Purpose. A dropping zone is a special form of relief area that may be adopted by the Committee. When taking relief in a dropping zone, the player must drop the ball in and have it come to rest in the dropping zone. Dropping zones should be considered when there may be practical problems in requiring players to use the normal relief options under a Rule, such as:
Model Local Rules E-5 - Alternative to Stroke and Distance for Ball Lost or Ball Out of Bounds or F-23 - Temporary Immovable Obstructions.
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.
See Section 2I for additional information regarding dropping zones.Model Local Rule E-1.1This Model Local Rule covers the example of a dropping zone used as an extra option for taking relief from a penalty area, but it may be adapted for any other Rule mentioned above."If a ball is in the penalty area [identify location], including when it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found came to rest in the penalty area, the player has these relief options, each forone penalty stroke:
As an extra option, 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 PenaltyUnderRule 14.7a."Model Local Rule E-1.2This 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, but it may be adapted for any other Rule mentioned above."If a 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 came to rest in the ground under repair, the player may:
As an extra option, 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 PenaltyUnderRule 14.7a."Model Local Rule E-1.3This 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 ball is in the penalty area [identify location], including when it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found came to rest in the penalty area, the player may:
Take stroke-and-distance relief under Rule 17.1d(1), addingone penalty stroke, or
Drop the original ball or another ball in the dropping zone [describe how the dropping zone is defined and where located], addingone penalty stroke. 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."
Purpose. When conditions such as wet ground conditions throughout parts of the course may cause mud to stick to the ball, the Committee can choose to allow the player to 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 advisable 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 could 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 scores to be submitted for handicapping purposes (for example, if it must be limited to fairway only), consult the rules or recommendations contained within the Handicap System operating 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 before lifting the ball (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 PenaltyUnderRule 14.7a."
Purpose. When occasional local 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" (also known as "winter rules") to allow fair play or help protect the fairway. 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).It is not authorised to implement this Local Rule 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 could 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 scores to be submitted for handicapping 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 Handicap System operating in the local jurisdiction.Model Local Rule E-3"When a player's ball lies in a 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.Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule:General PenaltyUnderRule 14.7a."
Relief from Aeration Holes
Purpose. Aeration holes do not fall within the meaning of holes made by the maintenance staff. Therefore players are not permitted to repair them on the putting green (see Rule 13.1c) or take free relief from them in the general area, 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 recent aeration holes may significantly interfere with the lie of the ball or area of intended swing, the Committee can choose to give relief as it would for ground under repair but exclude relief for interference to the player's stance. 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, 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 PenaltyUnderRule 14.7a."
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 for 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 scores to be submitted for handicapping purposes, consult the rules or recommendations contained within the Handicap System operating 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 can be 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.Fortwo 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 area of grass in the general area that is 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 that was lost or out of bounds 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 PenaltyUnder Rule 14.7a."
MLR E-5 DIAGRAM 3: BALL NOT FOUND OR OUT OF BOUNDS CLOSE TO GREEN
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 dropping zones to give a player an extra relief option without penalty when he or she is 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 the 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 to ensure that this relief will be available only for situations where they believe 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 allowed only 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."
Relief from Electric Boundary Fence
Purpose. Where an electric fence is used as a boundary fence, a Local Rule providing free relief for a ball lying within a certain distance (for example, two club-lengths) of the boundary fence is permitted. In these circumstances, to ensure the safety of the player, the player can measure the two club-lengths from the fence and has an additional club-length in which to drop the ball no nearer the hole than where the ball originally lay.It is not otherwise authorized to introduce a Local Rule providing free relief from a boundary fence even if the Committee's reasons for doing so are to protect the fence from any damage.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)], he or she may, without penalty, take relief under Rule 16.1, using as the reference point the point that is [specify distance, such as two club-lengths] from the fence and an equal distance from the hole.Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule:General PenaltyUnderRule 14.7a."
