Local Rules

(a) 100 metre and 150 metre ground markers and pine posts distance markers (one ring – 150 metres, 2 rings – 100 metres) are to the green centre.

Commentary - Distance Markers

For player information only – not a Local Rule as such.

(a) For all play on this course, unless otherwise prohibited by competition conditions, a player may obtain distance information using a distance-measuring device.

(b) If during a stipulated round, a player uses a distance-measuring device to gauge or measure other conditions that might affect his play (e.g. elevation changes, wind speed, etc), the player is in breach of Rule 4.3.

Commentary - Distance Measuring Devices

Rule 4.3 Use of Equipment: Rules 4.3a.1 and 4.3a.2 are applicable. Distance measuring devices with additional non-conforming features may be used utilising the conforming feature only and does not actually use the non-conforming feature/s themselves. Examples of non-conforming features include applications that measure or provide advic on: elevation changes or slope, wind speed, club selection, green reading, and effective distance between the two points based on elevation changes or other conditions that affect shot distance.

(a) Those areas within the course defined by white lines and/or small stakes painted light blue;

(b) Defined garden beds with a formed border – play prohibited;

(c) Clearly defined tractor marks and ruts made by machinery.

Commentary - Ground Under Repair

Stakes and Lines: The colour protocol for defining areas of GUR in (a) above aligns with the international standard and the recommendations of The R&A and the USGA. Red, yellow or white stakes must not be used.

“Defined garden beds with a formed border” are garden areas containing plants, shrubs or trees and having brick, stone, timber logs, sawn timber or posts fully or substantially surrounding the garden bed area. A built-up mound of soil, mulch, wood-chip or similar around a single tree or shrub or a single clump of trees or shrubs is NOT by itself a defined garden bed. Play is prohibited from these areas and relief must be taken in accordance with Rule 16.

Overflow Drains: Following a suggestion, the Club researched the possibility of classifying these drains as drainage ditches for the removal of casual water. Subsequent research provided the following USGA Decision:-

24-2/b Marking of On-Course Drainage Ditches That Carry Water From One Part of the Course to Another

Q. The USGA, in some circumstances, considers artificially surfaced drainage ditches that carry water from one part of the course to another part of the course to be obstructions and not water hazards. This seems contrary to the Definition of a water hazard but, in light of this thinking, should we leave artificially lined ditches designed for this purpose unmarked and play them as obstructions?

A. Yes. The Committee, in its judgment, should determine in each case whether a shallow, artificially lined ditch on the course was put there for the specific purpose of draining a problem area where casual water would otherwise collect and unduly interfere with the play of the game. Where that is the case, the ditch should remain unmarked and should be played as an obstruction.

If, on the other hand, the Committee determines that such a ditch was intended as an architectural feature to affect the play and/or the difficulty of the hole, it should be marked and played as a water hazard – see Rules 24 and 26.

Consultation with Barry Rhodes, a recognized expert on the Rules of Golf and certificated by the R&A, confirmed that it was appropriate to refer to these drains as ditches to transfer water from one part of the golf course to another  (i.e. water overflow from one water hazard to another). A copy of the interpretation can be downloaded from: http://www.coloradogolf.org/content/general_content/2015RAGInterpretations.pdf

On referring the matter and interpretation to GolfNQ, the Club was directed to Matt Field of Golf Queensland for their confirmation of this definition of the rule. The advice from Matt Field was that it would be legitimate for the Club to make a Local Rule to refer to these ditches as Casual Water drainage ditches, following the lines of the interpretations previously obtained. Golf Queensland also suggested, “as most golfers generally tend to understand what GUR means and the implications for relief more than they do obstructions, a Committee would be permitted to class them as GUR in the Local Rules if they so wished”.

Clearly defined tractor tyre marks and ruts made by machinery: Under normal circumstances, no free relief may be taken for tyre marks or wheel ruts made by greenkeeper’s machinery. If situations arise during adverse weather, the Match Committee may invoke a temporary local rule allowing relief from specific instances on the course.

