances for the player’s clubs). During a round, if a player uses:
  • A yardage book, other maps of the course or a hole-location sheet that has not been approved by the Committee,
  • An approved yardage book or approved hole-location sheet that contains a handwritten note or information gained in a manner that is not allowed, or
  • Any other materials that could help with reading the line of play on the putting green (whether a specific putting green or greens in general),
the player is in breach of this Local Rule. “Use” means to look at:
  • Any page of a yardage book or other maps of the course or a hole-location sheet that has not been approved by the Committee, or
  • Any of the following when doing so could help the player or caddie read the line of play on the putting green:
    • A page in an approved yardage book or an approved hole-location sheet that contains a handwritten note or information gained in a manner that is not allowed, or
    • Any other materials.
Penalty for Breach of this Local Rule:
  • Penalty for first breach: General Penalty
  • Penalty for second breach: Disqualification.
Additional Guidance: To view a document detailing the language of this Model Local Rule and additional guidance, click here.
G-12
Prohibiting Use of Materials to Help Read the Line of Play for Stroke from Putting Green
PurposeClarification 4.3a/1 limits the size and scale of detailed putting green maps and any similar electronic or digital materials that a player may use during a round to help with reading their line of play on the putting green so that a player's ability to read a green remains an essential part of the skill of putting. But a Committee may choose to place even greater emphasis on the judgment, skills and abilities of the player to read their line of play on the putting green by prohibiting the use of any materials for such a purpose. Model Local Rule G-12 "Rule 4.3a is modified in this way: During a round, a player must not use any written, printed, electronic or digital materials to help with reading their line of play for any stroke to be made from the putting green. Penalty for Breach of this Local Rule:
  • Penalty for first breach: General Penalty
  • Penalty for second breach: Disqualification.
H

Defining Who May Help or Give Advice to Players

H-1
Use of Caddie Prohibited or Required; Caddie Restrictions
Purpose. A Committee may choose to modify Rule 10.3 to
  • Prohibit the use of caddies,
  • Require players to use a caddie, or
  • Limit a player's choice of caddie (such as requiring the caddie to be an amateur, not allowing a parent, relative or another player in the competition, etc.).
Model Local Rule H-1.1 If caddies are not allowed: "A player must not have a caddie during the round. Penalty for Breach of Local Rule:
  • The player gets the general penalty for each hole during which they have a caddie.
  • If the breach happens or continues between two holes, the player gets the general penalty for the next hole."
Model Local Rule H-1.2 If there are limits on who the player may have as a caddie: "A player must not have [identify prohibited type of caddie for example, a parent or guardian] as their caddie during the round. Penalty for Breach of Local Rule:
  • The player gets the general penalty for each hole during which they are helped by such a caddie.
  • If the breach happens or continues between two holes, the player gets the general penalty for the next hole."
Model Local Rule H-1.3 If a player is required to have a caddie: "A player must have a caddie during the round. Penalty for Breach of Local Rule: The player gets the general penalty for each hole during which they do not have a caddie."
H-2
Appointment of Advice Giver in Team Competitions
Purpose. Under Rule 24.4a, in a team competition, including where there are both team and individual competitions, the Committee can allow each team to name one or two people who may give advice to team members while they are playing on the course:
  • Any “advice giver” must be identified to the Committee before giving advice.
  • The Committee can limit the types of advice that this person may give (such as not allowing the advice giver to point out the line of play when a ball lies on the putting green).
  • The Committee can prohibit an advice giver from walking on certain parts of the course (such as putting greens).
  • It is not normal for a Committee to allow two advice givers per team, unless the nature of the competition warrants it, for example in a competition where no caddies are permitted or there is a large number of players on each team.
  • The Committee should determine the appropriate penalty for a breach by an advice giver. This may be a penalty to a specific player who was assisted in a prohibited manner or an overall penalty for the team, for example the addition of two strokes to the team’s score in a stroke-play event.
Model Local Rule H-2 "Each team may name [one/two] advice giver[s] whom players on the team may ask for advice and receive advice from during the round. The team must identify each advice giver to the Committee before any player on the team begins their round.  [The team may change its advice giver during the round, but must tell the Committee when it is doing so.] [The advice giver must not point out a line of play [or walk on the putting green] when the ball of a team player lies on the putting green. Penalty for Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 10.2.]”
H-3
Restricting Who Can Be a Team Captain
Purpose. Under Rule 24.3, in a team competition the Committee can set limits on who may serve as a team captain and on the conduct of the team captain under Rule 24.4a. Where advice givers are allowed (see Model Local Rule H-2), the team captain may also be an advice giver. Model Local Rule H-3 "A team captain must be [insert eligibility restriction, such as a member of the same club]."
H-4
Treating Advice Giver as Part of the Player’s Side
Purpose. The Committee can provide that the advice giver has the same status as a member of the side to ensure the Rules of Golf apply to that person’s actions (such as the player getting a penalty under Rule 9.4 if the advice giver causes the player’s ball to move). Model Local Rule H-4 "The advice giver has the same status as a member of the side in relation to each member of their team."
H-5
Advice: Team Members in Same Group
Purpose. Under Rule 24.4c, in stroke play where a player's score for the round counts only as part of the team's score, the Committee can adopt a Local Rule allowing team members playing in the same group to give each other advice even if they are not partners. Model Local Rule H-5 "Rule 10.2 is modified in this way: Where players from the same team are playing together in the same group, those players may give advice to and ask for advice from each other during the round."
I

