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Rules & Regulations

Rules, Regulations, and Guidelines


1.   Honesty and integrity from all golf players (Participants) engaging in a round must be of utmost importance. Penalty for personally, neglectfully,  or deliberately altering or tampering with scores, scorecards, the course, or the game of golf in general will result in disqualification of membership/registration for an indefinite period of time.

2.   SteepleJAC Athletics scores are based on the final totaled game score (considered "stroke play") for a stipulated round of golf (the "round"). 

3.   The round consists of playing 18 consecutive holes of golf in the correct sequence on a standardized (sloped and rated) course, unless otherwise authorized by officials.

4.   The round scores must be inputted into the specifically designed SteepleJAC scorecard.  If a particular scorecard is not in the inventory it is the responsibility of the player to inform SteepleJAC well in advance to the date of play so that the scorecard can be inputted into the system.

5.   The Participant with the lowest total score for the stipulated round  will be posted on the Leaderboard accordingly.

6.   The Participant's round is further used to calculate a net score which will place the Participant on the respective Leaderboard or on a Tournament Leaderboard if registered.

7.   The Golf Rules, Regulations, and Guidelines (the "Rules") used by SteepleJAC are first and foremost and are based on the general universal rules of golf as well as on the local golf course rules and etiquette.  The following are some basic Rules to be respected and abided by, however, where discrepancies or inadequacies arise – the universal and local course rules will apply.

8.   Participants are required to follow the basic Rules of golf, whereby hitting a golf ball with a golf club. Each participant must hit a designated ball, starting at the teeing ground, 'through the green" (the entire area from teeing ground to the corresponding cup/hole), through all hazards, and proceeding until the ball comes to rest in the corresponding hole. Golf is playing the ball hole by hole and counting the number of strokes required to get the ball from the teeing ground to the corresponding hole. Participants must complete all 18 holes in the same fashion for each round.

9.   A penalty stroke (the "penalty") is one stroke, unless otherwise stipulated, which is added to the score of a Participant under the Rules.

10. Participants are NOT permitted to change or alter the Rules. The Committee may, without notice, change, alter, revise, or enforce the Rules. Local course officials may, without notice, change, alter, revise, or enforce the local course rules.

11. SteepleJAC Athletics Committee (the "Committee") is in charge of the scorecards, the league, and the tournaments. In the absence of the Committee or if it is not feasible to contact the Committee, the local course may rule or general 'fairness' and common sense may be the considered option.

External Devices

1.   In SteepleJAC Athletics regular play, a Participant MAY use devices to obtain distance information, course layout information, gauge or measure other conditions which might affect the Participant's play (e.g. club selection, record and tracking, history of play, wind speed, wind direction, course gradient, temperature, sunrise/sunset, humidity etc.).  Gloves, yardage books, or rangefinder/GPS, etc. are permitted.  The participant will NOT incur penalty for such devices during regular play.

2.   In SteepleJAC Athletics Tournament play ("tournament"), a Participant MAY use devices to obtain distance information, course layout information, gauge or measure other conditions which might affect the Participant's play (e.g. club selection, record and tracking, history of play, wind speed, wind direction, course gradient, temperature, sunrise/sunset, humidity etc.). Gloves, hard copy yardage books or rangefinders/GPS,  or information found on the scorecard, etc. are permitted during tournament play. 

3.   Participants may NOT use training devices on the course (e.g. putter assist clubs, swing training clubs, YouTube videos, etc.)

4.   Participants are not permitted to use practice, artificial, or unusual equipment which may assist the Participant with their swing or club grip. Penalty will result in two strokes per incident. 

5.   Electronic devices (cell phones, music players, speakers, etc.) which may distract other golfers, or which may hinder the play or pace of play, are NOT permitted.  A participant warned by other players/participants or by local course officials, understands and accepts responsibility that if the said participant consistently disregards this Rule, is reported, then appropriate investigation and disciplinary action against the offending participant may occur.


1.   All Participants are responsible for knowing the Rules and accepts penalty, as stated, for any violation of the Rules.

2.   The Participant agrees to abide by all Rules, as well as local and general rules of golf, course etiquette, dress and attire, and codes of conduct for golf in general as well as specific to each course.  Failure to participate accordingly will result in disqualification from SteepleJAC regular play and/or tournament play.

3.   Participants must select up to 14 clubs from the golf inventory list under the Player Profile. No more than 14 clubs can be in a Participant's golf bag for a round.  Each Participant must play the full round with this personal selection. All clubs are to conform to standard requirements and can not be changed or altered in the middle of a round unless damaged during normal course of play (bent/broken shaft; a detached, loose, or badly deformed club head; or a loose grip). Clubs can not be shared or borrowed between players during a round. Penalty is two strokes for each hole played to a maximum of four strokes during a round.

4.   A Participant is said to have "addressed the ball" when the Participant stands up to the ball in preparation to hit the ball (the "Stance"). In addition, a Participant has addressed the ball when the Participant has taken a stance and has grounded the club, except that when the ball is in a hazard, the Participant has addressed the ball when the stance is taken and established.

5.   A 'stroke' is the forward movement of the club made with the Participant's intention of striking at and moving the ball, but if a player checks his downswing voluntarily before it reaches the ball the player is deemed NOT to have made a stroke.

6.   Participants are not permitted to use practice, artificial, or unusual equipment which may assist the Participant with the swing or grip, aside from a golf glove, sun glasses, a cap or visor, etc.

7.   Any such club or device carried onto the course and located in the bag, including a ball retriever used to extract balls from water hazards, will be counted as 1 of the 14 permissible clubs whether the device is used during the round or not.

