Local rules

PLAYING THROUGH — A foursome of ducklings, plus Mom, head toward the bridge that crosses the creek at No. 18. (Photo by Diane Borden)

Local rules, etiquette of golf

USGA rules govern all play, except when modified by the following local rules:

Drainage ditches: The large concrete drainage ditches on holes 1, 2, 17 and 18 are considered immovable obstructions. If a ball lands in these areas, the player may take free relief, i.e., one club length’s relief from the ball’s point of entry, no closer to the hole.

Sprinkler heads: These immovable objects in the line of play close to the green are defined as (1) within two club lengths of the putting green and (2) within two club lengths of the ball. The player may drop a ball within one club length of the nearest point of relief, no closer to the hole.

Ground under repair: If your ball is in the fairway in an area that obviously should be marked as ground under repair, you may drop the ball outside that area if the entire group (for example, your foursome) agrees that the area should be marked as ground under repair. Stay in the fairway, no closer to the hole.

Lift, clean and place: Preferred lies/winter rules apply only if designated by the Rules Chair or if the Pro Shop has declared “cart-path-only” for the entire course. In the event winter rules are posted, a player may lift, clean and place her ball within one club length of its original position, but no nearer the hole. This rule shall be in effect for fairways only.

Penalty areas: The areas on the course that have yellow stakes (holes 11, 15 and 18) are to be played as red-stake penalty areas, which allows for lateral relief as well as stroke-and-distance relief and back-on-the-line relief.

No-drop area: RBIWGC does not recognize the drop area on hole 11. Although the water is marked as a yellow-stake penalty area, it should be played as a red-stake penalty area, per USGA rule 17.1d.

Practice strokes: To maintain speed of play, no practice strokes shall be taken after holing out on any hole, under penalty of two strokes.

Out of bounds (definition): A ball is defined as out-of-bounds by white stakes and/or perimeter fences, except on holes 14 and 16, where the golf-course edge of the concrete curb is the boundary.

Out-of-bounds (penalty): If a player believes she has hit her ball out of bounds or it is lost, she has two options: (1) for a one-stroke penalty, declare a provisional ball and hit another ball from the spot where the original ball was hit; or (2) for a two-stroke penalty, take relief by dropping the original or substituted ball in an area between the point where the ball is estimated to have come to rest or gone out of bounds and the edge of the fairway (up to two club lengths into the fairway), not nearer the hole. Players may NOT use this option when the ball is known or virtually certain to be resting in a penalty area or when a provisional ball has been played.

Bunker play: Stones in the bunker are movable obstructions if: (a) to play the ball, a player could be injured by a stone struck by the player’s club; or (b) the stone interferes with the proper playing of the game. A player is allowed to remove loose impediments and moveable obstructions in a bunker, including any reasonable touching or movement of the sand in the bunker that  happens while doing so.

Foursomes: Play is limited to a maximum of four players in each group. Groups of five are not allowed.

Forgo Sweeps: If Club members do not wish to compete in the Sweeps event of the day, they may elect to play at the end of the field.

Measuring devices: Players are allowed to use distance-measuring devices to measure distances on the course 

Other helpful rules:

  • When a player’s ball lies on the putting green, there is no penalty if the player, her partner, her opponent, or any of their equipment accidentally moves the ball or ball-marker. The moved ball or ball-marker must be replaced.
  • A dropped ball is to be taken from knee height [14.3b(2)].
  • A player may always substitute a ball when taking relief [6.3b(1)].
  • A player may leave the flagstick in the hole or have it removed but must decide before making a stroke. There is no penalty if a ball in motion hits the flagstick [13.2].
  • Another option for an unplayable ball in the bunker is to take back-on-the-line relief outside the bunker for a two-stroke penalty [19.3b].


Golf etiquette hints

All Club members are expected to follow the USGA Rules of Golf and abide by the conditions, rules and regulations of the Club. In addition, Club members should be aware of the etiquette of golf. The list below provides some helpful tips:

  • Never talk during another player’s swing.
  • Do not yell out following a shot. This may be disruptive to others on the course.
  • Never walk through a player’s putting line.
  • Be aware of your shadow on the putting green. Your shadow may interfere with another player’s putting line.

 Be kind to the course

  • Observe all cart rules.
  • Keep carts away from greens and hazards.
  • Repair divots in the fairways.
  • Repair your ball marks on the greens.

Keep it safe

  • Do not swing your club until you are sure others in your group are at a safe distance. Likewise, keep your distance when others are swinging.
  • When practicing a swing, never swing in the direction of another player.
  • Do not hit a ball until you are certain the group ahead of you is out of range.
  • If your ball appears to be headed toward another player or group, give them a warning by yelling out, “FORE.”
  • Observe the safety suggestions posted in the golf carts. Please drive carefully!