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Sherfield Oaks GC Members Website

SOGC LOCAL RULES

Recent Changes to the Local Rules, most recent first (please refer to the full Local Rule for details):

a)   Local Rules C4, (heavy vehicle tracks), has been reinstated, to take account of new bunker and course remodelling work.

b)   Free drop relief from the path, along the right side of 10th hole, Waterloo, now excludes interference with stance. See Local Rule A10 for details.

Always check this web page for the latest Local Rules, as these can change at short notice. There are QR code notices on the clubhouse noticeboard and at Golf Reception, which will take you directly to the Local Rules webpage.

The following is the full text of the current SOGC Local Rules.

INTRODUCTION

The Local Rules which apply at SOGC, include:

Part A: Permanent Local Rules
Part B: Temporary (Winter) Local Rules, which apply only when indicated.
Part C: Additional Temporary Local Rules.

These Local Rules prevail over any other versions of Local Rules which may appear elsewhere. However, players in a competition should also refer to the Conditions of Competition, which may vary these Local Rules, or which may apply additional Local Rules, for the specific competition.


PART A: PERMANENT LOCAL RULES

A1.      OUT OF BOUNDS

Out of Bounds is defined by the line between the course-side points, at ground level, of white stakes and course boundary fence posts.

A ball coming to rest anywhere inside the main clubhouse building is Out of Bounds.

Exception: There are sections of broken-down barbed wire and post fences to the left of 15th hole, Wellington and to the right of 14th hole, Waterloo. These do not define the course boundary and are not “Boundary Objects”. Those parts of the old fences which remain, including some barbed wire embedded in the ground, are Immovable Obstructions. For any parts which lie within the course boundary, relief from interference can be taken under Rule 16.

example photos of broken down fencing

A2.      PROTECTION OF YOUNG TREES IDENTIFIED BY STAKES OR RIBBONS

The young trees identified by attached stakes or coloured ribbons are No Play Zones.

If a player’s ball lies anywhere on the course, other than in a Penalty Area and it lies on or touches such a tree, or such a tree interferes with the player’s stance or area of intended swing, the player MUST take full relief, under Rule 16.1f.

A3.      BUILDINGS AND SHELTERS

All buildings and shelters within the bounds of the Course are integral parts of the Course. The Clubhouse is out of bounds (see A1).

A4.      GROUND UNDER REPAIR

Areas marked as GUR, either with a stake or sign, enclosed by a white line, or as otherwise defined within these Local Rules, or within the Definitions section of the Rules of Golf. Relief may be taken under Rule 16.

A5.      POWERLINES AND POLES

If it is known or virtually certain that a player’s ball hit a power line, or any part of a tower or pole supporting a power line, during the play of the 3rd or 4th hole of the Waterloo course, the stroke does not count. The player MUST play a ball, without penalty, from where the previous stroke was made: Rule 14.6.

Note 1: Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place, in Breach of a Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.

A6.      ELECTRICITY POLE ON THE WATERLOO THIRD (3RD) FAIRWAY

If a ball comes to rest at the base of the pole within the loose material or such that the pole or the loose material interferes with the swing or stance, the player may take relief, without penalty, subject to Rule 16.1 (Immovable Obstruction).

A7.      INTERFERENCE BY DRAINAGE LINE GROOVES

Parallel drainage lines, running across the approaches to the greens on the 6th, 10th, 11th and 14th holes, Waterloo, may have grooves above them and some deeper holes along the grooves.

There are also new drainage lines on the 8th hole, Waterloo and 2nd hole, Wellington. If a ball comes to rest, in the General Area, in one of these grooves or holes, the player may take relief under Rule 16.1b. But relief is not available if the groove only interferes with the player’s stance.

Note that the greenkeepers have begun filling in these grooves with sand and soil, in order to bring them up to the surrounding fairway level. However, this has yet to fully level the grooves. For the time being, these drainage lines remain covered by this local rule.

A8.      AERATION HOLES ON THE PUTTING GREEN

If a player’s ball on the Putting Green lies in or touches an aeration hole, the player may take relief under Rule 16.1d. But interference does not exist if the aeration hole only interferes with the player’s line of play.

A9.      OPPOSITE SIDE PENALTY RELIEF FROM DITCH TO RIGHT OF 10TH HOLE, WATERLOO

When a player’s ball is in the ditch to the right of the 10th hole, Waterloo, the player may take penalty relief, using one of the options under Rule 17.1d.

In addition, as an extra penalty relief option, the player may drop the original ball, or another ball, on the opposite side of the penalty area to that on which the player believes the ball to have last crossed the boundary of the ditch.

Ref. B-2 Relief on Opposite Side of Red Penalty Area

[Note that such “opposite side relief” is not available for any other penalty areas on the SOGC courses.]

Reference Point: The estimated point on the opposite edge of the penalty area that is the same distance from the hole as the estimated point where the original ball last crossed the edge of the red penalty area.
Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: Two club-lengths, but no nearer the hole than the Reference Point.

