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.
The Committee may make Terms of the Competition that restrict who is eligible to play in the competition.Gender RequirementsA competition may be limited to players of a specific gender.Age LimitsA competition may be limited to players within a specific age range. If so, it is important to specify the date on which the players must be of age . Some examples are:
For a junior competition where players must not be older than 18, the Terms of the Competition might state that a player must be 18 or younger on the first day of the year or another date such as the final scheduled day of the competition.
For a senior competition where players must be 55 or older, the Terms of the Competition might state that a player must have reached his or her 55th birthday on or before the first day of the competition.
Amateur or Professional StatusA competition may be limited to just amateurs, just professionals or allow all players. When a competition is open to anyone, the Committee should ensure that amateurs properly identify themselves and waive their right to any prize money in advance of the competition.Handicap LimitsThe Committee may set restrictions and/or limits on the handicaps eligible for entry or use in a competition. These may include:
Setting upper or lower limits on handicaps.
In team formats, such as Foursomes or Four-Ball:
Limiting the maximum difference between partners’ handicaps. The Committee may also choose to reduce the handicap for the player with the higher handicap to meet the requirement, or
Limiting the maximum total handicaps of partners. The Committee may also choose to reduce the handicap for one or both players to meet the requirement.
For a competition that is played over multiple rounds during which a player’s handicap may change, specifying whether each player will play the entire competition with the handicap as at the first day of the competition or if the player will use his or her revised handicap for each round.
Residence and Membership StatusThe Committee may limit entry to players who reside in or were born in a specific county, state, country or other geographic area . It may also require that all players are members of a specific club, organization or golf union.
Entry Requirements and Dates
The way to enter the competition and the starting and ending dates for entry should be specified.Examples include:
Method of entry, such as completing an online entry form, returning an entry form by mail or entering names on a sheet any time before the player's start time.
How and when any entry fee is to be paid.
When entries must be received. The Committee can stop accepting entries on a specific date or allow players to enter up to the day of the event.
The procedure to be used in determining the field when the competition is oversubscribed, such as accepting entries in the order received, through a qualifier or based on lowest handicaps.
Format, Including Handicap Allowance
The following points in relation to the format of the competition should be specified where required:
Dates of play or, if it is a match play event over a long period of time, the final date by which each match must be completed.
Form of play (for example, match play, stroke play or stroke play going into match play).
Number and order of holes in a round.
Number of rounds, including whether there will be a cut.
If there is to be a cut, when it will be made, if ties for the final position will be broken and how many players will continue play in later rounds.
Which teeing areas are to be used.
Stroke index allocation, such as the order of holes at which handicap strokes are to be given or received.
If there will be multiple flights or draws and how they will be organized, see Section 5F(1).
What prizes will be awarded (including any eligibility restrictions). For competitions involving amateur golfers, the Committee should ensure that prizes for those amateurs are in line with those allowed under the Rules of Amateur Status and that amateurs waive in advance their right to cash prizes or prizes which may exceed the limits.
Terms for Other Forms of Play
Alternative Scoring MethodsWhen the form of play is Stableford, Maximum Score or Par/Bogey, the Terms of the Competition may need to specify certain aspects in relation to how points will be scored, or the maximum number of strokes that a player can score on each hole.StablefordStableford is a form of stroke play where points are awarded to a player for each hole by comparing the player's score to the fixed target score for the hole. The fixed target score is par unless the Committee sets a different fixed score (see Rule 21.1b).If the Committee decides to set a different fixed target score, it may set it in the Terms of the Competition as bogey, birdie, or some other fixed score.Maximum ScoreWhen the form of play is Maximum Score, the Terms of the Competition should specify the maximum number of strokes a player can score on each hole (see Rule 21.2).The maximum may be set in one of the following ways:
Relative to par, such as two times par,
A fixed number, such as 8, 9 or 10, or
With reference to the player's handicap, for example net double bogey.
When considering what maximum to set for a Maximum Score competition, the Committee should consider the following:
The maximum par for the holes being played. For example, for a par 3 course it may be appropriate to set the maximum score per hole to be a fixed score of 6; however if there are par 5's on a course then it would not be appropriate to have a fixed score as low as 6.
The standard of the golfers taking part. For example, for a beginners' competition the maximum score should give the players a reasonable opportunity to complete the holes but be at a level to encourage players to pick up when they have had real difficulty on the hole.
Whether scores are to be submitted for handicapping purposes. Where the Committee wants a competition to count for handicapping purposes, the maximum hole score should not be set lower than net double bogey.
