The R&A - Working for Golf
Defining Practice Areas
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Section 5C
Section 5E
Defining Practice Areas

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).