Defining No Play Zones
Purpose. There may be some parts of the course where the Committee wishes to prohibit play, in which case each area must be treated as either within 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 green stakes] [specify where it is located, e.g. on the right of the fairway on hole 8] is a no play zone that is to be treated as an abnormal course condition. Free 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, for example, with green stakes] [specify where it is located, for example, on the right of the fairway on hole 8] is a no play zone. When a ball is in the no play zone within the penalty area, the ball must not be played as it lies and relief must be taken from interference by the no play zone under Rule 17.1e."
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 his or her area of intended stance is in the no play zone which is out of bounds or if his or her swing touches something that is in the no play zone.Model Local Rule E-9"The [identify the area out of bounds that is to be treated as a no play zone] is a no play zone and the player must take free relief under Rule 16.1f(2) if his or her 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 PenaltyUnderRule 14.7a."
Protection of Young Trees
Purpose. To prevent damage to young trees when a player makes a stroke, a Committee can choose to designate them as a no play zone 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, he or she must take relief under Rule 16.1f.
If the player's ball lies in a penalty area, he or she must either take free relief under the Local Rule within the penalty area or proceed with penalty under Rule 17.1.
Such trees should be identified by stakes, ribbons 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 stake or ribbon from the tree.Model Local Rule E-10"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 stance or area of intended swing, the player must take relief under Rule 16.1f.
If the ball lies in a penalty area, and interference to the player's stance or area of intended swing exists from such a tree, the player must take relief either with penalty under Rule 17.1e or with free relief under Rule 17.1e(2).
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule:General PenaltyUnderRule 14.7a."
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 should not be implemented.Model Local Rule E-11"If it is known or virtually certain that a player's ball hit a power line [or tower or a wire or pole supporting a power line] during the play of [specify hole number], the stroke does not count. The player must play a ball without penalty from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6 for what to do).Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule:General PenaltyUnderRule 14.7a."
Clarification: Ball Played from Outside Relief Area When Taking Back-On-the-Line Relief
Clarification added - 4/2019Purpose. A Committee may choose to introduce a Local Rule to provide for no penalty in specific circumstances when a ball is played from outside the relief area after taking back-on-the-line relief.Under this Local Rule, a player will not be penalized for playing from a wrong place so long as the ball is dropped in the relief area and comes to rest within one club-length of where it first touched the ground.For example, a ball rolls slightly forward of the reference point after having been dropped in the right way and in the relief area, but is still within one club-length of where it first touched the ground when dropped. In such cases, the player can either proceed under Rule 14.3c(2) or the player can play the ball from where it came to rest.This Local Rule is for use only in relation to the Back-On-the-Line relief procedure.Model Local Rule E-12"When taking Back-On-the-Line relief, there is no additional penalty if a player plays a ball that was dropped in the relief area required by the relevant Rule (Rule 16.1c(2), 17.1d(2), 19.2b or 19.3b) but came to rest outside the relief area, so long as the ball, when played, is within one club-length of where it first touched the ground when dropped.This exemption from penalty applies even if the ball is played from nearer the hole than the reference point (but not if played from nearer the hole than the spot of the original ball or the estimated point where the ball last crossed the edge of the penalty area).This Local Rule does not change the procedure for taking Back-On-the-Line relief under a relevant Rule. This means that the reference point and relief area are not changed by this Local Rule and that Rule 14.3c(2) can be applied by a player who drops a ball in the right way and it comes to rest outside the relief area, whether this occurs on the first or second drop."
The Rules of Golf define the Committee as the person or group in charge of a competition or the course. The Committee is essential to the proper playing of the game. Committees have the responsibility of running the course on a day-to-day basis or for a specific competition and they should always act in ways that support the Rules of Golf. This part of the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf provides guidance to Committees in fulfilling this role.While many of the duties of a Committee are specific to running organized competitions, an important part of the Committee's duties relates to its responsibility for the course during general or every day play.
Marking the course and refreshing those markings as needed is an ongoing task for which the Committee is responsible.A well-marked course allows a player to play by the Rules and helps to eliminate confusion for players. For example, a player may not know how to proceed if a pond (penalty area) is not marked or if he or she is unable to determine if a ball is in bounds or out of bounds.