Defining When and Where Players May Practise

I-1
Practising Before Rounds
Purpose. Rule 5 covers practising on the course before, during and between competition rounds:
  • 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.
  • Match Play and Stroke Play (Rule 5.5b). After completing a hole and before starting the next hole, a player may putt or chip on or near the putting green of the hole just completed, the teeing area of the next hole or any practice green.
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 (such as preventing players from practice putting to future hole locations), the Committee may choose to prohibit such practice. The Committee may also prohibit players from putting or chipping on or near any practice green between the play of two holes.  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.
  • [Make any practice stroke on or near any practice green.]
Penalty for Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty."
J

Procedures for Bad Weather and Suspensions of Play

J-1
Methods for Suspending and Resuming Play
Purpose. Rule 5.7b requires players to stop playing immediately if the Committee declares an immediate suspension of play. The Committee should use a distinct method of telling players about an immediate suspension. The following signals are generally used, and it is recommended that all Committees use these signals where possible: Immediate Suspension: One prolonged note of the siren.
Normal Suspension: Three consecutive notes of the siren.
Resume Play: Two short notes of siren.
Model Local Rule J-1 "A suspension of play for a dangerous situation will be signalled by [insert signal to be used]. All other suspensions will be signalled by [insert signal to be used]. In either case, resumption of play will be signalled by [insert signal to be used]. See Rule 5.7b."
J-2
Removal of Temporary Water
Purpose. A Committee may adopt a Local Rule that clarifies what actions are appropriate for a Committee member, someone designated by the Committee (for example, a member of the maintenance staff), or player, to remove temporary water on the putting green. Model Local Rule J-2 "If a player's ball lies on the putting green and there is interference by temporary water on the putting green, the player may:
  • Take free relief under Rule 16.1d, or
  • Have their line of play squeegeed.
  • [Have the putting green squeegeed when a ball lies adjacent to the putting green in any area of the course,  but only when authorized by the Committee.]
Such squeegeeing should be done across the line of play and extend a reasonable distance beyond the hole (that is, at least one roller length) and only be carried out by [specify who may carry this out, for example the maintenance staff]."
K

