Want to know your Golf Course’s Slope Rating?

Slope Ratings for  Golf Clubs Worldwide

With the World Handicap System up and running in most countries you can now search for the Slope Rating of many Golf Course, worldwide.

Introduction of the World Handicap System in GB&I is still on track for 2nd  November 2020.

All Golf Clubs have been issued with digital educational material allowing them to organise club information sessions .

If you want to know your Golf Course’s, or any Golf Course’s,  Slope Rating, follow the link below to the USGA Course Rating and Slope Database (TM) where you can, by entering details of a Golf Course, search for the Slope Rating of any Golf Course Worldwide which has had its Slope Rating issued for 2020. For England enter Country as ‘England’ NOT ‘UK and Leave the Club State field blank. Note that the layout you see will be different for Windows and iOS (iPad, iPhone) best layout is Windows:

Course Rating and Slope Database™

Enjoy your golf


Email: tony@my-golf.uk

Rules Blog: www.my-golf.uk

England Golf Update – 3 and 4 Balls to Return

Three and fourball play to re-commence from 1 June

 Words that many have been waiting patiently for since Golf courses were allowed to open.

It means that you can play with your friends and competitions can again be scheduled, although it will mean farewell to the gloriously enjoyable 3-hour rounds we have been playing over the last few weeks. One more player adds up to half an hour to a round, so look out for the 3hrs 30 mins and 3 hrs 50+ rounds.

England Golf is today pleased to confirm that threeball and fourball play can re-commence from Monday 1 June

It remains our recommendation for a minimum 10-minute interval between tee times.

Clubs may choose to run competitions provided social distancing (https://www.englandgolf.org/playsafe/) and safety regulations (https://www.englandgolf.org/coronavirus-faqs/) can be strictly observed at all times.

Full statement from UK golf bodies:

THE latest UK government adjustment of lockdown conditions now permits golf clubs in England to re-introduce the fourball format from Monday 1 June.

As part of a phased return to play, up to four golfers from four separate households may now play together in one single group from the above date.

For coaching in England, the impact of these changes remains unclear. The PGA are working in collaboration with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf to seek confirmation. Further guidance will be communicated once clarity can be provided.

Please note it is essential that golfers continue to strictly observe social distancing and safety regulations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All other industry guidelines pertaining to the playing of the game remain unchanged from those issued ahead golf’s phase one return on 13 May.

While COVID-19 remains a live threat in our communities, we would ask everyone involved in the game to act responsibly, show respect and protect the wellbeing of golfers, staff and volunteers.

**The following organisations have come together to help golf in the UK during the COVID-19 crisis and, through the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf, to work with Government to promote safe golf:

American Golf; The Belfry; the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association; the British Golf Industry Association; England Golf; the Golf Club Managers’ Association; Golf Ireland; the Golfing Union of Ireland; the Irish Ladies’ Golf Union; IMG; The Professional Golfers’ Association; PING; The R&A; Scottish Golf; Syngenta; the UK Golf Federation; Wales Golf.

You can download a copy of the Official statement by clicking on the download button below:

Download “England Golf 3 and 4-balls to Return Word Document” England-Golf-Update-3-and-4-Balls-to-Return.docx – Downloaded 34 times – 80 KB

Download “England Golf 3 and 4-balls to Return PDF Document” England-Golf-Update-3-and-4-Balls-to-Return.pdf – Downloaded 30 times – 142 KB

Enjoy your golf, but remember, Play Safe and Stay Safe

Best wishes


Coronovirus FAQs for GB&I on the Return to Golf

Coronovirus FAQs for GB&I on the Return to Golf

National Golfing Organisations Covid-19 FAQs

Following the re-opening of Golf Courses in GB&I, each National Organisation has issued its FAQs regarding playing golf in its country.

Although very similar, some of the details of the restrictions do vary in each country.