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 principles found in Section 8. The Committee needs to make sure that any Local Rules are available for players to see, whether on the scorecard, a separate handout, a notice board or the course's website.Local Rules that may be adopted for general play fall into the following general categories:
Defining Course Boundaries and other Areas of the Course (Sections 8A-8D),
Defining Special or Required Relief Procedures (Section 8E), and
Defining Abnormal Course Conditions and Integral Objects (Section 8F).
The Committee should also take note of Section 8L - Unauthorized Local Rules.A full listing of Model Local Rules can be found at the start of Section 8.See Section 5C for other types of Local Rules that are more commonly adopted for competitions than for general play.
The resources available to a Committee will differ depending on the course or the level of competition being run and so a Committee may not be able to implement all of the suggested practices. Where this is the case, the Committee will need to decide its priorities for each competition.The period before the competition begins is arguably the most important in terms of preparation to ensure the smooth running of the competition. The Committee's duties during this period include:
Terms of the Competition determine the structure of each competition including who may enter, how to enter, what the schedule and format of the competition will be and how ties will be decided. It is the responsibility of the Committee to:
Set clear and concise terms for each competition.
Make these terms available to players in advance of the competition.
Interpret the terms should any questions arise.
Other than in exceptional circumstances, the Committee should avoid altering the Terms of the Competition once the competition has started .It is the responsibility of each player to know and follow the Terms of the Competition.Sample wording of Terms of the Competition can be found at RandA.org.
When preparing for a competition, the Committee should make sure that the course is properly marked and refresh any markings that might be used for general play, or change them if necessary. While there typically is no one "right" way to mark a course, failing to mark it properly or at all can lead to situations where a player is unable to proceed under the Rules or the Committee will be forced to make decisions while play is ongoing that might result in players being treated differently.Section 2 provides detailed guidance and recommendations on how to mark the course for general play, but it also applies equally to competitions and should be referenced by the Committee when preparing for competitions.Where changes are made to the course's marking for a competition, the Committee should ensure these are clearly communicated to any players who regularly play the course so that they are not confused and inadvertently proceed incorrectly.In addition to the information in Section 2, the Committee may wish to consider the following items:
The Committee is responsible for deciding whether to adopt any Local Rules and for making sure they are consistent with the principles found in Section 8. 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 needs to make sure that any Local Rules are available for players to see, whether on the scorecard, a separate handout, a notice board or the course's website.When considering adopting a Local Rule, the Committee should keep in mind the following:
Local Rules have the same status as a Rule of Golf for that competition or course, and
The use of Local Rules should be limited as much as possible and be used only to deal with the types of situations and policies covered in Section 8.
A full list of authorized of Model Local Rules can be found at the start of Section 8.Local Rules that may be adopted for competitions fall into the following general categories:
Defining Course Boundaries and other Areas of the Course (Sections 8A-8D),
The Committee should also take note of Section 8L - Unauthorized Local Rules.Modified Rules of Golf for Players with DisabilitiesA set of Modified Rules is available for players with disabilities. The Modified Rules only apply if adopted by the Committee and they do not automatically apply to every competition involving players with disabilities.It is up to each Committee to decide whether to adopt any of the Modified Rules for players with disabilities who are taking part in a competition.The goal of the Modified Rules is to allow a player with a disability to play fairly with players who have no disabilities, the same disability or different types of disabilities.See the Modified Rules for Players with Disabilities for further information and guidance.
Many courses have specific practice areas, such as a practice range and practice greens for putting, bunker play and chipping. Players are permitted to practise in these areas, whether they are inside or outside the boundaries of the course. It is recommended that practice areas that are located on the course be specified in the Local Rules to clarify whether players may practise on those areas before and after their rounds. The Committee may need to define the edges of these areas to limit where players may practise.The Committee may also change the permissions in relation to when and where practice is allowed as follows:
A Local Rule may allow practice on limited and defined parts of the course, for example where there is no permanent practice ground. But, where this applies, it is recommended that players not be allowed to practise on any putting greens or from any bunkers on the course.