Pace of Play Policies

To encourage and enforce prompt play, the Committee should adopt a Local Rule setting a Pace of Play Policy. The following Model Local Rules give some examples of how the Committee can choose to address the issue of Pace of Play. The Committee can adopt other Local Rules to suit the resources available to them and so these are not an exhaustive list. Other sample policies are available at RandA.org.
K-1
Maximum Time for All or Part of Round
Purpose. In competitions where there are few or no referees on the course, it may be desirable for the Committee to formulate a simple Local Rule that establishes a time limit that it considers adequate for players to complete the round and/or a certain number of holes. These time limits will vary depending on the numbers in groups and the form of play. If a group exceeds the prescribed time limit and is out of position on the course, each player in the group is subject to penalty. Model Local Rule K-1 "If a group finishes the round [or specify number of holes] more than the starting interval behind the group in front and over [specify time, for example, 3 hours 45 minutes] from the time of starting [or specify as required], all players in the group are subject to one penalty stroke [or specify as required]."
K-2
Hole-by-Hole and Shot-by-Shot Pace of Play Policy
Purpose. In competitions where there is an adequate number of referees on the course, the Committee can put a Pace of Play policy into effect that allows a set length of time for each hole, and then if players exceed that time, establishes a maximum time to play each stroke. The Model Local Rule below is an example of a policy for a stroke play competition where players will be individually timed when the group is out of position. A modified penalty structure which may be used in a pace of play policy is also detailed in Model Local Rule K-3. Options for Being Out of Position A group is out of position when it is over the allocated time for the holes that have been played and not in position with the group in front of them. When defining when a group is out of position the policy should specify when the group is considered out of position by reference to the group in front of them. The policy provided in Model Local Rule K-2 defines out of position as being when the group is more than the starting interval behind the group in front of them. Alternatively, the definition of out of position could be based on a group’s location on the course in relation to the group in front, for example:
  • All players in the group in front have played their strokes from the teeing area of the next hole before the group have reached the tee of a par 3, or
  • A par 4 or par 5 hole is clear of play before all players in the group have played their strokes from the teeing area.
Time for Making a Stroke When a group is being timed, each player must make their stroke within a specified time limit. The Committee may require all strokes to be made in the same amount of time or it may adopt the optional language shown below to allow an additional period of time for the first player to play from a specific area such as the teeing area or the putting green. Bad Times in Multiple Round Stroke Play Competitions For stroke play competitions over more than one round, the Committee may decide to carry bad times throughout the competition. For example, if a player gets a bad time under the Local Rule during the first round, the next bad time in a later round would be the second bad time and the penalty for a second bad time would apply. It would not be appropriate to carry bad times over from stroke play to match play or from one match to another in a match-play competition. Model Local Rule K-2 "Maximum Allowable Time The maximum allowable time is the maximum time considered necessary by the Committee for a group to complete its round. This is expressed in a per-hole and aggregate time format and includes all time associated with playing the game, for example, for rulings and walking times between holes. The maximum time allotted for the completion of 18 holes at [insert course name] is [insert maximum time, for example, 4 hours and 05 minutes]. The following procedure applies only if a group is "out of position". Definition of Out of Position The first group and any group after a starter’s gap will be considered "out of position" if, at any time during the round, the group's cumulative time exceeds the time allowed for the number of holes played. Any following group will be considered out of position if it is [specify when a group is out of position to the group in front of them (see examples above)] [and has exceeded the time allowed for the number of holes played]. Procedure When Group is Out of Position
  1. Referees will monitor pace of play and decide whether a group that is "out of position" should be timed. An assessment of whether there are any recent mitigating circumstances, for example, a lengthy ruling, lost ball, unplayable ball, etc. will be made. If a decision is made to time the players, each player in the group will be subject to individual timing and a referee will advise each player that they are "out of position" and they are being timed. In exceptional circumstances, an individual player, or two players within a group of three, may be timed instead of the entire group. 
  2. The maximum time allocated per stroke is [specify a time limit such as 40 seconds].[10 extra seconds are allowed for the first player to play: a) a tee shot on a par 3 hole; b) an approach shot to the green; and c) a chip or putt.] The timing will start when a player has had sufficient time to reach the ball, it is their turn to play and they are able to play without interference or distraction. Time taken to determine distance and select a club will count as time taken for the next stroke. On the putting green, timing will start when the player has had a reasonable amount of time to lift, clean and replace the ball, repair damage that interferes with the line of play and move loose impediments on the line of play. Time spent looking at the line of play from beyond the hole and/or behind the ball will count as part of the time taken for the next stroke. Timings will be taken from the moment it is decided by the referee that it is the player's turn to play and they are able to play without interference or distraction. Timing ceases when a group is back in position and players will be advised accordingly.
Penalty for Breach of Local Rule:
  • Penalty for first bad time: Verbal warning.
  • Penalty for second bad time: One penalty stroke.
  • Penalty for third bad time: General Penalty applied in addition to the penalty for the second bad time.
  • Penalty for fourth bad time: Disqualification.
A player will be assessed a bad time in breach of this Local Rule only when they have exceeded the maximum time allocated per stroke while being timed. Until a player has been advised of a bad time, they cannot incur a further bad time. Procedure When Again Out of Position During Same Round If a group is "out of position" more than once during a round, the above procedure will apply on each occasion. Bad times and the application of penalties in the same round will be carried forward until the round is completed." Additional Options for Inclusion in Model Local Rule K-2 The following are optional additions which have not been included in Model Local Rule K-2, but these can be incorporated by a Committee as required:
  • The definition of out of position may be amended to state that players must be given an official warning before being timed, for example to give the players at least a hole to improve their position.
  • The procedure for when a group is out of position may be amended to provide that players are allowed a reasonable time to calculate their yardage before the clock is started.
  • The procedure when again out of position during the same round may be amended to provide that any bad times carry over to the end of the stroke play rounds of the competition.
  • The policy may provide that at any time, if a player is observed by a referee to take longer than a specified time to play a shot (for example, 120 seconds), they will be notified of the excessive shot time and be timed, even although the group is in position.
K-3
Modified Pace of Play Penalty Structure
Purpose. A Committee may modify the penalty for a breach of any Pace of Play policy such that the penalty for a first bad time is one penalty stroke. The Committee may choose to apply the general penalty for a first bad time, instead of a one-stroke penalty. Model Local Rule K-3 "The penalty statement to Model Local Rule K-2 is modified in this way: Penalty for Breach of Local Rule:
  • Penalty for first bad time: One-stroke penalty.
  • Penalty for second bad time: General Penalty applied in addition to the penalty for the first bad time.
  • Penalty for third bad time: Disqualification."
L