A10      RELIEF FROM BALL ON PATH TO RIGHT OF 10TH, WATERLOO

This path is an Immovable Obstruction and free relief is available if the player’s ball comes to rest on the path. The player may drop the original ball or another ball, without penalty, no nearer the hole and within one clublength of the Nearest Point of Relief, (see Rule 16,1b). However, Rule 16.1a is modified in this way:

“Relief is not allowed if the path along the right of the 10th hole Waterloo only interferes with the player’s stance.”

[Essentially, this rule means that relief can only be taken if the player’s ball actually lies on the path. The Nearest Point of Relief (NPR) is then just off whichever side of the path is nearest to where the ball came to rest. See diagram below.]

A11      PENALTY AREA AND NO PLAY ZONE TO LEFT OF 10TH, WATERLOO

The deep ditch which runs along the left side of this hole is part of a Red Penalty Area, the right hand boundary of which is marked with red posts. This Penalty Area includes the ditch itself and all ground to the left of the ditch, extending to infinity (and beyond 🚀).

All ground to the left of the ditch is a “No Play Zone”. If a ball comes to rest in this No Play Zone, the player MAY NOT play it as it lies and MUST take one of the Penalty Area relief options in Rule 17.1d.

A12.      PRACTICE ON THE COMPETITION COURSE

Rule 5.2b in the Rules of Golf 2019, is modified in this way:

A player may practice on the competition course before a competition round or between rounds in a multi-round competition.


PART B: ADDITIONAL TEMPORARY “WINTER” LOCAL RULES

B1. “Preferred Lies” Reinstated, effective from 13th October, 2023, until further notice

When any part of a player’s ball touches part of the general area cut to fairway height or less, the player may take free relief once by placing the original ball or another ball in, and playing it from, this relief area:

Reference Point: Spot of the original ball.

Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: 6 inches from the reference point, but with these limits:

Limits on Location of Relief Area: Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and must be in the general area.

In proceeding under this Local Rule, the player must choose a spot to place the ball and use the procedures for replacing a ball under Rules 14.2b(2) and 14.2e. But, for the purposes of applying Rule 14.2e, the player has only chosen the spot on which to place the ball once the ball has been set down, and the player has let the ball go with the intent for that ball to be in play.

After a ball has been placed and is in play under this Local Rule, if the player then proceeds under another Rule that provides relief, this Local Rule may be used again.

Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.

B2. “Mud Ball” – Reinstated, effective from 18 November, until further notice

When a player’s ball lies in the General Area, the ball may be lifted, cleaned and replaced without penalty. The player must mark the spot of the ball before lifting it (see Rule 14.1) and the ball must be replaced on its original spot (see Rule 14.2).

Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty under Rule 14.7a.


PART C: TEMPORARY LOCAL RULES

C1.     RELIEF FROM AREA OF NEW PATIO

As construction of the new patio is now complete, this local rule has been revised as follows:

The narrow strip of ground, between the clubhouse-side edge of the tarmac buggy path and the sleeper wall of the patio is GUR. It is planned that this area will be planted with shrubs etc. in due course.

The sleeper wall, steps, patio paving area and any structure or furniture within the patio area are all Immovable Obstructions.

The GUR area and patio obstructions, as defined above, are all No Play Zones. If a ball comes to rest within any of these elements, or if any such element interferes with the player’s stance or area of swing, then relief MUST be taken by the player. In either case, relief must be taken according to:

Rule 16.1b, (Relief from Interference from Abnormal Course Condition),
Rule 16.1f, (No Play Zone) and
Rule 14.3 (Dropping Ball in Relief Area). 

Note that the Nearest Point of Complete Relief (NPR) may be some distance from where the ball has come to rest in the patio area, because the NPR may NOT be nearer to the hole than where the ball had come to rest.

[Note: we are considering the future provision of a Drop Zone, as an alternative for taking relief under this rule.]

Failure to take relief under this Local Rule, or playing from a Wrong Place, incurs the General Penalty.

C2.       BUNKER CONSTRUCTION works on WELLINGTON COURSE: GUR and TIO

The programme of bunker works on the Wellington course is now complete.

Bunkers
All new and re-modelled bunkers on all holes, 1-18, are now back in play, (GUR relief is no longer available), unless marked otherwise.

Areas of bunker works adjacent to bunkers
Areas of the bunker works, adjacent to the bunkers on holes 1-18, where the ground has been disturbed by the works and is still uneven, or has been newly reseeded or re-turfed, remain as GUR. The player may, at their option, either play the ball as it lies or take GUR relief. We expect the GUR status of these areas to be revised during the summer: hopefully, but not necessarily, all at the same time. Please check this Local Rule regularly for changes.

When GUR relief is taken, the player must proceed according to Rule 16. In summary:
a) Determine the nearest point of complete relief, (NPR), which must be in the General Area and which must also be no nearer to the hole than where the ball lies.
b) Drop a ball within one club-length from the NPR; the ball must come to rest in the Relief Area – in particular no nearer the hole than the NPR.
Note that GUR relief is available when there is interference to either: the lie of the ball, the player’s stance or area of swing. Check out the detail of the rule here: Ref: Rule 16.1b (Relief from GUR in General Area).