8.   The Participant must mark a standard golf ball (the "ball") which is to be used throughout the round unless a Rule allows for the Participant to change to another ball.  The participant must announce the switching of the ball. The Participant is responsible for playing the correct ball and checking for the personalized markings.

9.   At the time of registration, whether for Score Cards, League and Leaderboards, or Tournament Play, Participants must declare a personal handicap ("hdcp") to the best of their knowledge. Suspect of misleading information, sandbagging (having a higher hdcp than the one declared) will result in disqualification from league and tournament play. It is also the participant's responsibility to regularly adjust and check the hdcp in the personal profile knowing that over the course of time a participant's hdcp will change which in turn affects the net score and the handicapping system.

10. The Participant accepts responsibility for payment of all applicable Local Green Fees, Local League Fees, and Local Membership Fees where applicable.  The Participant is also responsible for SteepleJAC Athletic League, Tournament, or other fees as applicable.

11. Participants are responsible to book and know their tee time/starting time at the local course as well as cancelling or altering a tee time.

12. Participants are responsible for the correctness of the score recorded and ensure the accurate entering of the results from a round into the specially designed SteepleJAC scorecard. Participants are responsible to ensure that the score for each hole and round is correct, the total score is correct, the scorecard information is correct, all profile and registration information relating to the Participant is correct, all penalties are applied, and any discrepancies are resolved BEFORE saving, verifying, and submitting the scorecard to the Participant's Record and leaderboard in the SteepleJAC system. 

13. The Participant is responsible for recording the score accurately, corrects any discrepancies which may occur, verifies the score, and acknowledges the score being sent to the Participant's record. The Participant agrees that a submitted scorecard with a score for any hole which is lower that the actual score for that hole, or if the total score on the scorecard is lower, disqualification from regular play and the respective leaderboard or tournament play will result.  Inaccuracies and falsification of the Participant's scores on ANY recorded scorecard, will result in disqualification from league and tournament play. It is the Participant's responsibility to contact the Committee immediately should the Participant realize that any profile information or score is incorrect. However, if the Participant records, saves, and verifies a scorecard or score for any hole or scorecard which is higher than the actual respective score, the score stands, except if it is a fault of the calculating system or makes a significant difference in the net score and standings.

14. A participant who has provided false information of the score on a hole, has failed to add penalty strokes, or who has recorded incorrect information regarding the actual number of strokes taken, has the opportunity to remedy the situation by providing accurate and correct information before the participant takes the next shot.  Repetitive or reoccurring reports of inaccurate or false information and scorecards will result in disqualifications of the participant from the league and tournament play.

15. A Participant agrees that if a round is initiated, it must be completed on the same day unless there are unforeseen natural or emergency occurrences and the Participant has been called off the course without the opportunity to resume play (example, lightning, medical emergency, injury, etc.). In such cases, the Participant is required to report this round to the Committee so the round can be removed from the Participant's record or suitable adjustments can be made. Failure to remove an unfinished round may result in miscalculations whether the score and scorecard are saved and verified or not, and this will in turn affect the regular round,  tournament play,  results and leaderboards.  

16. Participants or other registered individuals on the course, are not permitted to influence the movement of a ball in play; change or alter the course; or change, disregard, alter, or waive any penalty incurred without a stated exception to the rule. Penalties for violating this Rule will result in a two-stroke penalty per incident in the round. If a participant has a dispute that is not covered by the Rules, the local course rules, or officials, then common sense, and/or fairness should guide the decision on how to proceed. When a dispute arises on the course, two balls should be played and local course officials can rule after the round.

17. Participants will maintain a reasonable pace of play without undue delay and local course etiquette should also predominate. The participant will accept and abide by any decisions made by local course marshals or officials as a direct result of failure to maintain the course pace of play or course etiquette.

18. Practice shots or putts on the course by any participant is NOT permitted. The use of ‘mulligans’ and ‘gimmes’ while playing a hole or round of golf is NOT permitted. Practice swings are permitted provided contact to a ball is not made.  Penalty is one stroke per incident in a round and the ball must be replaced to the original spot and played from there.

19. The participant is permitted to request advice from other players during a round in league play.  Advice from others during tournament play is NOT permitted. Penalty during tournament play is two strokes per incident.

Score Cards, League and Leader Boards, and Tournaments

Score Cards

1.   Honesty and integrity from all participants are of utmost importance and complete discretion is required at all times. 

2.   Scorecards require basic registration information and a participant profile in order for internal calculations to be tabulated and information to be recorded.

3.   Penalty for personally, neglectfully, and/or intentionally altering or tampering with scores, scorecards, the course, or the game of golf in general etc. will result in disqualification of membership for an indefinite period of time. Legal action may be considered and taken.

4.   Participants must verify and affirm that the profile information is completely accurate to the best of the participant’s knowledge

5.   Scorecard used for general use are not entered into the league, leader boards, or for tournament placing purposes. If a player is not registered in the league or tournament play, the scorecard is used for personal calculations and record keeping only.

6.   Participants enter the number of shots for each of the 18 holes in a round.  Participants will accurately input the strokes taken and the score for each hole, and must take into consideration and include all strokes and penalties as the Rules outline.

7.   Participants are required to verify that the number of shots taken for each hole is accurate. The participant confirms the score when the SAVE button is selected at the conclusion of the round.  Once the SAVE button is selected the System (as describe as follows) tabulates and calculates the player hdcp and net score based on submitted information, at the end of the round. 

8.   A specially designed internal calculating system (the "System") operates behind the scorecard. When the participant inputs the round information, the System intricately applies the numbers taking into consideration (inclusively but not limited to) the participant's background, participant's record and history of rounds entered, participant's hdcp, hdcp Index, Course hdcp, Course information, Gross Score, Adjusted Gross Score, Equitable Stroke Control, hdcp Differentials, and the Specific Scorecard for the respective designated Golf Course to provide the participant with a current Participant hdcp and Net Score of all games entered  into the System.

