Local Rules

25 September 2020


The new rules of golf came into effect on 1 January 2019 and are now embedded.

These local rules reflect these changes including pace of play.


Covid specific rules have also been added.




The R&A and USGA have clarified whether a competition being run using temporary measures to help minimise exposing players to COVID-19 is being “played under the Rules of Golf”. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both governing bodies have issued guidance so that Committees running golf competitions can better understand the options available under the Rules of Golf. The R&A’s expanded guidance, which supplements the information contained in the Committee Procedures section of the “Official Guide to the Rules of Golf”, is outlined on their website.


For golf at Haste Hill this has been interpreted as follows:

• The Rules of Golf have not been modified. In adopting the following modifications, the Committee is ensuring that, the competition is being played under the Rules of Golf.

• Scoring in Stroke Play (Rule 3.3b): In view of concerns around handling and exchanging scorecards (which may be in paper or electronic form as already provided in the Rules), on a temporary basis, the Committee has chosen to allow scoring in stroke play that does not strictly comply with Rule 3.3b or do not comply with the normal methods used under Rule 3.3b. Players may enter their own hole scores on the scorecard (it is not necessary for a marker to do it). It is not necessary to have a marker physically certify the player’s hole scores, but verbal certification is required as requested and all scores should be agreed after play. It is not necessary to physically return a scorecard to the Committee, these can be returned via a photograph attached to e-media.

• Players are required to leave the flagstick in the hole at all times. Players should not deliberately touch the flag or flag stick. Players who deliberately remove the flagstick or otherwise hole out having removed the flagstick will be penalised one stroke under the code of conduct for the first offence and disqualified for any future offence.

• Players are allowed to centre the flagstick in a safe manner which does not involve using the hand, even when wearing a glove or using a towel (for example, by using a club). The centring of the flagstick is also allowed while another player putts (this may be desirable in windy conditions when the flagstick is required to be left in the hole and is leaning towards the player making the stroke).

• To be holed a ball must have come to rest with part of it below ground within the hole.

• Players are requested to make their best efforts to smooth bunkers using their feet or a club, after playing a stroke.

• Preferred lies may be taken in bunkers, with players allowed to place their ball in the bunker within six inches not nearer to the hole than where the ball came to rest.



Local Rules apply to various areas of the course and MUST be adhered to.


Please check the club noticeboard as these can change on a daily basis



Free relief – Rules 15 & 16

Abnormal conditions are: Animal Hole; GUR; Immovable Obstruction; Temporary Water.  

  • Man Made Constructions - The artificial faces of bunkers are an integral part of the course and free relief from interreference to stance or swing is not allowed.
  • The following are abnormal conditions from which free relief is allowed under rule 16.1:
  • The Committee has not declared any other constructions to be 'an integral part of the course' and free relief as appropriate may be taken.
  • Paths - All roads and paths on the course, even if not artificially-surfaced, are treated as immovable obstructions from which free relief may be taken under rule 16.1 (this includes worn approaches to bridges.
  • Fences Protecting the 2nd & 14th Tees – During play of the 13th and 18th holes, if the protective fence by the 14th & 2nd tees is on a player’s line of play, free relief may be taken by dropping a ball within 2 club lengths of either end of that fence. However, this relief is only allowed where the ball is in play nearer to the hole than the dropping zone.
  • Free relief may be taken for the following ground irregularities under GUR
    • All areas of the course where turf has been newly laid, cut or removed, earth piles from ground works and newly dug ditches.
    • Deep Tractor Marks.
    • All drainage channels back filled with stones.
    • The teaching tee between the 4th tee & 6th fairway.
  • Free relief must be taken for the following conditions
    • The Rules of Golf referring to 'Putting Greens' also apply to temporary greens (where clearly defined and contained within perimeter rings). If interfering with a player’s stance or swing a ball MUST be dropped within 1 club length of nearest point of relief.
    • Young Trees - If a player’s ball lies anywhere on the course except in a penalty area, and it lies on or touches a newly planted tree under 4 feet high or a staked tree, or if it interferes with a player’s stance or swing the player must take relief under rule 16.1f. (If the ball lies in a penalty area and interference occurs, the player may take free relief in the penalty area, or outside of the area under penalty – rule 17.1e refers).