Scorecard Responsibilities

L-1
Modification of Penalty Under Rule 3.3b(2) for Missing Player or Marker Certification
Purpose. Rule 3.3b(2) imposes a penalty of disqualification when the hole scores on the scorecard have not been certified by the player, the marker or both.  But in situations where the Committee feels it is more appropriate to modify the penalty to two strokes, it may choose to do so. Model Local Rule L-1 Rule 3.3b(2) is modified in this way: If a player returns a scorecard without the hole scores being certified either by the player, the marker or both, the player gets the general penalty (two penalty strokes). The penalty applies to the last hole of the player’s round.”
L-2
Making Player Responsible for Handicap on Scorecard
Purpose. Rule 3.3b(4) states that there is no requirement for a player’s handicap to be shown on the scorecard and that it is the Committee’s responsibility to calculate the player’s handicap strokes for the competition in order to calculate the player’s net score. But in some circumstances, it can be difficult for the Committee to calculate players’ handicaps, for example, where the Committee does not have a computer system to help with the administration of the competition or where they do not have access to a database of player handicaps.  In such situations, the Committee may choose to modify Rule 3.3b(4) to require players to show their handicap on the scorecard. Depending on the handicap system operating in the local jurisdiction, the Committee may need to specify which handicap must be shown on the scorecard. Model Local Rule L-2 Rule 3.3b(4) is modified in this way: The player is responsible for showing their handicap [specify what handicap is to be shown, for example, handicap index, course handicap, playing handicap] on the scorecard. Once the Committee receives the scorecard from the player at the end of their round, the Committee is responsible for:
  • Adding up the player’s scores, and
  • Applying the player’s handicap strokes to calculate the player’s net score.
If the player returns a scorecard without the right handicap:
  • Handicap on Scorecard Too High or No Handicap Shown. If this affects the number of strokes the player gets, the player is disqualified from the handicap competition. If it does not, there is no penalty.
  • Handicap on Scorecard Too Low. There is no penalty and the player’s net score stands using the lower handicap as shown.”
M

