Loco Locals: Rule 33-8 Local Rules
At every competition, Local Rules and Conditions of Competitions are provided on the score card or a Notice to Players, here we talk a little bit more about what that means for you the competitor.
The Committee in charge of that particular competition has established these slight variations to the Rules of Golf to make the competition more equitable for all players or to account for peculiarities of the course being played. While a Local Rule may never waive a Rule of Golf, Rule 33-8 permits the Committee to enact certain Local Rules to supplement the thirty four official Rules of Golf. The permission granted for Local Rules in 33-8 is not a license for reckless modifications of the Rules of Golf and additional Local Rules must comply with the policy set forth in Appendix I located in the back of your Rules of Golf booklet.
As you work your way through this month’s quiz, we would like to caution you about a Notice to Players that you may receive at a tournament, particularly at a club event, as the Notice may be inaccurate or incomplete. In participating in higher level events, such as OGA Championships, the Notices will always be complete and accurate. But at the club level, such is often times not the case. The Committee in charge of such an event may indeed have intended to invoke certain Local Rules, but failed to note it on the Notice (and as a result won’t penalize players who played under the Rule). When in doubt, always ask before your round. In fact, one of the questions below involves a scenario that is often times over-looked at less organized events.
In each of the following situations, determine if the Committee has the authority to make such a Local Rule.
- The Committee may enact a Local Rule providing relief from a divot hole or repaired divot holes.
- Areas of extreme rough may be marked as a lateral water hazard and a Local Rule may be established providing relief for pace of play issues.
- As of the 2012 revisions to the Rules, distance measuring devices are now legal under the Rules of Golf and a Local Rule allowing their use in not needed.
- Two putting greens are located near each other and balls often come to rest on the wrong putting green. Since relief is required and the nearest point of relief is on the fringe, much damage is occurring to this fringe. The Committee may make a Local Rule requiring the player to drop off the fringe.
- The Committee may declare stones in bunkers as movable obstructions by Local Rule.
- Several greens are in repair and the Committee has established temporary greens. They may also enact a Local Rule stating that a player whose ball lies on a temporary green may pick up counting two putts.
- In stroke play only, the Committee may establish a Local Rule allowing players to hit their tee shots on hole #9 before putting out on hole #8. This is to prevent players from having to climb back up a hill to the ninth teeing ground.
- Without a Local Rule in place for seams of cut turf, a player may only take relief from such seams if the area has been declared ground under repair.
- The Committee may make a Local Rule allowing a player to replay a stroke, with no penalty, if his ball strikes a power line.
- A ball that crosses a public road, defined as out of bounds, and comes to rest on another part of the course is in bounds unless a Local Rule is in place stating otherwise.
- False. Rule 13-1 states that the ball must be played as it lies, except as otherwise provided in the Rules. Such a Local Rule would modify this basic premise of the Rules. See Decision 33-8/34.
- False. Local Rules may be established for abnormal conditions not often encountered while playing. In this case, extreme rough is not unusual and a Committee may not declare an area to be a water or lateral water hazard unless it meets the definition of such a hazard. See Decision 33-8/35.
- False. Rule 14-3 prohibits the use of any equipment for the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions that might affect play. However, a note in the same Rule permits a Committee to enact a Local Rule permitting use of devices that measure or gauge distance only. This is the question we referred to in our introduction above. Distance Measuring Devices are almost always intended to be permitted at almost all tournaments, but are rarely mentioned on the Notice.
- True. Decision 33-8/33 suggest the following wording: “For the purpose of Rule 25-3, the putting green of the XX hole includes the apron surrounding the green.”
- True. Many courses have small stones mixed in with their sand and may be hazardous to the players. Appendix I provides the specimen Local Rule allowing the removal of such stones prior to making a stroke from the bunker.
- False. See Decision 33-8/1 and Rule 1-1 which states “The Game of Golf consists in playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.” A Local Rule permitting players to pick up and not hole out waives this most basic Rule of the game.
- False. Any Local Rule allowing a player to put another ball into play prior to holing out on the previous hole waives Rule 3-2 and is not allowed. See Decision 1-1/1.
- True. Most Committees will have this Local Rule in place to prevent further damage to a repaired area. However, many times they will exclude a player’s stance from the definition of interference for this particular Local Rule. See Appendix I.
- False. Such a Local Rule allowing a player to cancel a stroke at his discretion is not allowed. However, a Local Rule requiring the player to cancel the stroke deflected by a power line is authorized. See Decision 33-8/13.
- True. Decision 27/20 says in part, that because it is unfair that a ball on the road is out of bounds and a ball beyond it is in bounds, it is suggested that a Local Rule be established that deems any ball that crossed a public road defined as out of bounds and comes to rest on another part of the course is out of bounds
by OGA Senior Rules Officials: Pete Scholz and Terry McEvilly