I’ve never heard of such a thing … “Local Rules”, really? You mean you can just make up your own golf rules because you live locally?
Well, not really, but there are local rules at many golf courses and they are recognized by the Rules of Golf under certain conditions. “Local Rules are created to deal with unusual or abnormal conditions on the golf course. At the club level, these often appear on the score card or posted in the locker rooms. For competition, local rules must not be introduced or altered after a stroke play round has started, but in some cases may be introduced or altered between rounds.” *Rules of Golf, January 2016
However, there appears to be some local confusion as to what does or does not constitute a local rule. As far as I can determine, at Talking Rock Golf Course, the only published local rules, are the ones printed on the resort’s scorecard, and only one of those rules appears as though it may directly affect your score.
It reads, “Beach and tree line along 18th hole is to be played as a lateral hazard”.
As you look down the 18th fairway, you see the beach to the right and trees lining both sides of that fairway. This makes me wonder if the average golfer would interpret this local rule to include either tree line along the 18th hole as a lateral hazard. If so, would that golfer be correct?
Another local rule that doesn’t appear to surface anywhere except in local golf talk and chatter, is that if you were to hit your ball into the rough, no matter how deep, you may under penalty of one stroke, lift your found ball and drop it laterally on the fairway. I know there are members who utilize this so called “local rule” on a regular basis but I’m not so sure it is in compliance with the Rules of Golf.
If you are utilizing this so called local rule, you may unknowingly be entering false scores toward your handicap, falsifying your score in stroke or match play, or if applicable be disqualified when playing in tournaments.
Word has it that this local rule was created, and then perpetuated, to keep traffic on the course moving at a faster pace and in so doing provide a shorter duration to a round of golf at Talking Rock.
Adam Blair, the golf professional at Talking Rock Golf Resort, has indicated to me that in the future this so called local rule could become part of the published “Local Rules” on the next scorecard printing. In the mean time, he inferred that you must guide yourself according to at least one or more of the rules listed below.
And finally, I have heard several golfers and at least one course ambassador verbally indicate that “there isn’t any out of bounds” (OOB) on the Talking Rock course. I could be wrong but the ridge of the rough on the right side of hole 15, is sprinkled with several white stakes and unless those white stakes were placed in error, they should probably be considered OOB markers.
If you would like to comment on any of what I have written, please do so at the bottom of this blog.
Ball Lost or Out of Bounds; Provisional Ball
*RULE 27-1. “Stroke and Distance; Ball Out of Bounds; Ball Not Found Within Five Minutes
a. Proceeding Under Stroke and Distance
At any time, a player may, under penalty of one stroke, play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5), i.e., proceed under penalty of stroke and distance.
Except as otherwise provided in the Rules, if a player makes a stroke at a ball from the spot at which the original ball was last played, he is deemed to have proceeded under penalty of stroke and distance.
b. Ball Out of Bounds
If a ball is out of bounds, the player must play a ball, under penalty of one stroke, as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5).
c. Ball Not Found Within Five Minutes
If a ball is lost as a result of not being found or identified as his by the player within five minutes after the player’s side or his or their caddies have begun to search for it, the player must play a ball, under penalty of one stroke, as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5).
Exception: If it is known or virtually certain that the original ball, that has
not been found, has been moved by an outside agency (Rule 18-1), is in an obstruction (Rule 24-3), is in an abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1c) or is in a water hazard (Rule 26-1), the player may proceed under the applicable Rule.
PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 27-1: Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.”
*RULE 28 – BALL UNPLAYABLE: “The player may deem his ball unplayable at any place on the course, except when the ball is in a water hazard. The player is the sole judge as to whether his ball is unplayable.
If the player deems his ball to be unplayable, he must, under penalty of one stroke:
a. Proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1 by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or
b. Drop a ball behind the point where the ball lay, keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind that point the ball may be dropped; or
c. Drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole.
If the unplayable ball is in a bunker, the player may proceed under Clause a, b or c. If he elects to proceed under Clause b or c, a ball must be dropped in the bunker.
When proceeding under this Rule, the player may lift and clean his ball or substitute a ball.”
*RULE 20-5. Making Next Stroke from Where Previous Stroke Made
“When a player elects or is required to make his next stroke from where a previous stroke was made, he must proceed as follows:(a) On theTeeing Ground:The ball to be played must be played from within the teeing ground. It may be played from anywhere within the teeing ground and may be teed. (b) Through the Green:The ball to be played must be dropped and when dropped must first strike a part of the course through the green. (c) In a Hazard:The ball to be played must be dropped and when dropped must first strike a part of the course in the hazard. (d) On the Putting Green:The ball to be played must be placed on the putting green.
PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 20-5:
Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.”
*Rules of Golf, January 2016