Practice – Rule 5.2b

  • Rule 5.2b is modified in this way - Though within the confines of the course, the grass area between the 10th and 13th holes and between the 4th and 6th holes are practice areas and may be used as such prior to play.

Penalty Areas – Rule 17

  • When taking penalty area relief, a player must take as their point of reference the point where it last crossed that area, which may be not necessarily be on the fairway side for any hole. If deciding to take lateral relief and the penalty area is narrow, it is permissible to measure the two club lengths from the reference point across the penalty area.
  • When a player’s ball is in the penalty area on the right-hand side of 6 (the ditch), as an extra relief option adding one penalty stroke, where the ball last crossed the penalty area from the out of bounds side, the player may use the point on the opposite side of the penalty area to where the ball crossed the penalty area (ie. the fairway side) as their reference point for dropping purposes.





A ball is out of bounds if played in, over or through the natural boundaries of the course. i.e. fences, hedges, ditches and woods together with the white posts which define the confines of the course. The Bird Sanctuary, Firing Range, Cemetery, Putting Green, Car Park, Club House and surrounding pavements are all out of bounds.

The ball is OOB when all of it lies out of bounds. No relief is allowed from objects defining out of bounds such as walls, fences, railings and stakes as they are 'outside of the confines of the course'.

The natural boundaries are not hole specific and a ball lying beyond any boundary is out of bounds regardless of the hole being played. When white boundary posts or markings are not evident the natural boundaries are specifically defined as follows:

  • Beyond the hedge on the left-hand side of the 1st hole and from a point where the hedge ends on or beyond the public footpath.
  • Beyond the ditch on the right-hand side of the 6th hole.
  • In or over the ditch on the left-hand side of the 7th hole, commencing from the woodland area beyond the tractor bridge opening.
  • In or over the ditch on the left-hand side of the 8th hole and from the point where the ditch meets the public pathway, on or over the public pathway.
  • Through the wire fence surrounding the firing range by the 11th tee.
  • On or over the public footpath on the left-hand side of the 11th and 12th holes.
  • Beyond the fence protecting the car park on the left-hand side of the 13th hole.
  • Beyond the fence surrounding the bird sanctuary on the right-hand side of the 15th and 16th holes.
  • On or beyond the grating which separates 'the clubhouse and surrounding paving' from the pathway around the 18th hole.
  • In or beyond the hedge between the 10th tee and the putting green. 


Pace of Play Policy - When playing in club competitions if a group finishes the round more than a hole behind the group in front and over 4 hours 15 minutes from the time of starting, all players in the group are subject to a one stroke penalty. (See model local rule K -1).


Players should report slow play to the Committee. 


Pace of play hints, tips and information:

  • keep up with the group in front and press them if they are slow (particularly if they have lost a hole)
  • call the group behind through if searching for balls and you have fallen behind (you won’t be penalised if you hold your place on the course having called through in a timely manner)
  • if someone in your group is slow tell them and report it to the committee
  • if you have lost a hole you will be asked for an explanation
  • if you spot slow groups tell them (if possible) and report to the committee after play
  • play ready golf!


TEMPORARY LOCAL RULES - Effective from 01/09/2020

Winter Rules are in Operation – When a player’s ball lies in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less the player may take free relief by placing the original ball or another ball in and playing it from this relief area: the reference point is the spot of the original ball and the relief area is within 6 inches of this point. When taking such relief it must be in the general area and not nearer the hole than the reference point. Once the spot to place the ball has been determined the procedures for replacing a ball under rules 14.2b(2) and 14.2 are to be followed.

Damaged greens – ‘Core’ holes in greens following ground work are GUR and a ball resting in such may be rolled out of the hole. In addition, a ball lying below the natural surface of the green due to other damage that cannot be repaired may be moved to the nearest point of no interference.


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© Haste Hill Golf Club 2013