9.   The participant will accept the "System" score which is generated for the round and which in turn places the participant on the respective leader board.

10. The System will not be compared to or be used as a substitute scoring or hdcp system in or for any other golf purpose unless otherwise authorized.

11. Intentionally inputting, falsifying, or submitting scores or information for another player or member is unacceptable and will result in immediate disqualification for an indefinite period of time for the participant performing the infraction.

12. Multiple participants on a scorecard must each maintain a basic Scorecard Registration and Personal Profile under the System.  Multiple participants on a scorecard MUST check over the information inputted for the round and personally verify their own score.   A score keeper can not be designated to record, save, or verify scores for any other participant.

13. Participants understand and accept the fact that the scorecards and specific course information may not be current or completely accurate as the data for the scorecard is available through the public or through public domains. Each local course may alter the yardage, course demographics and information regularly without posting the information publicly.  The Committee takes no responsibility for changes to local course scorecards or course information which are not publicly posted.

14. Any discrepancies, which a participant may encounter, regarding the course information, the scorecards, the scores, the tabulation, or the calculation of scores obtained must be reported to the Committee immediately and will be handled accordingly.

SteepleJAC Athletics League and Leader Board

1.   Participants who have registered for the league and leader board and who have paid the league membership dues in full if applicable, will complete the scorecard as the Rules require. 

2.   The participant will accept the System calculations based on the scores inputted by the participant for the round. The participant SAVES and VERIFIES the information.  The participant understands that once the information is saved, the System derives a hdcp and net score, and the final net score positions the participant into a specific category and onto the respective leader board.

3.   The participant will accept the internal calculations based on the scores for the round and other personal information provided to the System by the participant and from the participant profile.

4.   There are not awards or prizes awarded to participants on the leader board unless the Committee chooses to do so. This encourages fair play and establishes the elements of a friendly rivalry and enjoyed competition with participants on an international basis.

5.   The current categories for league leader board are male and female - Under 18 and Over 18.  The Committee reserves the right to further alter the age categories should the number of participants deem it viable to do so (e.g. two youth categories and an adult and senior category etc.).

SteepleJAC Athletics Tournaments

1.   Positioning of the participants in any tournament or on any respective leader board, is final. SteepleJAC reserves the sole right to alter leaderboards based on any changes  or discrepancies in rules, scoring, or any other factor which indicates just cause to do so.

2.   Tournament Play and ‘flighting’ is based on a percentage of the total number of participants registered in the tournament.  The cut off may also be determined based on spots available or which open in a tournament. The Committee reserves the right to announce the cut off up to and including the final day of registration and game play of the given tournament. 

3.   Tournament play and flighting are put into place for any tournament it will be based on the registered player handicap differential of the player which is used on the scorecard entered into the tournament.

4.   Registration, any qualification procedures, and proof of play and performance are required for legitimacy and eligibility for tournament play.

5.   Participants entering into a tournament must complete the Registration Process for each tournament which is entered into.  

6.   The registered participant must use the SteepleJAC Scorecard within the days of play specified for the tournament. The participant must accurately complete the scorecard, save and verify the scorecard, and have at least one other individual other than the participant or participant’s playing partners (preferably by the Head Pro or Pro staff of the local course which is the tournament round is played on) to date and sign the scorecard.  The complete registration package including all assessed tournament fees, must be registered on or prior to the designated tournament deadline. 

7.   The actual tournament will consist of at least one round of golf, however, the Committee reserves the right to cancel the tournament due to unforeseen circumstances or decreased numbers. The Committee reserves the right to increase the number of rounds/days for the tournament play based on logistics and viability. The Committee reserves the right to announce the details of the tournament up to and including the final day of registration of the given tournament.

8.   Each participant is responsible and required to pay the designated tournament entry fee. All incidentals, the qualifying round on the local course, travel to and from the tournament venue, accommodations as required, etc. are the responsibility of each participant upon accepting and confirmation of entry into the tournament. The Committee reserves the right to offer grants or charitable considerations in special and extenuating circumstances.

9.   Prizes, awards, or other incentives may be included awarded amd are included in the tournament entry fee.

10. Additional competitions or KP's may be incorporated into the tournament based on the dynamics of the tournament and decisions of the Committee (e.g. putting, chipping, line drive, hole in one, long putt, long drive, etc.)

Order of Play

Generally, there is no order in tournament place because each registered participant plays based on the course selection, tee box selection, and the time and date which the participant selects.

Order of play if more than one player in the group is participating in a SteepleJAC Tournament,  is as follows:

1.   On the first tee box - the participant who is listed first on the scorecard.

2.   On the any other tee box the participant who won the previous hole or who has the lowest score on the previous hole (has "honors') and has the right to play first on the next hole.

3.   While playing the hole – the participant whose ball is farthest from the hole plays first.

4.   Ready play – in the interest of saving time, and local course pace of play, participants can agree to play when ready.

5.   Provisional balls are to be shot last unless otherwise agreed upon at the time of play.

6.   There is no penalty for playing out of turn, however, it does go against proper etiquette if permission is not requested and granted. 

Tee Shots

1.   The first shot on any hole must be executed from the area marked off by the ‘tee markers’ on the course (the "tee box"). Every local course marks the tee box differently and play will be based on local course guidelines.  Generally, on each tee box there are two color designated tee markers. The starting place for any hole is an imaginary box (the "teeing ground") which the front is the imaginary line drawn between the two tee markers and extends back approximately two club lengths and parallel from this line. The sides of the teeing ground is defined by the outside limits of the two tee markers. The ball must lie within the teeing ground designated by the fixed markers. The ball is outside the teeing ground when ALL of the ball lies outside the teeing ground. A one stroke penalty will occur if the tee shot was taken from outside the teeing ground and the tee shot must be taken again. Repetitive infractions of any part of this Rule can further result in disqualification of the round and potentially disqualification from the league or tournament play.

