USGA Rules govern ALL PLAY.  DISREGARD any local rules on club scorecards.




a) Defined by the course side edge, at ground level, of white stakes, lines and perimeter fence posts.


b) When the course side edge of a paved road or curb defines out of bounds, a ball that is on or beyond the road or curb is out of bounds even though it may lie on another part of the golf course.


c) If a ball is out of bounds, the player must play another shot from where she previously played and add a penalty stroke to her score – also known as “stroke and distance”.



MEASURING DISTANCE:  Lasers/GPS devices to measure distance are allowed.  Features that measure slope/wind must be turned off.






Unless otherwise provided in local golf course conditions for the day, there is no free relief from the following conditions:


a)        Artificial walls, bulkheads and pilings within water hazards…these structures are “integral to the course”


b)        Wrappings and wire around trees


c)        Coquina/sand/shell rock cart paths




FREE RELIEF – Unless otherwise noted, drop the ball within ONE CLUB LENGTH of the Nearest Point of Relief-no closer to the hole/not in a hazard  (Note: the Nearest Point of Relief is not always the “Nicest Point of Relief” – the NEAREST POINT OF RELIEF MUST BE USED)




1. GROUND UNDER REPAIR (GUR) is defined by a white line encircling the area.  Other areas of GUR, even when not marked, include:


a) French drains (trenches filled with stones or the like)


b) Fire ant hills (Note:  No free relief if there is other interference, such as the ball is resting against a tree.  See Decision 1-4/10.)


c) Sod seams and newly sodded areas:  Relief for a ball lying in a sod seam or if a sod seam interferes with your swing, NOT your stance. 




2. LOOSE IMPEDIMENTS:  Wood chips and mulch are loose impediments and may be moved (EXCEPTION: NOT in a water hazard or bunker).  If the ball moves as a direct result of moving ANY loose impediments, there is a 1-stroke penalty and the ball must be replaced.  Removing loose impediments when the ball is in a bunker or water hazard is loss of hole for that player only.






a) STONES/SHELLS in bunkers are movable obstructions. They may be removed. If the ball moves, replace it – NO PENALTY.


b) SPRINKLER HEADS CLOSE TO/ON PUTTING GREEN: If a ball lies just off the green and a sprinkler head within two club-lengths of the putting green/on the putting green and within two club-lengths of the ball intervenes on the line of play between the ball and the hole, the player may take relief as follows: The ball must be lifted and dropped ONLY at the nearest point to where the ball lay that is not nearer the hole, avoids intervention and is not in a hazard or on a putting green. If the ball, after being dropped, rolls more than two club lengths away, into a hazard or closer to the hole, it must be re-dropped.  If the ball rolls away in a similar way again, place the ball where it hit the ground the second time.  Exception: A player may NOT take free relief under this Local Rule if the player were otherwise unable to make a stroke if the sprinkler head were not there.




4. EMBEDDED BALL:  A ball embedded (“plugged”) in its own pitch-mark in the fairway or rough may be lifted, cleaned and dropped ONLY near the original spot , no closer to the hole.  If the ball rolls back into the pitch mark, it may be redropped once.  If it happens again, place the ball where it last hit the ground.  YOU MAY NOT REPAIR THE PITCH-MARK UNTIL AFTER YOU PLAY THE BALL.  NO FREE RELIEF IF THE BALL IS EMBEDDED IN SAND (bunker or other sandy areas) OR IN A WATER HAZARD.






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, her partner, her opponent, or equipment. The moved ball or ball-marker must be replaced where it originally lay.  This Rule applies only when the player’s ball or ball-marker lies on the putting green and any movement is accidental. If a player, partner or opponent INTENTIONALLY MOVES HER BALL (picks it up without marking it, strikes it away in anger), the ball MUST BE REPLACED with a 1-stroke penalty added to her score.


Note: If it is determined that a player’s ball on the putting green was 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. A ball-marker moved in such circumstances is replaced.




CLAIMS:  If you are unsure of a rule in MATCH PLAY and want to make a CLAIM, YOU MUST MAKE the CLAIM as follows:


·         Tell the player that you do not think the rules allow her to:  State the infraction in question; such as taking two club lengths for free relief or dropping a ball where it went OB instead of going back for stroke and distance.


·         Tell the player you intend to file a claim about the ruling BEFORE she tees off on the next hole or, if the group is on the last hole of the match, leaves the green of the final hole played.


·         Tell her you are requesting a ruling for the claim.


If you learn about a rules violation several holes after it happened, and had no prior knowledge of the infraction, such as a player saying that she played a wrong ball two holes ago, then you must go through the above procedure BEFORE she tees off on the next hole or leaves the green of the final hole played.  Report the Claim(s) to the Rules Chairman for the Cup at the conclusion of play – BEFORE SCORING.




NOTE:  Playing a second ball under Rule 3-3 when uncertain about a ruling is NOT an option in match play.  A player who plays a second ball under Rule 3-3 loses (is disqualified from) the hole.  Her partner is not disqualified from the hole, and may continue play, however.