Barry Rhodes (copyright to Barry Rhodes ©2011/12/16 at http://www.barryrhodes.com/) advised that this is what the R&A has to say on the subject:

“One of the main features of golf is that it tests the player’s ability to execute a wide assortment of strokes under a variety of different conditions. The skill factor in golf would be greatly reduced if players could eliminate difficult conditions, without incurring any penalty, rather than have to overcome them through execution of a particular stroke. It is therefore, a traditional golfing maxim that you should play the ball as it lies and the course as you find it. This is encapsulated in Rule 13-1 which provides, “the ball must be played as it lies, except as otherwise provided in the Rules”.

(a) Tee markers, course signs, penalty area stakes, GUR markers/stakes, pegs and ropes directing players and pine post distance markers (one or two rings) are immovable obstructions;

(b) Portions and sides of roads/pathways having a prepared “crusher-dust”, crushed rock or stone gravel surface are deemed immovable obstructions;

(c) Bridges and their approaches (ramps) not within a penalty area are immovable obstructions.

(d) The concrete base and/or the rocks in the overflow drains across and adjacent to the fairways for holes 1, 2, 3, 10 and 18 including the rock drains to the right of No. 3 and continue behind the driving range practice areas.

Commentary - Immovable Obstructions

Immovable Obstructions are defined in the Rules of Golf, however the Rules permit the Club to deem Movable Obstructions to be Immovable e.g. to prevent the possible loss of indication of the boundary of a penalty area if a player omits to replace a stake.

(a) The Model Local Rule R-5 has been adopted by Mackay Golf Club “Relief from interference by an immovable obstruction may be taken under Rule 16.1.

(b) “Ball in General Area”: The player also has extra options to take relief when such immovable obstructions are close to the putting green and on the line of play.

(c) “Ball in General Area”: The player may take relief under Rule 16.1.b if an immovable obstruction is in the line of play an is:-

  • ⇒ Within two club lengths of the putting green; and
  • ⇒ Within two club lengths of the ball.

Exception – no relief if line of play is clearly unreasonable. There is no relief under this Local Rule if the player chooses a line of play that is clearly unreasonable.


Commentary- Immovable Obstructions Close to Putting Green

Rule 16.1b provides relief without penalty from interference by an immovable obstruction, but if the ball is not on the putting green, generally only if the obstruction interferes with the stance/area or swing but not for interference in the line of play.
The Club considers that the normal preparation of the surrounds of the greens provides an option for players to putt a ball off the green, and in this situation, an immovable obstruction close to the green can restrict that option.
The Club has decided to adopt the recommended Model Local Rule Section 8F (F-5) which provides relief without penalty for a ball lying through the green if an immovable obstruction (e.g. a sprinkler head) lying within 2 club lengths of the putting green and within 2 club lengths of the ball intervenes on the line of play between the ball and the hole. Relief may be taken as follows:
The ball must be lifted and dropped at the nearest point to where the ball lay that (a) is not nearer the hole, (b) avoids such intervention and (c) is not in a penalty area or on the putting green. The ball may be cleaned when lifted.

(a) Those areas beyond the boundary stakes and fences of the course;

(b) Those areas delineated by lines of white pegs and/or white lines surrounding the clubhouse, car park, buggy sheds and their surrounds and the machinery sheds and their surrounds.

Commentary - Out of Bounds

R&A and USGA Rules recommends that stakes and lines defining the boundaries of Out-of-Bounds should be white. Where the boundary fence exists, in the absence of stakes or lines, the fence defines the boundary. Note the boundary of the section of the “out-of-bounds behind the 18th green is marked by a line painted on the ground.

(a) Should a player’s ball strike any overhead power / telephone wires and / or their supports, pylons or attachments, the stroke is cancelled, and the player must play a ball without penalty as near as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played. If the ball is not immediately recoverable, another ball may be substituted.

Commentary - Overhead Wires

Overhead Wires (Decision 33-8/13) – When overhead wires or cables interfere with the proper playing of the game, an equitable solution is to require the stroke to be replayed, without penalty, if the ball strikes the obstruction. The player must not be permitted to choose between replaying the stroke or playing the ball as it lies.