2.   The participant may stand outside the tee box. 

3.   The ball can be hit directly off the ground or off a standard tee from the teeing ground. 

4.   If the ball falls off the tee or is accidentally knocked off the tee when the participant is addressing it, there is no penalty to replace or re-tee the ball.   However, if the participant makes a swing, practice or intentional, and the ball falls off the tee because of the swing, the ball must be played as it lies.  A penalty will be added if the ball is replaced on the tee for a second hit.

5.   There is no penalty for a participant playing from the wrong teeing ground (e.g. a participant incidentally plays from the wrong tee box). If the participant tees off from a teeing ground which is closer to the hole that the designated teeing ground, the participant should move back to the correct teeing ground and tee off, at which point no penalty is applied.   The opponent or other participants can require the shot to be cancelled and replayed from within the correct teeing ground.  However, repetitive incidences or conscious neglect to play from the correct teeing ground will result in a two stroke penalty.

6.   A ball is "in play' as soon as the participant has made a stroke on the teeing ground.  It remains in play until it is holed out, except when the ball is lost, hit out of bounds, lifted/lost in a hazard, or another ball has been substituted whether or not such substitution is permitted and a ball so substituted becomes the ball in play.

The Ball

1.   All golf balls are to conform to standard requirements.  A participant may not apply any foreign substance to a ball’s surface to change the movement or performance. Penalty for breaking rules regarding the use of a golf ball results in disqualification of scores for the round

2.   The participant must finish each hole with the same ball which was used to tee off, unless the ball is lost, out of bounds, deemed unfit for play, and is replaced with a substitute ball.  Unless a participant can substantiate the reason, and finishes a hole with a different ball that was used to teed off with on that hole, the result will be a two-stroke penalty per incident in a round.

3.   Normally, a participant may not change balls during the play of a hole.   However, it the ball is damaged, lost, cut etc. the participant may change balls only after announcing the change is made and provides acceptable reason.

4.   If a participant hits a wrong ball that is not in a hazard, a two stroke penalty is taken.  The participant must correct the mistake before the next hole by playing the correct ball from the point of infraction or by proceeding under the Rules of changing a ball. Aside from the penalty, strokes made with a wrong ball do not count in the participant's score.

Cleaning a Ball

1.   The participant can lift and clean the ball, but only on the green, and only if the ball’s position is marked first. 

2.   Any ball cleaned off the green is a violation and results in one stroke per incident.

3.   A ball may be cleaned in provided ball washers if available at the tee box.

4.   if mud or another substances is affixed to the ball, the ball may be marked, leaned only as much as required to be identified, and replaced.  The participant must announce the intention to identify the ball prior to marking and lifting the ball. There is no penalty incurred. 

Striking a Ball

1.   A ball is deemed to have 'moved' and a stroke is taken if the ball leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place.

2.   The ball must be played as it lies, unless rules for a particular situation states otherwise.  A participant is not allowed to improve the lie of the ball which includes, moving, bending, or breaking anything growing or a fixed object, creating or eliminating irregularities of surface, removing or pressing down sand, loose soil, replaced divots, or other cut turf replaced in position. Penalty is two strokes.

3.   Participants are not permitted to improve the area of the stance or swing, improve the line of play, improve the area where a drop will be taken, or improve the area which a participant is placing a ball.  Penalty is two strokes.

4.   A participant is responsible to repair the teeing ground, putting green, fairway - through the green, sand bunkers etc. providing it is for general course upkeep and the action is away from the placement of the participant’s ball or lie and the action of course repair does not improve the ball’s lie or line.  If the repair is in the ball’s lie or line, repair must occur AFTER the ball is played. Penalty will be two strokes.

5.   Participants must strike the ball with the golf club head as opposed to pushing, scraping, or moving it with any other non-striking movement or with any other object other than the golf club head. If the ball moves as a result of a strike, regardless of whether an external agency (example a branch) or the player attempts to stop or alter his swing but inadvertently moves the ball, a stroke is considered to be taken. There are no ‘mulligans’ permissible in the Rules under any circumstances for league or tournament play. Any incident where a second shot is taken or the ‘hit’ ball is replaced back to the original lie for another or repeated stroke, will result in a penalty of two strokes.

6.   While hitting the ball, a participant is not permitted to have physical assistance for any reason including weather or receive advice from a caddie or another player (e.g. holding back a branch or grass).  In addition, no other player, caddie, or participant shall be within a reasonable target line (the area between the ball and the target) or within a reasonable distance around the participant and the lie of the ball. Penalty for any such aid or interference is two strokes for the participant causing the infraction.

7.   There is no penalty for a ball which is hit more than once during a swing. (2019 Rule).

8.   A participant may not strike a moving ball or a two stroke penalty is the result.

9.   The participant is not permitted to hit a moving ball unless the movement is caused by wind or moving water AND the participant does not delay the shot to gain a better lie. Penalty for striking a moving ball or changing the path or movement of a ball will result in two strokes.

10. According to the 2019 Rule, when the ball lies in a sand bunker or water hazard, the participant will no longer take a one stoke penalty if the club touches the sand or water prior to hitting the ball.

11. A participant may take a practice swing providing the participant does not hit the ball or the ball is not moved due to the movement of the club or any external forces around the ball as a result of the practice swing.

