SCGA Club Official Digest

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Five Key Changes To Local Rules

In this edition of the Official’s Digest, we will be covering five key changes to most commonly used Local Rules and how that may impact club-posted Local Rules, including those on the back of your scorecard.With these changes, it is important to make sure that all your documents and scorecards are up to date as of on January 1, 2019.

Alternative to Stroke and Distance for Lost Ball or Ball Out of Bounds

One of the biggest changes for 2019, is the ability for the Committee or Club to allow a new local rule that provides an alternative to stroke-and-distance relief for a ball that is lost outside a penalty area or out of bounds. It should be noted that this is not recommended for higher levels of play.

Suggested Local Rule Verbiage: 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 provided in Section 8E-5 of the Committee Procedures of the Official Guide to The Rules of Golf.

Diagrams and other verbiage can be found in the section listed above that will help you and your club better understand and apply this local rule.

Relief for Embedded Ball

In 2019, a player may take relief for an embedded ball anywhere on the course except in a bunker, penalty area, or in sand. “Embedded” means below the level of the ground as seen below:

There is no longer a need for a local rule to exist unless your club wants to prohibit relief for an embedded ball.

No Play Zones

There may be parts of the course from which the Committee wishes to prohibit play.These areas can be treated as a No Play Zones either within an abnormal course condition or a penalty area. In 2019, the Committee has more latitude to define these areas.

The Committee can use no play zones for any reason, such as:

- To protect wildlife, animal habitats, and environmentally-sensitive areas.

- To prevent damage to young trees, flower beds, turf nurseries, re-turfed areas or other planted areas.

- To protect players from danger.

- To preserve sites of historical or cultural interest.

Model Local Rule E-8.2: The area within the [red] [yellow] penalty area defined by [specify how the area is marked, for example, with green stakes] [specify where it is located, for example, on the right of the fairway on hole 8] is a no play zone. When a ball is in the no play zone within the penalty area, the ball must not be played as it lies and relief must be taken from interference by the no play zone under Rule 17.1e.

Other Model Local Rule verbiage on No Play Zones can be found in Section 8E of the Committee Procedures of the Official Guide to The Rules of Golf.

Distance-Measuring Devices

One major change in 2019 is that a local rule is no longer needed to allow distance-measuring devices.

However, a club may institute a local rule which would prohibit their use.

Model Local Rule G-5: Rule 4.3a(1) is modified in this way: During a round, a player must not obtain distance information by using an electronic distance-measuring device.

Power Lines

Many facilities have power lines and supporting equipment that runs through the course which interferes with the reasonable play of a hole.For the 2019 Rules of Golf, a local rule regarding power lines is still in place but it gives the Committee more options when dealing with this situation.A club can now include towers, support wires, or poles that support the power line in the local rule.

Model Local Rule E-11: If it is known or virtually certain that a player’s ball hit a power line [or tower or a wire or pole supporting a power line] during the play of [specify hole number], the stroke does not count. The player must play a ball without penalty from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6 for what to do).

For more information regarding local rules and Committee procedures, please visit HERE.