General and Special Local Rules of Golf

February 15, 2020

General Local Rules of Play

The following rules will apply to all tournaments.  These rules have been reviewed and approved by the Board of Officers and may be amended as necessary by the Board.  Current USGA rules of Golf will apply during play with the following exceptions, which allows Local Rules that provide for abnormal conditions.

Violation of Rules.  During play any questions concerning these rule interpretations will be addressed with other members of the playing group at the time of occurrence.  Any unresolved disputes should be noted and brought to the attention of the Committee, or their representatives, immediately following play.   

NEW RULES ENCOURAGE FASTER PACE OF PLAY. Affirmative encouragement of “READY GOLF” in stroke play. Search for lost ball is now limited to (3) three minutes and players should take no more than 40 seconds to play a stroke.


            2. FOURTEEN (14) CLUB RULE IS WAIVED.

            3.  MAXIMUM STROKES.  Maximum of three (3) strokes over Par are to be taken and recorded on any hole, except in Match Play where the hole is played out until it is won, halved or conceded.

            4.  PUTTS.  The final putt on a hole must be holed out.  No GIMMES.  Once a ball in play is on the green, a ”putting ball” cannot be substituted.  There will be no penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits an unattended flagstick in the hole: players may putt without having the flagstick attended or removed.

            5.  MOVING AND CLEANING THE BALL.  The ball may be moved, with no penalty within one club length, in either the fairway or the rough, (“General Area”) (formally through the green), but not in a penalty area (formally hazard), and no closer to the hole.  The ball cannot be moved from the rough to the fairway.  The ball may be cleaned after each shot, except in a penalty area (hazard). 

6. PENALTY AREAS. (Formally Water/Later Water Hazards).  The Rules for Penalty Areas are well defined by USGA and will be played by WCSGA members accordingly. Note that in addition to water hazards, the Committee may mark areas such as rock fields, waste areas, etc as Penalty Areas. The left penalty areas on Holes 7, 12 and 18 are defined as an imaginary line that runs along the crest of the slope that runs parallel to the water. If a player's ball enters the left penalty areas as defined, he may drop within two club lengths from the crest where the ground begins to slope under a one stroke penalty. Under local rule 6 a player may take an additional one club length.

      NOTE : If a penalty area (hazard) is not marked, it is up to the player with help from the playing group, to determine where the yellow or red stakes/lines would be placed and play from that location.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: After taking relief, and putting the ball in play, the player is entitled to move the ball one club length in accordance with Rule #5.

       7.  LOST BALL AND/OR OUT OF BOUNDS.  This Local Rule is used to speed up play.  If a ball goes out of bounds, the player may advance to the point where the ball is presumed to have gone out and under penalty of one stroke, drop a ball within two club lengths of where the ball went out of bounds, not nearer the hole.

            If a ball is lost (outside a penalty area (hazard)) and has not been found within 3  minutes, the player will drop a ball in the vicinity where the ball was lost, no closer to the hole, under penalty of one stroke.

Important Note: After taking relief, and putting the ball in play, the player is entitled to move the ball one club length in accordance with Rule 5.

            8. Bunkers.  Play the ball as it lies, including balls that are plugged or “fried eggs”. However, if the ball is in an abnormal ground condition such as a footprint, divot, eroded area, mud, or standing water, a player may pick up the ball and place it in another area of the bunker, no closer to the hole. The player may also lift the ball, rake and place the ball as close to the original position, without penalty.  Loose impediments may be removed without penalty. An extra relief option for a unplayable ball in a bunker, allowing the ball to be played from outside the bunker, using the “back-on-a-line”, drop the ball with-in one club length and procedure with a two-stroke penalty.

Special Local Rules

The following Special Local Rules are applicable to the Watters Creek Senior Group Association.

SR 1. DROP AREAS.  Drop Zones are available on three par 3 holes, #3, #9, and #16, as well as Hole #6. 

SR 2. HOLE #6 Special Rules.  The "island" in the middle of the hazard is out of bounds and not in play. Also, unless a player is successful in driving the green area (across both creeks), he must attempt a second shot to the green (across the creeks) before moving to the drop area.

SR 3. ROPED OFF AREAS.  Carts are not allowed in roped off areas, however, the ball is played, even if overseeded, unless a sign says otherwise. 

SR 4.  SCORE KEEPING.  Players are responsible for confirming the correct score was recorded for each hole.  Scores should be recorded by two members of the group and at the end of play, scores reconciled for accuracy.