12. Participants can not test a green by practice putting or rolling a ball on the green prior to holing out.  When addressing a putt, the participant may not walk on the line or within a reasonable distance behind the lie of any ball on the green.  Unless it is the participant's turn to play, the participant may not hit a putt while another player's ball is in motion.  Penalty is two strokes per incident. 

Hitting a Ball from the Wrong Place

1.   A participant has played the ball from the wrong place if played from a spot where a shot, drop, or ball placement is prohibited (e.g. ground under repair) or hit a shot when required to re-drop or replace a ball. The participant will finish the hole with the ball shot from the wrong place and two strokes are taken.

2.   A participant who accidentally hits from the wrong tee box may correct this if the other golfers in the group have not completed hitting tee shots. If the group is moving away from the correct tee box for that person, the participant must play the ball as the ball was hit. No penalty applies.

Ball at Rest

1.   If a participant, the participant's caddie, a participant's ball in play on the hole, or the participant's equipment moves a ball at rest, outside of any other permissible stated Rule, either accidentally or intentionally, the ball will be replaced and a one stroke penalty is counted to the participant who moved a ball at rest.  

2.   Balls which are moved by wind, water, moving branches, tumbleweeds, etc. are permissible providing the participant did not cause the agent to move the ball. The ball is played as it lies. This does not result in penalty.

3.   If a participant’s competitor or his competitor’s caddie, ball, or equipment intentionally moves the resting ball, other than in a search, the competitor is penalized one stroke.  

4.   Once a participant addresses the ball, and if the ball moves, the ball can be replaced and a one stroke penalty is applied or the ball can be played as it lies and a stroke is counted.   

Ball in Motion, Deflected, or Stopped

1.   Participants are not permitted to influence the movement of a ball in motion. The penalty is two strokes per incident.

2.   If a moving ball hits an outside agent, (a vehicle, golf cart, tree, animal, house, etc.) and the ball lands on the course it is called a "rub of the green". The ball is played as it lies and no penalty is taken.  If the ball is lost, the lost ball Rule applies.

3.   At any time during play, if a ball lands out of bounds, is diverted from going out of bounds, or can not be found, then a stroke and distance penalty is taken.

4.   If a participant, the participant's caddie, or the participant’s equipment inadvertently stops or deflects a ball, whether deliberate or unintentionally, a two stroke penalty is incurred, and the ball is played as it lies. 

5.   If a participant's ball hits another player, his caddie, or his equipment, there is no penalty and the participant plays the ball as it lies or the participant may announce a replay of the shot and a shot is taken from the same spot as the original shot.

6.   If a ball is intentionally stopped or deflected by a participant's opponent, the opponent’s caddie, or equipment, this results in a two stroke penalty for the opponent.

7.   When a participant hits the ball from off the green and the ball in motion hits a ball at rest, the participant's ball is played as it lies. The ball which was hit and moved is replaced. There is no penalty. 

8.   If both balls are on the green, and the participant's ball hits another ball on the green, the participant who hit the ball takes a two stroke penalty, unless the participant asks the other player to mark the ball and the ball was not marked. The opponent then receives a two stroke penalty.

Lost Ball or Ball Out of Bounds – Provisional Balls

1.   "Out of bounds" is considered ground on which play is prohibited. 

2.   When out of bounds is defined by reference to stakes, fence, or as being beyond stakes or a fence, the out of bounds line is determined by the nearest points of the stakes or fence posts at ground level.   When out of bounds is defined by a line on the ground, the line itself if considered out of bounds. The out of bounds line extends both vertically upwards and downwards.  A ball is considered out of bounds when all or part of the ball lies out of bounds.

3.   A participant may stand out of bounds to play a ball lying within bounds.

4.   If a ball is lost, hit out of bounds, or not found within five minutes of the start of the search, the stroke and distance rule will apply – meaning that the participant takes a one penalty stroke and plays another shot from as close as possible to the spot of the previous shot, or the participant takes one penalty stroke for the lost ball, and one penalty stroke for dropping the ball on the fairway at a 90 degree angle to where the ball was likely lost. 

5.   If and only if restrained by pace of play and time, effective immediately and based on the new 2019 universal golf rule, a ball which is lost or out of bounds, and no provisional ball was shot, the ball may be dropped at or near the closest edge of the green at a 90-degree angle to where the ball most likely landed. The penalty is one stroke for being lost and out of bounds, one stroke for distance, and one stroke for taking a drop.

6.   If a participant thinks the ball might be lost or out of bounds, to save time and encourage course pace of play, the participant can play a provisional ball, (another ball) from the same spot as the previous shot. Before playing a provisional ball, the participant must declare that a provisional ball is being hit, before searching for the first ball.

7.   After hitting a provisional ball, the participant continues to play the provisional ball until arrival to where the original ball may be located out of bounds. The original ball can be searched for.  

8.   If the participant's ball is found in bounds, it becomes the ball in play and play continues with the original ball. The participant can pick up the provisional ball. Shots made to the provisional ball are not counted.  There is no penalty if the original ball is found, in bounds, and play continues with the original ball.  

9.   If the ball is located out of bounds, then this ball is taken to the middle of the fairway and dropped at a 90-degree angle to where the ball was found.  A one stroke penalty for out of bounds, one stroke penalty for distance, and a one stroke penalty for dropping the ball is incurred.  This original and found ball is played out.  If a provisional ball was hit, it must be picked up, there is no additional penalty, and no shots on the provisional ball are counted.

10. If the participant cannot find the first ball or if it is out of bounds, the penalty is one stroke for the first ball hit and added to the strokes of the provisional ball. The provisional ball becomes the ball in play and is played out.  