Par/BogeyWhen the form of play is Par/Bogey, the Terms of the Competition should specify the fixed score against which the player's score on a hole is compared to determine whether the player wins or loses a hole. For a Par competition, the fixed score would normally be par, and for a Bogey competition the fixed score would normally be bogey (one over par).Other Forms of PlayThere are many other forms of play such as Scrambles and Greensomes. See Section 9 and/or RandA.org for more information on these and other forms of play.Team CompetitionsWhen the form of play involves a team competition, the Committee should consider if additional Terms of the Competition are required . Examples include:
If tied matches will be acceptable or if they must be played until a winner is determined.
The number of points awarded for winning or tying a match.
If some matches are completed while others cannot be completed on the arranged day due to poor light or weather, the Terms of the Competition should clarify how the completed and incomplete matches will be treated. For example, the Committee could count completed matches to stand as played and incomplete matches to be treated as a tie or replayed on a later date. Or, that all matches are to be replayed, and each team is free to alter its original team.
If any remaining matches will be played to a conclusion once a team has won the match or competition.
In stroke play:
The number of scores to count in each team's total score.
If the scores to be counted will be based on 18 holes or on a hole-by-hole basis.
How a tie in the overall competition will be decided, for example by a play-off, a method of matching scores or considering discarded scores.
When Scorecard Has Been Returned
In stroke play, Rule 3.3b holds players responsible for ensuring the accuracy of their hole scores and promptly returning the scorecard to the Committee at the completion of the round.The Committee should tell players where the scorecards should be returned, have someone available to resolve any potential issues the players might have with the Rules and validate the scores.When possible, a quiet, private area should be provided for players to use in checking the validity of the scores on their scorecards, speaking with a member of the Committee, if needed, and returning their scorecards.Specify When Scorecard Is Considered ReturnedThe Committee should specify when the scorecard is considered returned. Options include:
Defining the scoring area and allowing a player to make alterations on his or her scorecard up until he or she has left that scoring area. This would mean that, even if the player has handed the scorecard to a referee or recorder, changes could still be made while the player is in the area.
Providing a box for the player to deposit the scorecard, in which case it is considered returned as soon as the player places it in the box. This approach might not give a player as much protection from returning an incorrect scorecard, but it may be the best method when limited resources are available or many players are finishing at the same time (for example, when there is a shotgun start).
Requesting Players to Provide Other Information on ScorecardsThe Committee may request that players assist the Committee by completing scorecard related tasks that are the Committee's responsibility. The Committee must not apply a penalty to a player under the Rules of Golf if he or she fails to comply with these requests or makes a mistake in doing so, but the Committee may provide a disciplinary sanction for a player who fails repeatedly to comply with such a request. For example, the Committee may ask players to:
Total the scores or, in a Four-Ball competition, determine the score that counts for the side.
Enter the points scored for each hole on the scorecard in Stableford.
Enter whether the hole was won, lost or tied in Par/Bogey.
Enter specific details on the scorecard such as name, date and name of the competition.
Similarly, the Committee may request that players assist the Committee by entering their scores into a computer system at the end of the round, but a player should not be penalized under the Rules of Golf if he or she fails to comply with this request or makes a mistake in doing so. But the Committee may provide a disciplinary sanction, for example in a Code of Conduct, for a player who fails repeatedly to comply with such a request.
How Ties Will Be Decided
In match play and stroke play, the Terms of the Competition can be used to alter the way in which ties are decided.Match PlayIf a match is tied after the final hole, the match is extended one hole at a time until there is a winner (see Rule 3.2a(4)), unless the Terms of the Competition state otherwise.The Terms of the Competition should specify if the match may end in a tie or if the play-off method will differ from that specified in Rule 3.2a(4). Options include the following:
The match ends in a tie,
The match will be extended starting at a specific hole other than the first hole, or
There will be a play-off over a fixed number of holes (for example, 9 or 18 holes).
In a handicap match, the stroke index allocation as set by the Committee should be used to determine where handicap strokes should be given or received in extra holes unless the Terms of the Competition state otherwise.A tie in a match should not be decided by a stroke-play play-off.Stroke PlayThe Terms of the Competition should specify whether a competition may end in a tie, or if there will be a play-off or matching of scorecards to determine the winner and other finishing positions.A tie in stroke play should not be decided by a match.Play-off in Stroke PlayIf there is to be a play-off in stroke play, the Terms of the Competition should set the following:
When the play-off will be held, for example if it will start at a specific time, as soon as possible after the last group finishes or on a later date.
Which holes will be used for the play-off.
The number of holes over which the play-off will be played, for example, if it will be a hole-by-hole play-off or over a longer period such as 2, 4 or 18 holes, and what to do if it there is still a tie after that.