Click here to view the England Golf FAQs regarding the reopening of Golf in England

Click here to view the Wales Golf FAQ’s regarding the reopening of Golf in Wales Updated V3

Click here to download the Wales Golf Guidance Document for Playing Golf in Wales and UK Under COVID-19 Restrictions (VERSION 3)

Click here to download the Wales Golf, ‘Golfers Stay Safe Guidance’ infographic (VERSION 2)

Click here to view the Golf Ireland FAQs regarding the reopening of Golf in Northern Ireland

Click here to view the Scottish Golf FAQs regarding the reopening of Golf in Scotland

If you are returning to playing golf, Stay Safe and Play Safe

Remember that if you are in the ‘Vulnerable Category’, which includes those over 70 years of age government guidelines must still be followed and returning to playing golf is at your own discretion.

If you are in the ‘Extremely Vulnerable’ category then you must be shielding and ‘Stay at Home’ – so no Golf for you yet.

So Stay Safe and well


Playing Golf Under COVID-19 and an Update on the World Handicap System

Playing Golf Under COVID-19 and an Update on the World Handicap System

Well, what a start to the 2020 Golfing year. First we have courses unplayable because of torrential rain and now, just when the season should be getting underway we have COVID-19 pandemic and total lockdown.

But, with the UK Government suggesting that we have passed through the first phase of the crisis, there is optimism that there may be an easing of some lockdown restriction.

The Golfing industry has taken this as very promising and several of golf’s governing and professional bodies have issued separate guidance to clubs on five main areas as the industry develops how the game could be played when lockdown restrictions start to be lifted, and bear in mind that Social Distancing and COVID-19 may be with us for a while to come.

Separate guidance statements have been released:

One from the R&A, one from England Golf, and a joint report from the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA), British Golf Industry Association (BGIA), British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association (BIGGA), Foremost, Golf Club Managers’ Association (GCMA), TGI Golf, and the UK Golf Federation.

The guidance covers everything ranging from bunker rakes to flagsticks, the number of holes we are allowed to play, and clubhouses being reopened.

You can read each statement by following the links below:

The R&A statement suggests that, Clubhouses should be closed and competitions shouldn’t be played during the initial period when golf returns from the coronavirus lockdown and covers five main areas – course set-up, before, during and after the round and Rules of Golf related issues – after working with a range of UK bodies on how golf could be played when the government decides it is safe to begin easing the current restrictions.

On a lighter note, England Golf has today published an update to its information on the World Handicap System scheduled to be introduce in GB&I on 2 November 2020.

Their statement reads:

‘The hard work behind the scenes continues as we prepare for the launch of the World Handicap System in just six months’ time. Next week, we will roll out the latest stage of our education campaign to golfers ahead of the 2 November start date. There will be an easy to follow, step-by-step series on the key elements of WHS:

  1. An introduction to the World Handicap System
  2. Your Handicap Index
  3. Submitting scores
  4. Maintaining your Handicap Index’

You can read more by following this link:

England Golf – WHS 2020

Enjoy your weekend as much as you can under these unprecedented circumstances, stay positive safe and well and we all will enjoy playing golf soon; albeit, not quite in the format we are used to for the time being.

Best wishes


UK Golf Courses to Close as of 23 March 2020

Statement from England Golf on Monday 23 March 2020 in light of the UK Prime Minister’s Action to contain COVID-19 Pandemic

Clubs, courses and facilities must close

Following on from the Prime Minister’s statement tonight (23 March), in which he sated that everyone must now STAY at HOME (with some exceptions), certainly for a period of three weeks, a period that will be reviewed, golf clubs, courses and facilities in England must now close.

It is England Golf’s position that this deeply regrettable, but highly necessary and responsible course of action must be implemented with immediate effect and be maintained until further notice.

The government has identified an urgent need to introduce new restrictions on public life and on non-essential businesses opening their doors.

This has been done to limit the spread of the coronavirus and relieve the growing pressure on our National Health Service.