11. If the original ball is searched for and is located the Participant does not have choice of using the original ball or the provisional ball.  If a search occurs and the original ball is located, the ball in play must be the original ball and all applicable penalties are added, and play continues.  The provisional ball is picked up regardless of whether it was or was not a better ball in play. 

Locating and Searching for ‘Lost’ balls

1.   A ball is considered "lost" if (1) it is not found or identified as the participant's within five minutes after the participant has initiated to search for it, or (2) the participant has put another ball into play under the Rules (e.g. a provisional ball), even though the participant may not have searched for the original ball, or (3) the participant has played any stroke with a provisional ball where the original ball is likely to be, or from a point no nearer to the hole that the place where the original ball is likely to be, or (4) as based on the new universal Rule (2019), and effective immediately, the provisional ball is dropped on the nearest edge of the fairway at a 90 degree angle to where the lost ball is likely to be, where upon the provisional ball becomes the ball in play.  

2.   A participant may search for a lost ball up to a maximum of 5 minutes from when and where the ball was hit.   Participants are not permitted to delay play looking for lost balls which are not in the immediate play or a ball not belonging to the participant. Time spent playing a wrong ball is not counted in the five-minute period allowed for the search.

3.   When searching for a ball, long grass, bushes, and sand can be moved or bent to locate or identify the ball. However, all materials must be replaced to the original lie, where the ball is 'dropped' or where the ball was in the original lie.  The participant is not permitted to improve the lie of the ball or clear a path for a more advantageous swing. Penalty of one stroke is incurred for an infraction.

4.   Any ball in water or a water hazard, or with a lie in ground under repair, obstructed by a course implementation, or moved for identification, may be removed and dropped from knee height within two club lengths from the point of entry (2019 Rule) and will result in two strokes per incident in a round.  Any ball that a participant decides to replace and hit from the initial location, must be replaced to the original lie AND the participant accepts full responsibility for the shot as taken.

5.   A lost ball or a ball in a hazard that can not be found or retrieved is replaced with another marked ball (the "provisional ball").  A provisional ball is played for a ball which may be lost, out of bounds, or may be in a water hazard, and the provisional ball is now considered the ball in play. 

6.   The participant reserves the right to decide to play a ball which is out of bounds, unless prohibited by the local course officials, without penalty.

Drop Ball

1.   Any ball in the water hazard or casual water, with a lie in ground under repair, is obstructed by a course implementation, or moved for identification, may be removed and dropped from knee height within a radius of one club length. Note that a participant may be required to drop a ball based on local rules. 

2.   The proper procedure is to stand with legs straight, hold the ball knee height (based on new universal rules and effective immediately), drop the ball, and play the ball from the lie. Only one drop is permitted per incident unless a re-drop, as follows, is required. A one stroke penalty is the result for an infraction.

3.   When dropping a ball, and if the ball touches another participant or piece of equipment before coming to rest, it can be dropped again without penalty.

4.   Any dropped ball must be dropped farther from the hole, at the point of entry, and in line to the target or a one stroke penalty is taken.

5.   A re-drop is required if the ball rolls into a hazard, out of a hazard, comes to rest more than two club lengths away from the original lie, rolls onto and stops on a green, rolls and stops out of bounds, stops more than two club lengths from where it lands, stops closer to the hole than its original or estimated position, or if the participant is dropping away from an immovable obstruction or ground under repair and the ball moves back into the obstruction or ground under repair.  If any of the above is repeated on a re-drop, the ball is placed where the dropped ball first touches the ground on the second re-drop.

6.   When a player drops, places, or replaces a ball, the ball is in play as soon as it comes to rest.

Lifting, Marking, and Replacing a Ball

1.   The participant, or another designated person, can lift the ball according to any Rule that allows lifting. However, before a ball is lifted it must be marked by placing a marker behind the ball or a one stoke penalty must be taken.

2.   To continue play, the participant must replace the ball to the original spot and if the participant fails to replace it accordingly, two strokes is applied.

3.   If the ball or ball marker is moved, there is no penalty providing it is replaced.

4.   Proper marking of the ball occurs when the participant places a marker directly behind the ball in line with the target.  If the marker interferes with another participants’ mark, line, stance, or swing, the participant can move it a club head length to the side however, knowing that the ball will be replaced to the initial mark.

5.   There is no penalty for accidentally moving a ball or marker however it should be replaced as close to the original spot as possible.   If the ball or marker have been moved intentionally, and it is not replaced to the original spot, whether in a hazard or not (example - inspection of a ball in a sand bunker), two stroke penalty is applied. 

Ball Assist or Interference

1.   If a participant thinks a ball might assist or interfere with another participant’s ball the position of the ball can be marked and lifted if it is the participant's ball or request the ball be marked and lifted if it is not.

2.   A participant can also request to play first, instead of lifting a ball, if requested or necessary.

3.   A ball can not be lifted or moved to prevent assistance or interference with a ball in motion.

4.   Unless on the green, a participant must request permission to lift the ball or a one stroke penalty will apply.

5.   Interference can be either a physical or mental distraction and  will result in one stroke penalty, if the action was deliberate.

Green Play

1.   In green play, the participant is allowed to touch the line of the putt to, move loose materials, measure the putt to see who is away or farthest away from the hole, mark then pick up, clean, or place the ball back to the original lie, tamp down a ball mark, repair pitch marks or plugged holes on the green, or remove a movable obstruction, whether the participant's ball is on the green, off the green, or in the near vicinity of the green (fringe or adjacent bunker). A ball can not be picked up, marked, or placed in the line of a ball in motion.  Two stroke penalty is applied for any violation of green play.

2.   Participants can not test a green by practice putting or rolling a ball on the green prior to holing out. When addressing a putt, the participant may not walk on the line or within a reasonable distance behind the lie of any ball on the green. Unless it is the participant’s turn to play, a participant may not hit a putt while another participant’s ball is in motion. Penalty is two strokes.

