General: USGA The Rules of Golf apply with the addition of the two State SIR rules and our Branch 116 local rules. The golf rule book is long and complex. If in doubt, consult the Handicap Chairman or someone from the Golf Committee to get a clarification after the round.
State SIR Golf Rules:
- Except in a hazard or on the green, the ball may be moved up to 6 inches, no closer to the hole.
- If you have not hit a provisional ball, and you find your ball is lost or out of bounds, you may drop a ball at a point within two club lengths of where it is agreed the ball was lost or went out of bounds. You count your swings, plus TWO penalty strokes.
Branch 116 Rules:
- The highest score you can record for a hole is the NCGA maximum. This is the same maximum which is reported to the NCGA for handicap calculation. (This rule only applies during Branch 116 weekly tournaments.)
- “Gimmee” Putt — If a putt is within 12 inches of the hole, it may be considered a “gimmee” putt as determined by the Captain. It still counts as a stroke, but may be picked-up. (This rule only applies during Branch 116 weekly tournaments.)
- The proper way to allocate strokes in one-on-one match play is to subtract the lower handicap from the higher, then assign the difference to the weaker player. For example, if Player A’s handicap is 14 and Player B’s handicap is 26, Player A’s 14 is subtracted from Player B’s 26, leaving 12. Player B now takes strokes on the top 12 handicap holes, while Player A plays from scratch.
- For two-man match play, the same principle applies. The lowest handicap player plays from scratch and the other 3 players determine their handicaps by subtracting the lowest handicap player’s handicap from their own and take strokes on the top handicap holes indicated. For example, if Players A, B, C & D have handicaps of 12, 24, 30 & 32, respectively, Player A would play from scratch and Players B, C, & D would take strokes on the top 12, 18, & 20 holes (Player D takes 2 stokes on the top 2 handicap holes), respectively.
- Flight 1 players playing from the White tees need to adjust their scorecard handicap if any tournament competitor is playing from the forward tees. They do so by taking the difference between the course ratings for the two tees, rounded to the nearest whole number, and adding it to their White tee handicap.
USGA Golf Rules Highlights:
- “Gimmee” putts are not allowed.
- “Mulligans” are not allowed.
- You may take a free drop within one club length of the nearest point of relief, and no closer to the hole, from: casual water, staked trees, sprinklers, animal holes, paved cart paths, etc.
- You may NOT take a free drop from: a hazard, a boundary fence, or a drainage ditch, unless specifically allowed on the scorecard.
- You may not move anything (except a rake) or ground your club, in a hazard or bunker.
- If you have hit a provisional ball because your think your original ball might be out of bounds or lost, you must play your original ball if it is found in bounds.
- The penalty for out of bounds (or lost ball) is: the stroke is counted, a penalty stroke is added, and another ball must be hit from the same spot as before. (See the special State SIR rule (#2 above) which is designed to speed up play by avoiding going back to the previous spot).
- Yellow stakes are a water hazard. You may hit the ball as it lies in a water hazard with no penalty, provided you do not ground your club. If you choose not to do that, you must add one penalty stroke, and do one of the following:
- Drop the ball behind the water hazard, on the line from the pin to the point of entry to the water hazard, or
- Hit again from the original spot.
- Red stakes are a lateral hazard. You may hit the ball as it lies in a lateral hazard with no penalty, provided you do not ground your club. If you choose not to do that, you must add one penalty stroke, and do one of the following:
- Drop within two club lengths of the point the ball last entered the hazard, but no closer to the hole. (Note that you may also drop in exactly the same way on the opposite side of the hazard, equidistant from the hole. This is NOT true with yellow stakes).
- Hit again from the original spot.
- Drop on the opposite side of the hazard, within two club lengths of the hazard edge, equidistant from the point of entry, and no closer to the hole.
- Drop on the line from the pin, through the point that the ball entered the hazard, as far back of the hazard as you wish.
- You may take an unplayable lie at any time, except when your ball is in a water hazard. However, you must take a one stroke penalty. If you take an unplayable lie, you may do one of the following:
- Drop the ball within two club lengths and no closer to the hole.
- Hit again from the previous spot.
- Drop on the line from the pin through where your ball lies, extending away from your ball as far as you wish.
(If your ball is in a bunker, you drop under a. or c. above must be in the bunker).
- Hitting the wrong ball requires addition of two penalty strokes, then you hit your own ball from where it lies. (The swing at the wrong ball does not count as a stroke).
- Putting from the green surface and hitting another player’s ball that is on the green, requires addition of two penalty strokes. If this happens, you hit from where your ball ended, and the other player replaces his ball as near as possible to where it was before it was hit.
MAXIMUM STROKES. The maximum strokes a player can take on a given hole, for handicap calculation purposes, and for our club weekly tournaments, is found by using today’s handicap in looking at the following table:
Today’s handicap Maximum strokes for the hole
9 or less————————- double bogey
40 and up ——————————– 10
- Your handicap can vary from day to day. Your index is constant for the entire month, but if you play a different course, the slopemay be different, and when you look up your handicap for the day in the “slope table”, you may have a different handicap.
- Your maximum strokes may vary from day to day. Golfers with indexes near to multiples of 10 have to be particularly careful as their handicap change from day to day may cause them to cross the boundary to a different number of maximum strokes.
INDEX. You may find your monthly index on the Internet at www.ncga.org by going to “Your Handicap Index” and then entering your NCGA number. Usually your index will also be available on a list at the monthly luncheons and our golf outings. The NCGA no longer provides us “index stickers” to put on our NCGA cards.
POSTING SCORES. You are supposed to post all rounds into the NCGA computers. If there is a problem with the computer at the golf course, you can post it at another golf course, or go to the Internet at www.ncga.org, then go to “Internet Score Posting”, etc.
If you play as many as SEVEN golf holes you are still expected to report the results to the NCGA computer.
- If you play 7-12 holes, a 9-hole score is reported.
- If you play 13-17 holes, an 18-hole score is reported.
The missing holes are scored as par , plus the handicap strokes you are allowed for that hole.
Fast Play Guidelines
Playing briskly and keeping up with the group ahead makes the game more enjoyable for all. To help eliminate slow play problems, golfers are encouraged to:
- Take no more than one practice swing.
- Play “ready golf”! Do not worry about honors, or who is farther away. Hit when ready as long as no one is in the way, or will be disturbed. Shorter hitters may hit first if the longer hitter would have to wait.
- Watch all balls hit by the group so all can help find the balls as rapidly as possible. If a ball is not readily found, all players should search vigorously for 4 minutes maximum, then drop another ball, take TWO shots penalty, and move on.
- Whenever possible, plan your next shot, select your club, and take your practice swing, while the other players are playing.
- Whenever possible, power cart drivers should drop a player off at his ball and then proceed to the other ball and get ready to hit.
- Always take a club, or several clubs, to your ball when you leave your golf bag or power cart.
- Power cart riders should clean their clubs, put them back into their golf bag, etc., while others are playing, not when they could be driving to a player’s ball.
- Take your clubs and cart to the back or side of the green closest to the next hole, before taking your clubs to pitch, chip, or putt around the green.
- Do not wait to start putting until all balls are on the green. The farthest from the hole does not need to hit first.
- After putting, putt again immediately unless you will be stepping in someone’s line. If so, immediately mark your ball.
- After taking your stroke, do not practice putt, or practice swing if it will interfere or delay anyone.
- After completing a hole, move briskly to the next hole, then put away your clubs and record the score.