Keeping golf courses open is simply no longer compatible with the updated policy of government which is designed to save lives in a time of national emergency. 

The health and wellbeing of the nation is the only consideration that matters at this moment in our history.

These are incredibly testing times for the country. The golf industry cannot be shielded from the economic and social ramifications caused by this temporary shutdown of normal life.

We would like to assure the golfing community that England Golf staff will continue to work remotely with all affiliated golfers, clubs and counties to try and minimise the damage caused by this suspension of regular golf club life.

We will continue to signpost clubs and counties to the latest government advice and schemes designed to help the economy cope with the disruption caused by coronavirus.

You may read the full announcement by clicking on the link below

England Golf Full Statement on COVID-19

Hope we will all be back to playing golf again, soon

Best wishes and please stay safe


May I Remove a Clump of Sand from Behind My Golf Ball?

May I remove a clump of Sand from behind my golf ball?

Things have gone a little quiet on the Rules front lately, might it be the the USGA and R&A have got it right and players are understanding the Rules of Golf better, is it because not many are getting out to play golf in the poor weather conditions being experienced in many parts of the Country or are you all contemplating the introduction of the World Handicap System later in the year?

However I did receive a question during the week, and one which is quite pertinent considering the publicity surrounding one Golfing Professional.

Q: I know that I am not permitted to remove clumps of sand from the apron of the putting green when they are in my line of putt.

However, if the clump of sand is 2 – 3 inches behind my ball is there a penalty if I remove the clump of sand with my backswing (not a practice swing or using the back of the club as a brush!).

The clump of sand interfered with my normal backswing and I did not want to take an exaggerated quick lift up of the club to avoid the sand.

A: When it comes to Sand and Soil they are not regarded as being Loose Impediments unless they are lying on the Putting Green.

They cannot be disturbed or removed before making a stroke at your ball. If this happens you will be in breach of Rule 8.1a, by Improving your Lie.

You will incur a General Penalty of 2-penalty Strokes.

However, in the case of Soil, if it is compacted into a solid clump, for example a plug which has been removed during hollow-tining or an unreplaced divot, it is then regarded as a Loose Impediment and may be removed without penalty.

A recent incident on the PGA Tour highlights this:

Patrick Reed was penalised two strokes for a rules’ violation in the Hero World Challenge third round in the Bahamas in an incident that has led to a lot of criticism of the Masters Champion behaviour. Something that will stay with him for a long time to come.

Reed was penalised the strokes after twice moving sand while taking practice swings in a sandy waste area at the 11th hole at Albany Golf Club, which served to marginally improve his lie.

Reed was deemed to have improved his lie and intended line of play by “removing or pressing down sand or loose soil,” in violation of rule 8.1a

Of course there is no penalty if you move the sand or soil during the downswing and full completion of your stroke or if your Club has Preferred Lies in operation in placing your ball within 6 inches or a width of a scorecard from the original lie of your ball you may legitimately get partial, if not full, relief from the sand or soil that is impeding your stroke.

Try and enjoy your golf under these difficult weather conditions and keep smiling


Rules Blog: www.my-golf.uk

Email: tony@my-golf.uk


May a Committee Adopt a Local Rule for Free-relief for a Lost Ball in Standing Water or Under Fallen Leaves?

May a Committee Adopt a Local Rule for Free-relief for a Lost Ball in Standing Water or Under Fallen Leaves?

With the weather conditions that many golfers are experiencing at the moment there are some playing conditions that make a round of golf not only difficult but not that enjoyable to play.

The most frustrating thing is having played a reasonable shot, knowing where your ball has landed only to then be faced with the fact that you cannot find your ball.

Because you do not consider it is your fault you feel that under the circumstances you should not be penalised but be allowed some form of relief.

I received a request along these lines to consider if a local rule could be adopted allowing free relief.