A Local Rule may allow practice on the course in general, for example:
If the competition starts late in the day and the Committee does not want to restrict players from playing the course earlier in the day, or
If there has been a suspension of play and it would be more efficient to allow players to hit a few shots from somewhere on the course as opposed to bringing them back to the practice range.
Rule 5.2 covers when practice is allowed or prohibited before or between rounds in a competition, but the Committee may adopt a Local Rule to modify those provisions (see Model Local Rule I-1).
Rule 5.5 gives the Committee the option to adopt a Local Rule to prohibit practice on or around the putting green of the hole just completed (see Model Local Rule I-2).
The Committee can set its own Pace of Play Policy adopted as a Local Rule (see Rule 5.6b). In practice the nature of such a Policy will be dependent on the number of Committee members available to implement it (see Section 8K).Pace of Play Policies may contain:
A maximum time to complete a round, a hole or series of holes or a stroke.
A definition of when the first group is out of position and when each other group is out of position in relation to the group playing ahead of it.
When and how a group or individual players may be monitored or timed.
If and when players may be warned that they are being timed or have had a bad time.
The penalty structure for breaches of the Policy.
The Committee is responsible for making sure that a competition is played at a prompt pace of play. What is considered a prompt pace can be different based on the course, size of the entry and number of players in each group. To do this:
The Committee should adopt a Local Rule setting a Pace of Play Policy (see Rule 5.6b).
Such a Policy should at least set a maximum time for completing the round or parts of the round.
The Policy should stipulate any penalties for a player’s failure to comply with the Policy.
The Committee should also be aware of other actions that they can take to have a positive impact on pace of play. These include:
Management practices such as reducing group sizes, increasing starting intervals and introducing starter’s gaps.
Considering fundamental changes to course set up such as widening fairways, reducing the thickness or length of rough, or reducing the speed of greens. When changes such as these are made to the course, the Committee should consult the rules or recommendations contained within the Handicap System operating in the local jurisdiction to assess the impact on the issued Course Rating and follow the procedures to make any necessary adjustments.
The Committee may set its own standards of player conduct in a Code of Conduct adopted as a Local Rule (see Rule 1.2b). If the Committee does not set a Code of Conduct, it is restricted in penalizing players for inappropriate conduct to using Rule 1.2a. The only penalty available for an act that is contrary to the spirit of the game under that Rule is disqualification (see Section 5H(4) for more information).
Before starting the round, players should be provided with all the information they need to be able to play the course under the Rules.In stroke play, each player should be given a scorecard and, in net competitions such as Stableford, Maximum Score or Four-Ball, this should include the handicap stroke index allocation as set by the Committee.When the Committee has prepared additional documents, it should make them available to players before the round, and if possible before players arrive at the first tee so that they have a reasonable amount of time to read them. These could include:
Pace of Play Policy.
Code of Conduct.
Depending on the resources available to them, the Committee may choose to make the documents available in a single location for players to read, for example on a notice board or website. Otherwise they may be provided as hand-outs to players before they start their round.When resources allow, the Committee should have a starter at the starting tee to ensure the players have all the information they require and that they start on time.When the time comes for starting the group, the starter should start the first player at the time assigned. If this is not possible due to the location of the group in front (such as when they are delayed by a ball search), the actual time of starting should be noted so that the Committee can use that information when applying a pace of play policy.The Committee should adopt a consistent method for handling situations when players may be late in arriving at their first tee. This may include having Committee members or others attempt to locate the missing players or having a countdown in front of other players who are present so that it is clear to all when the player is late. It is good practice to have a clock set to the official time close to the tee and for all officials to set their watches to the same time.
Where a Pace of Play policy is in place for a competition, it is important the Committee understands and actively enforces the policy to ensure that players adhere to the policy and play proceeds in an orderly manner.For more information and example polices, see Model Local Rule Section 8K.
This section lists authorized Model Local Rules that may be used by a Committee:
These can either be adopted in their entirety or can serve as an example of how to write a particular type of Local Rule.
Local Rules are authorized only if they are consistent with the policies established in this section.
A Committee is encouraged to use the recommended text if it fits the local situation to minimize the number of times a player will find different versions of the same Local Rule at different courses or in different competitions.