In the regular form of stroke play, if a play-off for a handicap competition is over fewer than 18 holes, the number of holes played should be used to determine the number of strokes to be deducted. For example, if a play-off is over one hole, one-eighteenth of the handicaps should be deducted from the scores for the play-off hole. Handicap stroke fractions should be applied in accordance with the rules or recommendations contained within the Handicap System operating in the local jurisdiction.
For play-offs for net competitions where the stroke index allocation is used, such as Four-Ball, Par/Bogey or Stableford competitions, handicap strokes should be applied during the play-off holes as they were assigned for the competition, using the stroke index allocation.
Players are only required to return a scorecard for the play-off if the Committee issues them to the players.
Matching Scorecards (Also Known as a Scorecard Count-Back)If a play-off is not feasible or desired, the Terms of the Competition may specify that any ties will be decided by matching scorecards. Even when the winner of a competition is to be decided by a play-off, other positions in the competition may be decided by matching scorecards. The method of matching scorecards should also provide for what will happen if this procedure does not produce a winner.One method of matching scorecards is to determine the winner based on the best score for the last round. If the tying players have the same score for the last round or if the competition consisted of a single round, determine the winner based on the score for the last nine holes, last six holes, last three holes and finally the 18th hole. If there is still a tie, then the last six holes, three holes and final hole of the first nine holes will be considered in turn. If the round is less than 18 holes, the number of holes used in matching scores may be adjusted.If this process does not result in a winner, the Committee could consider the competition a tie, or alternatively could decide the winner by chance (such as tossing a coin).Matching scorecards is also known as a card count-back or a scorecard play-off.Additional Considerations:
If this method is used in a competition with a multiple tee start, it is recommended that the "last nine holes, last six holes, etc." are holes 10-18, 13-18, etc.
For net competitions where the stroke index allocation as set by the Committee is not used, such as individual stroke play, if the last nine, last six, last three holes scenario is used, one-half, one-third, one-sixth, etc. of the handicaps should be deducted from the score for those holes. Handicap stroke fractions should be applied in accordance with the rules or recommendations contained within the Handicap System operating in the local jurisdiction.
In net competitions where the stroke index allocation as set by the Committee is used, such as Four-Ball stroke play, Par/Bogey or Stableford competitions, handicap strokes should be applied consistently with how they were applied for the competition.
When the Result of the Competition Is Final
It is important for the Committee to clarify in the Terms of the Competition when and how the result of the competition is final as this will affect how the Committee will resolve any Rules issues that occur after play is complete in both match play and stroke play (see Rule 20).Match PlayExamples of when the Terms of the Competition may state that the result of a match is final include:
When the result is recorded on an official scoreboard or other identified place, or
When the result is reported to a person identified by the Committee.
When a match is determined to be final once the result is recorded on an official scoreboard, the Committee may take responsibility for recording the winner's name on the scoreboard or it may pass that responsibility to the players. In some cases the official scoreboard will be a prominent structure and in other cases it might be a sheet of paper in the golf shop or locker room.In cases where a referee has been assigned by the Committee to accompany a match, any announcement of the result of the match by the referee on the final putting green is not the official announcement unless it was stated as such in the Terms of the Competition.Stroke PlayExamples of when the Terms of the Competition may state the competition to be closed in stroke play include:
All results have been posted on the scoreboard or noticeboard,
The winners have been announced at a prize giving, or
The trophy has been awarded.
In stroke-play qualifying followed by match play, Rule 20.2e(2) stipulates that the stroke-play portion of the competition is closed when the player has teed off to start his or her first match.
Changing Terms of the Competition After Competition Has Started
The Terms of the Competition set out the structure of the competition and once a competition has started, the terms may be altered only in very exceptional circumstances.An example of a situation where the Terms of the Competition should not be altered:
Since players begin a round with the expectation that a certain number of holes will be played and may base their play on that, the number of holes to be played in a round should not be changed once that round has started. For example, if bad weather results in play being suspended after all the players have completed 9 holes of an 18-hole round, the Committee should not announce the results based on only 9 holes.
Examples of situations where there are exceptional circumstances and the Terms of the Competition may be altered:
If circumstances such as bad weather affect the number of rounds that can be played in the time available, the number of rounds to be played, or number of holes in any rounds not yet started, may be altered to accommodate the circumstances. Similarly, if those circumstances mean the planned format cannot be accommodated in the time available, the format of the competition may be changed.
The method for deciding ties should not be altered unless there are exceptional circumstances. For example, if the method of deciding a tie for a stroke-play competition was stated to be a hole-by-hole play-off, but bad weather meant such a play-off was not possible, the Committee can change the method of deciding the tie to a scorecard count-back.
The Terms of the Competition may require players to comply with an anti-doping policy. It is a matter for the Committee to write and interpret its own anti-doping policy, although guidance in developing such a policy can usually be provided by the national governing body.
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:
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.