‘Do you consider that a temporary local rule should be put in place when the following situations arise: During the winter months, especially late November and December, my golf Course suffers badly from a lot of standing water and fallen leaves. Very often a player’s ball, invariably from a tee shot, becomes imbedded in soft ground and will be lost, or becomes lost under a carpet of leaves. The new three-minute rule of course does not help the searching in these situations. Very often the player feels hard done by because the lost ball is none of his making, but due to the abnormal conditions. Also, because it is winter, the walk back to where the original shot was played, is not a high priority when playing stableford. Therefore, do you consider that a temporary local rule is warranted allowing a free-drop in the area where the ball is considered lost, with of course full agreement of the other players?’

Golf is an outside sport and so subject to many and varied playing conditions especially those created by nature, which many players accept as being part of the challenge of playing different courses at different times of the year along with the frustration that the conditions bring.

A Committee does have the freedom, within reason, to adopt its own local rules so long as it does not change a Rule of Golf or reduce a penalty that would be imposed by a Rule of Golf and if thinking of adopting a Local Rule, it will have to decide on what status a golf round will have; will it be a Qualifying Round or one for General Play only?

The reason for this is because of the impact that a Local Rule can have on the status of a Round of Golf.

A Committee will also have to ensure that all players know as and when the Local Rule is in operation.

In considering the question I will divide it into two parts:

  1. Problem with Standing-water
  2. The problem with Fallen Leaves


  1. Standing-water

When you go out to play a game of golf it is understood that you accept the central principles of the game stated in Rule 1.1 of the Rules of Golf and:

  • Play the course as you find it and the ball as it lies
  • Play by the Rules and in the Spirit of the Game
  • You are responsible for applying your own penalties if you breach a Rule, so that you do not gain any potential advantage over your fellow players or opponents

The Rule, however, does provide for exceptions where the Rules allow you to alter conditions on the course and require or allow you to play the ball from a different place from where it lies.

One such circumstance is Interference from Abnormal Course Conditions, which the R&A and USGA do not regard as part of the challenge of playing the course and free-relief may generally be allowed, except in a Penalty Area.

The Standing-water (known now as Temporary Water) is accepted as an Abnormal Course Condition and so Free-relief may be obtained from it.

An important point, especially in this case, is that you may get Free-relief for a Ball that is not found but is in the Temporary Water.

This is covered by Rule 16.1e. and the Rule applies in both Qualifying Rounds and General Play.

The only proviso is that you must ‘Know or be Virtually Certain’ that your ball came to rest in the Temporary Water; if that is the case then you may take Free Relief using an estimated point where you think your ball came to rest in the Temporary Water and use this relief instead of Stroke and Distance.

So, no real need to adopt a Local Rule for these situations.

  1. Fallen Leaves

Now these are a different problem because the R&A and USGA do not regard them as Abnormal Course Conditions, and so no Free Relief can be obtained from them in Qualifying Competitions.

Rule 18.2 provides advice on dealing with Lost Balls in these circumstances and if you have not played a provisional ball, in the expectation that your ball may be difficult to find or indeed be lost, then you have no alternative than to go back and play another ball under Stroke and Distance.

Unfortunately, you may not adopt a Local Rule to give relief from the fallen leaves, especially one that would reduce a penalty that would normally be incurred.

This is dealt with under Committee Procedures 8L – Unauthorised Local Rules:

  • A Committee does not have the authority to adopt rules to fit particular needs of a course or competition and any Local Rule must be consistent with policies established din Section 8, Model Local Rules.
  • If a Committee authorises players to play under Local Rules that differ from the Rules of Golf, the player may not post her/his score for handicap purposes and their round will be considered to be one of General Play

However, if your game is one of general play only and you lose your ball under fallen leaves, or anything else, or is Out of Bounds, and YOU HAVE NOT PLAYED A PROVISIONAL BALL, then your Committee could adopt an Alternative Rule to the Stroke and Distance as a Local Rule, intended to help with Pace of Play.