3.   If a participant’s ball hangs over the lip of the hole, the participant is allowed reasonable time to reach the hole plus 10 seconds to wait for the ball to drop.  If the ball does not drop, the ball is considered at rest and the participant must putt out, taking another stroke.

4.   "Gimmies' are not permitted regardless of the distance left for the ball to travel. 

5.   All participants must putt out or the ball must be holed.  A ball is "holed" when it is at rest within the circumference of the hole and all of it is below the level of the lip of the hole.  A two stroke penalty will be applied for a ball picked up and not holed or putted out.  If a ball is picked up prior to holing out, the ball must be replaced to the spot it was picked up, and holed before teeing off on the next hole. Failure to do so is a two stroke penalty.

6.   If a player fails to hole out and does not correct their mistake (even after the penalty has been applied) before the participant leaves the putting green, the participant will be disqualified from the round or tournament.

7.   When marking a ball on the green, always mark your ball by placing the marker behind the ball.

8.   A ball is permitted to be marked and picked up to be cleaned or to get it out of the way of other player's line or way.

The Putting Green and the Flag Stick

1.   If any part of the ball is touching the green, the ball is considered on the green.

2.   When the ball is on the green, the participant may brush away leaves, other loose impediments, movable obstruction on the line of putt, or fix ball marks made by the ball or old ball marks.

3.   Upon the consent of a participant, another person is permitted to remove or hold up the flag stick to better view the hole’s position.  

4.   This must be done and the flag replaced before the participant hits the shot. Unless a participant consents, no person is allowed to tend the flag stick once a participants’ ball is in motion. The participant is penalized two strokes and the ball must be played as it lies, if the ball hits a flag stick (regardless if it is tended, removed, lying on the green, or held up) or the ball hits the individual tending the flag.  There is no penalty for striking a flag from off the green during normal play. If the flag stick tender incurs or attempts to cause a penalty, it is the flag stick tender who will receive two strokes.

5.   If the ball stops against a flag that is in the hole and would naturally have fallen into the hole if the flag were not there, the participant is considered to have completed the hole with the previous shot. If the ball does not naturally fall into the hole, if or when the flag stick is removed, the ball rests on the lip of the cup with no penalty, however, another shot is required.

6.   Tending the flagstick or removing the flagstick is an option to be made and agreed upon prior to the start of the round. (2019 Rules)

Loose Impediments

1.   Loose impediments are defined as natural objects that are not fixed or growing, are not solidly embedded, or are not stuck to the ball (examples – stones, leaves, twigs, loose divots, ant hills, spider webs, rocks, leaves, branches, animal droppings, casts and heaps made by insects, worms, plugs, insects etc). 

2.   Sand, soil, snow, ice, water, etc. are only considered loose impediments on the green.

3.   Snow and ice are considered either casual water or loose impediments, at the option of the player, except if the manufactured ice is a movable obstruction.

4.   Loose impediments can be removed through the green without penalty. 

5.   Impediments that are embedded or that can not be easily removed off the ball, (when the ball is not on the green) the lie, or the line are considered to not be loose impediments and can not be removed. Two strokes will be the applied penalty.

6.   Loose impediments can be removed except when the ball and the loose impediment lie in the same bunker or water hazard.


1.   Obstructions are artificial objects (man made objects) or surfaces which are movable or immovable, out of bounds, or considered part of the course. 

2.   Bottles, tin cans, rakes, etc. are movable obstructions. Benches, posts, fixed distance markers, etc. are movable or fixed obstructions. Buildings, shelters, sprinkler heads, cart paths, etc. are immovable obstructions.

3.   An obstruction is anything artificial including sides of roads, paths, and manufactured ice, except objects defining out of bounds, (walls, fences, stakes, railings, etc.), any part of an immovable artificial object which is out of bound, in whole or part, and any course construction which is an integral part of the local course of play.

4.   Movable obstructions such as a cart, watering hose etc. can be moved without penalty providing the ball is not moved or the lie and line are not altered.  If the ball is moved accidentally, the ball can be replaced without penalty.  Movable obstructions must be returned to its original place. No penalty is taken.

5.   In the case of a moving ball, no obstruction can be moved (example – a cart on the fairway, a flag or club laying on the green).  

6.   When playing a ball with regards to an immovable obstruction, the player may drop the ball if play of the ball causes a physical interference in the participant's stance or swing, by the immovable obstruction.  The ball is dropped within one club length of the lie and no closer to the hole. 

7.   Mental interference is not cause to move a ball.

8.   The ball can be dropped at the nearest point of relief, closest to the entry to the obstruction, not closer to the hole, within a club length, and where the participant can stand and swing without interference of the obstruction.

9.   If the immovable obstruction is in a sand bunker, the ball must be dropped within the bunker at closest relief.   The participant may take a one stroke penalty and drop outside the bunker at point of entry to the bunker, or as far behind the bunker as the participant chooses.

10. If the immovable object is on the green or the teeing ground, the ball can be placed at the neared relief point that is not in a hazard.  The participant may choose to place the ball and play off the green.

11. There is no relief if the ball is in a water hazard.

12. Penalty for moving a ball, due to an immovable object, will cause a two stroke penalty.

Abnormal Ground Conditions

1.   Abnormal ground conditions include casual water (not including dew and frost); ground under repair; plants and trees located in ground under repair; debris caused by maintenance; or holes, waste, or other animal formations.    Examples not considered abnormal ground conditions are mud or soft ground, aeration holes, animal prints etc.