Model Local Rules for Players With Disabilities

M-1
Placing the Ball for Players Using Wheeled Mobility Devices
Purpose. The function of some wheeled mobility devices creates a situation where the player’s stance (based on where the device is first positioned) cannot be promptly and consistently taken in relation to where the ball comes to rest. This Local Rule can be adopted by the Committee to assist a player who uses a wheeled mobility device so that they do not have to reposition the device multiple times to achieve the desired set-up position. This Local Rule may be applied anywhere on the course, including the putting green, the general area, penalty areas and bunkers. It is not the purpose of this Local Rule to impact on the decision that a player using a wheeled mobility device needs to take in relation to safety (such as positioning the device on steeply sloped ground). In such situations, other relief Rules (such as unplayable relief under Rule 19 or penalty area relief under Rule 17) may be applied. Model Local Rule M-1 “Before making a stroke, a player using a wheeled mobility device may take free relief by placing the original ball or another ball in and playing it from this relief area:
  • Reference Point: Spot of the original ball.
  • Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: 6 inches from the reference point, which may be nearer the hole, but with these limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area:
    • Must be in the same area of the course and
    • Must not be in an area of grass cut to fairway height or less unless the original ball came to rest in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less (this means, for example, that a ball in the rough may not be placed in the fairway).
When taking relief under this Local Rule, the player is allowed to place a ball more than once (such as when the first attempt to place a ball is slightly too far back in their stance). Exception – No Relief When Clearly Unreasonable to Play Ball. Relief is not available under this Local Rule when playing the ball as it lies would be clearly unreasonable (such as when the ball has come to rest in a bush and it is in such a position where the player would be unable to make a stroke). Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.
M-2
Free Relief from Specified Bunkers for Players Using Wheeled Mobility Devices
Purpose. The design and shape of certain bunkers create a situation where it is very hard or virtually impossible for a player in a wheeled mobility device to get in and/or out of the bunker to play their ball.  Rule 25.4n modifies Rule 19.3 so that when a player with a wheeled mobility device takes relief for an unplayable ball in a bunker, the player may take back-on-the-line relief outside that bunker for one penalty stroke. But, particularly in competitions involving only players using wheeled mobility devices, if a Committee feels that it would be appropriate to give free relief from certain bunkers or all bunkers on a course, it may do so. Model Local Rule M-2 “For players who use wheeled mobility devices, [identify specific bunker(s) or all bunkers on the course] are ground under repair in the general area. The player may take relief under Rule 16.1b.”
M-3
Limited Exemption from Rule 10.1b (Anchoring the Club) for Players with Ataxia or Athetosis
Purpose. Players with ataxia or athetosis resulting in severe jerking and/or shaking movements can find it almost impossible to putt without being able to use some form of anchored stroke. These conditions particularly impact on putting due to the minimal movement involved in making such a stroke when combined with the extreme body movements that are a symptom of the conditions. This Local Rule allows a Committee to exempt such players from penalty under Rule 10.1b (Anchoring the Club) provided the following three requirements are met:
  • The player holds a WR4GD pass or EDGA Access pass,
  • The player has ataxia or athetosis, and
  • The Committee determines that there is clear evidence that the condition significantly and negatively impacts the player’s ability to putt (for example, the player regularly takes 50 or more putts per round
Model Local Rule M-3 “Where the Committee has determined that there is clear evidence that a player’s ability to putt is significantly and negatively impacted by ataxia or athetosis, and the player holds a WR4GD pass or EDGA Access pass, that player is exempt from penalty under Rule 10.1b (Anchoring the Club).”
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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 it 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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