This is covered by Committee Procedures Model Local Rule – 8E – Special or Required Relief Procedures

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 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.

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 courseboundary 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 holethrough the ball reference point (and within two club-lengths to the outside of that line), and
  • A line from the holethrough 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 holethan the ball reference point.

Once the player puts a ball in play under this Local Rule:

  • The original ball that was lostor out of bounds is no longer in play and must not be played.
  • This is true even if the ball is found on the coursebefore 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 certainto 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.

Ball Not Found
Ball Not Found


Ball out of Bounds
Ball out of Bounds


Ball Not Found or Out of Bounds Close to Green
Ball Not Found or Out of Bounds Close to Green


As a personal comment, but something my Golf Club has done recently, if the problem is a perpetual problem, then the Club should try to address the problem of the Standing Water by improving drainage in the affected areas and with fallen leaves clear them on a regular basis, even by just using a leaf-blower or more sophisticated Leaf Collection Equipment.

Committees and Clubs should be mindful of creating courses where players can enjoy a reasonable round of golf under all conditions.

Still, enjoy your golf


Will cards for social games need to be kept for handicap purposes under the new world handicapping system?’

Will cards need to be kept for handicap under the new world handicapping system?’

With the World Handicap System being just around the corner, for some countries anyway, questions are being raised about some points that golfers have heard of or have become aware of and are wondering what, if any, impact they may have on their golf.

One such question is how social games will be affected and whether scores from these games will need to be submitted.

I received the following query the other week:

‘We currently have a weekend roll up at our club, we play for £3, off the yellow tees. Will cards need to be kept for handicap under the new world handicapping system?’

The situation with the , World Handicap System, as it stands to date, is that ,in GB&, the date for its introduction is 2 November 2020 and information from England Golf, at the moment, is at best sketchy.

Being an average-based handicap system, as opposed to our present potential ability-based system, England Golf will be encouraging players to submit as many scores as they can.

The requirement, at the moment, for submitting the results of any Club roll-up, as suggested by England Golf, is that the roll-up must be organised by Club Members under the Rules of Golf and must consist of at least 12 players who have paid to play in the Roll-up and prizes are to be awarded.

The more scores that are submitted means a better representation of a player’s current playing ability.

England Golf are busy running WHS Workshops Nationally and hope to provide all Clubs with full information packs early in 2020.

Meanwhile the information that I have been able to elicit to date, on what will be considered as an Acceptable Score – similar to the current Qualifying Score, is that it will include any:

  1. Singles competitions,
  2. Social Scores (the new name for Supplementary Scores), and can include
  3. Scores submitted in Society events (if conforming with the Rules of Golf) and
  4. informal roll-ups/swindles organised by members if conforming with the Rules of Golf, have at least 12 players who have paid to play and prizes, of some description, are awarded.

CONGU will not, however, be making it mandatory to submit scores from casual golf, as is currently the case in the USA; this may change in the future to bring GB&I into line with the rest of the world.

Players must pre-register on the computer, at the Club where the round will be played, prior to the round for a score to count. it is anticipated that scores from better-balls competitions may be included at some point in the future.

I am working on publishing more information on the WHS on a webpage on My-Golf.uk, and will email you details as soon as it is complete but hope this information helps to answer any questions you may have on submitting scores from social games

Enjoy your golf!


Is There any Relief Available in Order To Protect The Aprons of Putting Greens During Adverse Weather Conditions?

This time of year, is the time when man Clubs have to deal with Golf in Adverse Conditions, and when I receive many requests regarding possible relief whenm conditions are wet or verging on unplayable.

A question that I was asked this week was:

In winter, aprons can be very wet and chipping or pitching are sometimes necessary to avoid trying to guess the slowing effect of water on a putted ball. My playing partner was concerned about damaging the green and thought there may be a rule covering it? I was unsure.