(a) All penalty areas on the course are marked and defined by red penalty area stakes and / or red lines and are deemed to be Lateral Penalty Areas and relief is governed by each individual situation.

Commentary - Penalty Areas Defined

R & A Rules Limited requires that stakes and lines defining the boundaries of Penalty Areas must be red. The Club has decided that all Penalty Areas on the course are deemed to be Lateral Penalty Areas and, to remove doubt, only those areas defined by red stakes and/or red lines are classed as Penalty Areas.

(a) Practice on any day of competition or between rounds is permitted on these designated practice areas on the course:

  • The driving range area between the 3rd and 4th fairways within the line of trees surrounding the area;
  • The chipping range between the line of trees bounding the fairway and the out-of-bounds line adjacent to the practice putting green and car park.

Commentary - Practice Grounds Defined

In Rule 7, the Rules of Golf impose restrictions on practice on the Course before, during and between rounds. Where the Club wishes to allow practice on certain areas which are part of the Course, Rule 33 requires the Club to designate these “Practice Areas”.

On this course, this includes the chipping area and the Driving Practice Area.  The practice putting green is not within the area of the course (OOB), and so is automatically available for practice under the rules.

(a) Staked / protected trees and staked / protected shrubs are immovable obstructions. The immovable obstruction includes the shrub / tree, AND the stakes, AND any artificial protective guard. If the immovable obstruction interferes with the player’s stance or the area of his intended swing, the ball MUST be lifted, without penalty, and dropped in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Rule 16.1b (Immovable Obstruction).

(b) A wood-chipped or other constructed basin surrounding a tree or shrub that is either staked and/or protected by a tree guard is part of the immovable obstruction. The ball may be cleaned when lifted under this Local Rule.

Commentary - Staked Trees and / or Shrubs

Clubs are permitted to make a local rule if it is desired to protect small trees. The wording of the Local Rule adopted is recommended by Golf Australia to make it clear what is covered by the “Staked Tree” Local Rule.

(a) Stones in bunkers are movable obstructions (Rule 24-1 applies).

Commentary - Stones in Bunkers

By definition, stones in bunkers are loose impediments and therefore when a player’s ball is in a hazard, a stone lying in or touching the hazard must not be touched or moved. However, stones in bunkers may represent danger to players (a player could be injured by a stone struck by a player’s club in an attempt to play the ball). Stones in bunkers at some courses may also interfere with the proper playing of the game.

(a) All water hazards on the course are marked and defined by red stakes and/or red lines and are deemed to be Lateral Water Hazards;

(b) BALL PLAYED PROVISIONALLY UNDER RULE 26.1 – doubt whether a ball is in or is lost in a water hazard – the specimen Local Rule “5. Water Hazards – Playing Ball Provisionally Under Rule 26.1” as described in Appendix I Part A of the rules of Golf is in effect, provided that, if the original ball is not found, it is known or virtually certain that it is in the water hazard.

Commentary - Water Hazards

R&A Rules Limited requires that stakes and lines defining the boundaries of Lateral Water Hazards must be red. The Club has decided that all water hazards on the course are deemed to be Lateral Water Hazards and, to remove doubt, only those areas defined by red stakes and/or red lines are classed as Water Hazards.

Ball Played Provisionally under Rule 26.1: The Club has decided that sufficient reason exists, in accordance with the Rules, to introduce a Local Rule permitting the play of a ball provisionally under Rule 26-1. The wording of the applicable specimen Local Rule is adopted – viz:

“If there is doubt whether a ball is in or is lost in a water hazard, the player may play another ball provisionally under any of the applicable options in Rule 26-1. If the original ball is found outside the water hazard, the player must continue to play with it. If the original ball is found in the water hazard, the player may either play the original ball as it lies or continue with the ball played provisionally under Rule 26-1.  If the original is not found or identified within the five-minute search period, the player must continue with the ball played provisionally.”