C3      crow damage – rule clarification and amendment

Pecked-hole damage, by crows and other birds, on our putting greens, can often interfere with fair play, not only due to their number but also because some are quite substantial holes and are not practical for the player to repair.

Such pecked holes are “Animal Holes”, as defined in the Rules of Golf and relief is available under Rule 16.1a(1) and Rule 16.1d.

If the ball is on the Putting Green and either: a) the ball is in or touching a pecked hole, or b) such a hole lies on the Line of Play, free relief may be taken. The player may place a ball on the nearest spot, whether this is on the Putting Green or in the General Area, which is no nearer the hole and which provides complete relief from the interference.

In relation to pecked holes, Rule 16.1a is hereby modified, so that relief is not available if the damage only interferes with the area of the player’s intended stance.

C4    GUR RELIEF FROM HEAVY VEHICLE TRACKS
(CONDITIONAL – RULING MUST BE APPROVED BEFORE A strokeplay SCORE IS SUBMITTED or
before a match is concluded, in the case of disagreement between the sides)

Work has begun on remodelling the 3rd hole, Waterloo and “re-bunkering” of the Waterloo course will be ongoing, during 2024. There may also be some work to fix drainage on the fairway bunker on 2nd hole, Wellington. We can expect heavy vehicle tracks to cause unusual damage to ground while these works are carried out on soft ground.

It is not feasible to mark or define all the individual areas where there is vehicle track damage in a Local Rule. Nor, unfortunately, do the Rules of Golf allow players to decide, at their own discretion, whether a lie is entitled to GUR relief. Some tracks may be visible but not deep enough to interfere with playing a shot. However, for more severe cases of track damage on fairways and even in some areas of semi-rough, it is appropriate for the Committee to provide free relief, on a discretionary case-by-case basis.

Accordingly, this Local Rule, C4, provides CONDITIONAL GUR relief, as follows:

Within the General Area, Ground under Repair includes heavy vehicle tracks, if they materially affect the fair playing of the ball. If the ball lies in such a track, the player may take free relief, subject to agreement by The Referee or by  a member of The Committee, before the player returns their score, in Strokeplay or, in the case of disagreement between sides, in Matchplay.

In Strokeplay, the player has these options, when they find their ball in a vehicle track and considers that the lie might be deemed GUR by the Committee:

  1. Play the ball as it lies, or
  2. Take Unplayable Ball Relief, with one-stroke penalty, under Rule 19, or
  3. Invoke the “two ball rule”, Rule 20.1c(3) and report this to the Committee for a ruling, which they must do before returning their score. However, Rule 20.1c(3) has very specific procedures, which must be followed, for the rule to be effective, so the Committee suggests that this option only be used with great care, or
  4. Consider that the Committee is highly likely to agree that GUR relief from the lie is appropriate. In this case, the player may choose to proceed on the assumption that the damage will be ruled GUR. The player must then report the circumstances, for a confirmation ruling, before returning their score. The Referee or the member of The Committee will confirm whether or not the condition was GUR. If not considered GUR, the General Penalty would apply (Playing From Wrong Place, Rule 14.7), or
  5. [RECOMMENDED] The player may choose to take a drop so that the ball comes to rest in a position which is both within the relief area for GUR (Rule 16.1) and in the relief area for an unplayable lie (Rule 19.2). Care is needed: while the two permitted relief areas may overlap, they are not congruent!
    Then, when the incident is reported, before the player submits their score, the Referee or Committee member can rule whether the free drop from GUR applied or whether the unplayable drop rule must apply (1 stroke penalty). This can avoid the risk of the greater (Wrong Place) penalty, even if the lie is ruled not GUR.

In Matchplay, the player can apply one of the above options, except option 3, the “two ball rule”, which is not available in Matchplay. The player only needs to seek a ruling when the sides cannot agree on the use of either option 4 or option 5, above. See Rule 20.1b

Although not mandatory, if the player is able to take a photo of the lie, this will assist the Committee in making a fair ruling.

The attached PDF gives examples as to how the Committee is likely to judge whether GUR relief was permitted.

examples of vehicle tracks

C5 (cracks in ground) and C6 (piled logs) have been withdrawn
C7   WATERLOO BUNKERS GUR

Due to their poor and deteriorating condition, while awaiting bunker reconstruction, all bunkers on the Waterloo course are deemed GUR, until further notice.

The Player may play the ball as it lies, or take free relief, under Rule 16.1b

Reference Point: the nearest point of full relief from interference which is not nearer the hole.
Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: One club-length, but with these limits:

  • Must be in the general area
  • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
  • There must be complete relief from all interference.

If the player opts to play the ball as it lies, the normal restrictions for bunkers would not apply, as these GUR bunkers have lost their status as Bunkers and have become parts of the General Area.