Note – there was not ‘standing water’.

Secondly a ball landing on a summer green apron when the temporary winter green is some distance away raises the same question about damaging the apron with a large divot. Free relief like it had landed on the summer green? or is that only if a local rule has been adopted? 

PS I suppose the same concern could be applied to landing on the correct green (not apron) but a long way from the hole and considering a pitch shot over very wet grass rather than risking a putt up the green to the normal summer hole.

Under the Rules of Golf, the ‘aprons/fringes’ of putting greens are regarded as part of the General Area of a Golf course and therefore, under normal conditions, there are no general relief options available for balls lying in these areas and they must be played as they lie.

Point Number 1:

In winter, aprons can be very wet and chipping or pitching are sometimes necessary to avoid trying to guess the slowing effect of water on a putted ball. My playing partner was concerned about damaging the green and thought there may be a rule covering it? I was unsure.

Note – there was not ‘standing water’.

Where there are ongoing problems relating to wetness of, or damage to, the course most can be addressed by introducing Preferred Lies, marking affected areas as GUR and/or the introduction of Local Rules.

Relief under Rule 16-1b for Abnormal Course Conditions is optional and wherever practicable, particularly during the playing season, players are given the option to play the ball as it lies if they so wish.


Because a player may play a ball as it lies this option, and Preferred Lies, do not solve the problem of preventing damage to an area of a course but Committees do, however, have the power to prohibit players from playing from GUR, by designating these areas as ‘No Play Zones’.

See, Definition of ‘No Play Zones’Rule 2.4 and Model Local Rule E-8.1.

It is recommended that white markings be reserved for GUR where relief is optional and that where play is to be prohibited from GUR (No Play Zones), be marked in an alternative manner e.g. blue lines or white stakes with green tops.

Whenever a Committee has a need for a Local Rule to cover a situation set out in Model Local Rules, it should make use of the relevant specimen Local Rule, the wording of which should conform entirely to that given in the Model Local Rule. Wording that does not conform exactly to the R&A’s specimen wording causes confusion amongst players, particularly visiting players, who are conversant with the R&A’s drafting. Note that Committees do not have the authority to modify a Rule of Golf without prior consent from the R&A.

Other options open to Committees for consideration in protecting the fringes of putting greens are:

Teeing up on the closely mown areas or general area – cannot run qualifying competitions if this procedure is in play.

Lifting from closely mown areas and placing or dropping in the semi-rough

A Local Rule that requires or permits players to lift a ball from a closely mown area and drop or place in the semi rough to protect the fairway is not within the Rules of Golf and any competition played under conditions cannot be qualifying for handicap purposes (CONGU® UHS Decision 1(d)).

Dropping Zones Option to taking relief from Abnormal Course Conditions, Model Local Rule E-1.2 – competitions using dropping zones may be run as qualifying competitions

Use of Fairway Mats

Decision 1(a) of the CONGU® UHS sets out the conditions under which the use of fairway mats is permitted in Qualifying Competitions. It is important that the specimen Local Rule therein is adopted in its entirety. In particular note that for Qualifying Competitions the use of mats is restricted to closely mown areas and that the ball must not be teed-up on the mat (the mat itself may, however, be pegged into the ground). The use of fairway mats for Qualifying Competition purposes is restricted to the period 1 October to 30 April inclusive.

Point Number 2:

Secondly a ball landing on a summer green apron when the temporary winter green is some distance away raises the same question about damaging the apron with a large divot. Free relief like it had landed on the summer green? or is that only if a local rule has been adopted? 

Normally, no relief, because the aprons/fringes and wrong greens are considered to be general area and so will be dealt with in the same way as point 1.

However, under these circumstances, a local rule may be introduced to prevent play from the fringe of a wrong green, Model Local Rule D-4.

Why a similar Rule cannot be applied to a putting green being played to, I do not know.

