RULES OF PLAY
All club play, tournaments and events are governed by the Golf Canada/AGA Rules of Golf and Code of Conduct.
Members are encouraged to acquire and become familiar with the Rules of Golf. A full PDF version and/or a Quick Guide are available on-line for viewing and printing on the websites for:
- Golf Canada at http://golfcanada.ca/rules-of-golf/#rules-of-golf
- Alberta Golf at http://www.albertagolf.org/education/rules/ (Easy Guide to the Rules)
Golf Canada, Under Appendix 1 Part A of Rules of Golf, allows each club/course to make and publish Local Rules as long as they are consistent with the policy established in the Rules of Golf. Recommended Sample local rules are provided covering various topics such as course boundaries, protection, and conditions as well as obstructions, water hazards, drop zones and distant measuring devices. The VLGC has adopted some of these for members to use as noted below. The hole specific, accidental movement of ball, and use of measuring devices are in place for all league play. However, the ones relating to "ADVERSE COURSE CONDITIONS" must be declared prior to the game by the designated VLGC Executive as outlined below or players will be assessed a penalty.
Hole Specific - Local Rule for VLGC
Hole #13 - Relief without penalty is available from the drainage ditch provided the ball is dropped within one club length behind the ditch. If the ball is dropped beyond one club length, the penalty is one stroke. Golfers have the option to play the ball as it lies in the ditch.
Hole #18 - A lower tee box has been added to Hole #18. Our members will continue to use the upper tee box for Tuesday play until the course has been re-rated. Outside of league play, members can choose either tee box and will enter this score accordingly. The hole will remain a par five from either box for the purposes of handicap.
Distance Measuring Devices - Local Rule for VLGC
Players are permitted to use a device that measures distance only. If the device has sound in addition to a screen, it must be on mute during play so as to not bother other players. Devices designed to gauge or measure other conditions that might affect play (e.g. gradient, wind speed, temperature, etc) are not permitted. The player is in breach of Rule 14-3 for which the penalty is disqualification, regardless of weather any such additional function is actually used, Sharing of distance information with fellow competitors is permitted as this information is not advice.
Accidental Movement of a Ball on the Putting Green - Local Rule for VLGC
Golf Canada is allowing all Committees in charge of a course to adopt this as a local rule to eliminate the current penalty for any accidental movement of a ball or marker on the putting green. The proposed changes to the Rule of Golf will not come into effect for a few years so this is a temporary solution to put less emphasis on the cause of the ball's movement, only on the putting green, for the benefit of players.
When a player's ball lies on the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball marker is accidentally moved by the player, his partner, his opponent, or any of their equipment. The moved ball must be replaced to the original position. However, if the ball moved as a result of wind, water or some other natural cause such as the effects of gravity the ball must be played as it lies from its new location.
ADVERSE COURSE CONDITIONS - LOCAL RULES
One of the basic principles of golf is that the ball be played as it lies. However, Golf Canada does allow players to move a ball if it lands in a marked ground under repair area (Rule 25). There is also provision for Local Rules that may adopted for various adverse course conditions. The authority to then make the determination on course conditions lies with the Handicap Committee, not with individual players independently making the decision.
Official notice of enacting one of these local rules will be included on the tee sheet or with large signs at the registration desk prior to the first group going out. When so advised of the local rule declaration, members should follow the proper procedures as noted. If the local rules are Not declared by the club, but the player uses them anyway, the penalty is two strokes for stroke play, loss of hole for match play.
Local Rule for Cleaning Ball (Lift, Clean and Replace)
Decisions about the few times of using “Lift, Clean, and Place” will be made by the Course Professional and a member of the Executive in the following order. First the Sports Captain, or in her absence the President, or in her absence, a member of the Handicap Committee prior to tournaments if there has been some adverse weather conditions. The Local Rule will be in effect for that day only.
Declaration - Used when conditions, such as extreme wetness cause significant amounts of mud to adhere to the ball.
Rule - "On the fairway a ball may be lifted and cleaned without penalty. The ball must be replaced"
Procedure - mark ball, lift, then clean and place back down (not dropped)
Penalty - failure to mark the ball before being lifted, is a one stroke penalty.
Local Rule for Preferred Lies (Winter Rules)
Use of the "Preferred Lies" local rule will generally be only at the beginning of the season depending on the course condition. Therefore the Handicap Chair Chair, or in her absence a Handicap Committee member, will confirm with the Head Professional by Sunday each week then inform the Sports Caption so the decision can be included on the tee sheet. The decision will remain in place for all VLGC events (e.g. in house trophy competitions, EGA Marshall/Podersky) until the following week.
If at a later time in the season, that course conditions would be deemed unacceptable to visitors, the Marshall?Podersky coordinator, after consultation with the club professional, may declare the rule only for that game on the day of play.
Declaration - Used early in the season when adverse fairway conditions are so general throughout the course, adopting the local rule for improving the lie of the ball is a specified way would promote fair play or help protect the course from excessive damage.
Rule - "A ball lying on the fairway maybe lifted, without penalty, and cleaned. Before lifting the ball, the player must mark its position. Having lifted the ball, she must place it on a spot within a one club length of and not nearer the hole than where it originally lay, that is not in a hazard and not a putting green.
Procedure - If the ball lands on an unplayable surface on cut fairway only, mark the ball, lift (and clean if needed). Measure one club length, then place ball (not dropped) within the club length. If the ball moves after placement, it must be played as it lies (i.e. can place only once).
Penalty - If not declared by the Committee and the player uses the rule, two stroke penalty for stroke play, loss of hole for match play. Any members choosing to make a decision on Preferred Lies (i.e. winter rules) without proper authority could also be subject to having their Handicap Factor removed for a period of time or disqualified from a tournament.
Note: If a player fails to mark the position of the ball before lifting it or moves the ball in another manner such as rolling it with a club, there is a one stroke penalty.
Pitfalls in Adopting Preferred Lies (from Golf Canada Handicap Manual):
Although the use of the Preferred Lies Local Rule is common in Canada in early spring, it should be used with caution. Implementing such a local rule when conditions do not warrant has the effect of artificially lowering players' handicap because it allows players to create a "perfect" lie for every stroke. It should be withdrawn as soon as conditions improve.
- Such a local rule conflicts with the fundamental principle of playing the ball as it lies.
- A Preferred Lies Rule is sometimes adopted under the guise of protecting the course when, in fact, the practical effect is just the opposite. It permits moving the ball to the best turf, from which divots are taken to injure the course further.
- Preferred Lies tends to generally lower scores and a Handicap Factor, thus penalizing players in competition with players whose scores are made without Preferred Lies.
- Extended use or indiscriminate use of Preferred Lies will place players at a disadvantage when competing at a course where the ball must be played as it lies.
If your ball is in trouble and you do not know the rule, play a second ball in the area close to the point of entry, hole out, and keep score for both balls. When the round is completed, ask the Club Pro or Assistant Pro for a ruling. In tournament play, players may not agree to violate a rule. Penalty is disqualification to all players involved. Report concerns to the Sports Captain or President.
During a game, including Tuesday morning play, you may not ask anyone for advice nor give advice on how to play. An example of this would be asking a fellow player what club was used for a particular shot. However, you may ask about rules or for public information such as distances, the position of hazards, or the flagstick.