The Committee should ensure that the Local Rules are made available to the players whether on the scorecard, through a Notice to Players or in some other way.
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.
Unless otherwise stated the penalty for a breach of a Local Rule should be the general penalty.
Principles for establishing Local Rules:
Local Rules have the same status as a Rule of Golf for that competition or course.
Committees are encouraged to use Local Rules only to deal with the types of situations and policies covered in this section and in Section 5.
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.
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 within the parameters allowed by the Model Local Rule and consistent with the stated purpose.
In order to ensure that play is conducted in accordance with the Rules of Golf, a Committee must not use a Local Rule to waive or modify the Rules of Golf simply because it might prefer a Rule to be different.
As a general principle, when a player is playing a round that is to be posted for handicapping purposes, he or she is required to play it under the Rules of Golf. If the Committee authorizes players to play in ways that differ significantly from the Rules of Golf, the player may not be permitted to post the score for handicap purposes. For allowable exceptions, consult the rules or recommendations contained within the Handicap System operating in the local jurisdiction.
If the Committee believes that a Local Rule not covered by these principles may be needed because of local abnormal conditions that interfere with fair play, it should:
Consult RandA.org to check if any additional Model Local Rule is available to cover such a condition, or
Consult The R&A directly.
The Model Local Rules in each category are numbered in order – for example, A-1, A-2, etc.A statement of purpose is given with each Model Local Rule. If a Committee changes the wording of a Model Local Rule to fit the particular needs of the course or competition, it should make sure that such changes are consistent with the stated purpose.These Model Local Rules are organized in the following categories:A. Out of Bounds and Course BoundariesB. Penalty AreasC. BunkersD. Putting GreensE. Special or Required Relief ProceduresF. Abnormal Course Conditions and Integral ObjectsG. Restrictions on Use of Specific EquipmentH. Defining Who May Help or Give Advice to PlayersI. Defining When and Where Players May PractiseJ. Procedures for Bad Weather and Suspensions of PlayK. Pace of Play PoliciesThese Model Local Rules cover those situations or issues that arise often enough to justify having a model form. For all other situations where a Local Rule is allowed but model language is not provided, the Committee should write the Local Rule in clear and simple terms. But the Committee is not authorized to write Local Rules which go against the principles in the Rules of Golf. Section 8L gives more information regarding the use of unauthorized Local Rules.Where a Local Rule is written using the language of the Model Local Rules in this section, the Committee may seek assistance in interpreting the Local Rule from The R&A.
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.
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, any Local Rules that it chooses to put in place must be consistent with the policies established in Section 8, Model Local Rules.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, it is inappropriate for a Committee to write an unauthorized Local Rule that waives a penalty or changes a penalty. For example, a Committee cannot change the penalty for using a non-conforming club from disqualification to the general penalty or change the general penalty for failing to replace a ball which was moved to a single stroke. The Committee must not impose penalties when the Rules do not impose them, for example, penalizing a player who failed to total his or her score on the scorecard in stroke play.In addition, Committees must not write a Local Rule that goes beyond the authorized Local Rules in ways which compromise the basic principles of the Rules of Golf. As examples, allowing players to use preferred lies throughout the general area or giving free relief from divot holes in the fairway compromise the basic principle under Rule 1.1 of playing the ball as it lies.As a general principle, when a player is playing a round that is to be posted for handicapping purposes, he or she is required to play that round under the Rules of Golf. If the Committee authorizes players to play under Local Rules that differ significantly from the Rules of Golf, the player may not be permitted to post the score for handicapping purposes. For allowable exceptions, consult the rules or recommendations contained within the Handicap System operating in the local jurisdiction.If the Committee believes that a Local Rule not covered by the policies established in Section 8 may be needed because of local abnormal conditions that interfere with fair play, it should:
Consult RandA.org to check if any additional Model Local Rule is available to cover such a condition or situation, or
The most established forms of match play, stroke play and partner and team play are detailed in Rules 1–24. This section outlines various alternative forms of play. Detailed modifications to Rules 1–24 that are required for these formats are detailed at RandA.org.