2.   If a participant’s ball lies in or touches an abnormal ground condition, if the condition affects the participant’s stance or swing, or if the condition is in the participant’s line on the green, a relief drop/ball placement can be made without penalty (except water hazards).

3.   Relief procedure for taking a drop due to abnormal ground conditions: the nearest point of relief is the spot closest to the condition but not on the green, in the hazard, or closer to the hole, and where the participant can stand and swing without interference by the abnormal ground condition.

4.   If the ball and abnormal ground condition is on the fairway, lift and drop the ball within one club length of the nearest point of relief and no closer to the hole.

5.   When the ball is in a sand bunker, lift and drop the ball within one club length of the nearest relief within the bunker. Alternatively, the participant can take a one stroke penalty and drop the ball outside the bunker at the point of entry or as far back behind the bunker as decided.

6.   If the ball is on a green or on a teeing ground, the ball can be lifted and placed at the nearest relief point that is not in a hazard, nor is it closer to the hole.  The participant may decide to place and play the ball from off the green or tee box, however if on a green only a putter may be used.

7.   There is no relief if the ball is in a water hazard.

8.   If it is determined that a ball is lost in or can not be retrieved from an abnormal ground condition, the participant can take a drop or place a substitute ball, without penalty and following all previous rulings for dropped or placed ball found in an abnormal ground condition.

9.   Penalty for violating any part of the ruling for abnormal ground conditions will result in two strokes.

Water Hazards

1.   Water hazard is considered a permanent body of water such as a sea, lake, pond, river, creek, ditch, surface drainage, open water, or similar waterway, whether or not it contains water, and is on or immediately adjacent to a golf course.  All ground or water within the margin of the water hazard is part of the water hazard.  The margin of a water hazard extends vertically upwards and downwards. 

2.   Water Hazards are generally marked with yellow stakes and lines however participants are to follow course local rules. Stakes and line defining the margins of the water hazard are considered part of the hazard.

3.   A "lateral water hazard" is a water hazard or that part of a water hazard so situated that it is not possible or is deemed by the local course to be impractical to drop a ball behind the water hazard, according to any Rule associated with dropping a ball.  

4.   Lateral water hazards are marked by red stakes or lines and should be distinctively marked. 

5.   If the participant hits the ball into a regular water hazard, either of the following may be decided: drop as close as possible to the last spot which the ball was played, or drop behind the water hazard, at the point of entry, or as far back behind the water as the participant decides, however, regardless of the participant’s choice, the same line must be taken.

6.   Drops will occur within two club lengths and no nearer to the hole unless participant decides to play farther behind the water hazard.

7.   In either case, a one stroke penalty is taken.

8.   If the participant is not sure the ball went into the water hazard, the ball will be played as if lost or it went out of bounds and the penalty is one for stroke and one for distance.

9.   If the participant hits a dropped ball into the same or another water hazard, is shot out of bounds, is considered unplayable, or loses the ball, the participant can drop and play under the stroke and distance method, or go back to the original spot where the shot was last taken which put the ball into the water hazard with a one stroke penalty.

10. A violation for not taking the proper steps or for not applying the proper penalty regarding water hazards, results in two stroke penalty.

11. If the participant's ball is in the water hazard or lateral water hazard, the participant may play it as it lies, within reason.

12. "Casual water' is any temporary accumulation of water caused by rain or over watering, which is visible before or after the participant takes the stance and it is not a water hazard.  Natural snow and ice are considered either casual water or loose impediments, at the opinion of the participant. Manufactured ice is considered an obstruction.  Dew is not considered casual water or an obstruction.

13. Before making a stroke in any water hazard, or the like, the participant is not permitted to "ground the club". Grounding the club means that the participant's club can not touch the surface of the hazard (water or ground within the hazard) at any time prior to striking the ball or a one stroke penalty is taken.


1.   A "bunker" is a hazard consisting of a prepared area of ground, often land which is hollowed out, from which grass, turf, or soil has been removed and replaced with sand or similar content.  Grass covered ground bordering or within a bunker is not part of the bunker. 

2.   The margin of a bunker extends vertically downward, but not upward.

3.   A ball is played from the bunker as if part of through the green play.

4.   Before making a stroke in the bunker, the participant is not permitted to "ground the club". Grounding the club means that the participant's club can not touch the surface of the bunker (sand or ground within the bunker) at any time prior to striking the ball or a one stroke penalty is taken.

Ground Under Repair

1.   "Ground under repair" is any portion of the course which is damaged and is marked by the local course as such.  It includes material which is piled for removal, a hole made by the grounds keeper, a burrowing animal hole, and which is deemed unplayable by the local course and the groundskeeper, even if not so marked.

2.   Stakes and lines defining ground under repair are considered in such ground.

3.   The margin of ground under repair extends vertically downward but not upwards.

4.   Grass cuttings, leaves, and other such material which have been abandoned and are not intended to be removed are not ground under repair unless so marked.

5.   The local course may prohibit play from ground under repair.

6.   A ball in play may be removed from the ground under repair, if common sense prevails, and dropped within two club lengths of point of entry, no closer to the hole, and outside of the ground under repair with no penalty.

7.   If your ball is on the wrong green find the nearest place to point of entry off the green and fringe, which is not nearer the hole, and drop the ball within one club length of that place.

Unplayable Ball

1.   Unless the ball is in a water hazard, a participant has complete discretion and can declare the ball or the lie unplayable anywhere on the course.  The participant will add a one stroke penalty.

2.   A participant can deem a ball unplayable due to various situations (e.g. the ball is under a tree or in a culvert). 

3.   The ball may be dropped and played within two club lengths from the original lie, or the participant can drop and play the ball as far back as decided providing the same line is kept, or the participant can go back to where the ball was last shot and play the ball from ther