Regarding the PS:

PS I suppose the same concern could be applied to landing on the correct green (not apron) but a long way from the hole and considering a pitch shot over very wet grass rather than risking a putt up the green to the normal summer hole.

The same concern may apply to landing on the correct green, but there is no Rule of Golf preventing a player from using any club on a putting green, so chipping on a Putting Green is permissible.

Green-keepers may not be too happy if a player takes a divot on a putting green, but a Committee cannot introduce a local rule preventing a player chipping on a putting green.

Enjoy your golf,


Changing Your Decision When Taking Relief from Temporary Water in a Bunker.

The following question was put to me recently and could be one that many of you may come across during your rounds being played in the adverse weather conditions many are experiencing at this time.

The scenario is that, due to overnight rain, some of the bunkers have temporary water however there is still room to take relief in the bunker and drop and play the ball. The player decides that he still doesn’t like the lie in the bunker so decides to drop outside the bunker (back-on-the-line relief). Under rule 16.1c this would incur 1 penalty stroke. But as the ball would be playable in the bunker shouldn’t rule 19.3 option 4 apply which incurs a penalty of 2 strokes.

Which is correct and why?

The ruling that will apply, depends upon whether the player has or has not taken relief and put a ball into play.

I am reading this scenario as:

The player has decided to take free-relief from the Temporary Water and dropped a ball in accordance with Rule 16.1c within the bunker.

The player then decides that s/he does not like the lie in the bunker and decides to drop outside the bunker on back-on-the-line-relief.

Under Rule 14.3c(1), if the player has dropped the ball in the correct way and it comes to rest within the relief area, then the ball is in play and must be played as it lies.

If the player, having dropped the ball, does not like the lie of the ball then s/he has the option to declare the ball unplayable and take relief under Rule 19.3a, under penalty of one stroke drop the ball within the bunker, or under Rule 19.3b, under penalty of two strokes, take back-on-the-line relief outside the bunker.

If the player takes relief incorrectly, e.g. drops the ball incorrectly, the ball does not come to rest in the correct relief area or dropped in wrong relief area, then the player must correct the mistake before playing the ball.

While being able to correct the error, the player may also change her/his choice of relief under the options available under the same rule that they have chosen to take relief under, which would mean s/he could change her/his mind and drop outside the bunker under back-on-the-line relief still under Rule 16.1c. (Rule 14.5b(2).

If, however, the player has dropped a ball and taken Maximum Available Relief, then decides to take Back-On-the-Line Relief outside the bunker, s/he may do so, because s/he will still have interference from the Temporary Water, for a one stroke penalty

Rule 16.1 Interpretation 16.1c/1: Player Takes Maximum Available Relief; Then Decides to Take Back-On-the-Line Relief

If the player takes maximum available relief, he or she will still have interference from the abnormal course condition and may take further relief by using the back-on-the-line procedure for one penalty stroke. If the player decides to do this, the reference point for back-on-the-line relief is where the ball came to rest after taking maximum available relief.

If, however, the player lifts her/his ball. To take relief under Rule 16.1c, but has not decided which relief option to take, then s/he may, before s/he puts a ball into ply may choose either of the two options available to her/him.

Rule 16.1c Interpretation 16.1c/2: After Lifting Ball Player May Change Relief Options Before Putting a Ball in Play

If a player lifts his or her ball to take relief under Rule 16.1c, he or she is not committed to the intended relief option under Rule 16.1c until the original ball is put in play or another ball is substituted under that option.

For example, a player elects to take relief from temporary water in a bunker and lifts the ball with the intention of taking free relief in the bunker (Rule 16.1c(1)). The player then realizes that where the Rule requires the ball to be dropped in the bunker will result in a very difficult shot.

After lifting the ball, but prior to putting a ball in play, the player may choose either of the two options of the Rule despite the original intention to take relief under Rule 16.1c(1).

Enjoy your golf, despite the weather conditions,