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Chiltern Forest Golf Club

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19.10.2018 08:54

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  • New Rules of Golf, Players Edition for 2019

    bigpic The change to the new Rules of Golf is nearly upon us, coming into force on the 1st January 2019. The Players Edition of the Rules of Golf has been published and is now available free to all players from your Pro-Shop. The new rules have been reduced in number and written more simply, including colour diagrams to help in decision making. While many of the existing rules remain unchanged the rule numbers will have changed. So take care when making reference to your favourite rule. The articles below will continue to be relevant and will be updated for the start of the New Year. Until then the current Rules of Golf remain in force. (Sept 2018).



  • Bunker Etiquette

    bigpicChiltern Forest is not overly blessed with bunkers, at this year's Open, Royal Birkdale has many more bunkers than CFGC, in fact, Birkdale has two holes, the 8th and the 15th each with 13 bunkers a piece, Chiltern Forest has only ten in total and eleven holes with no bunkers at all. A timeless and contentious issue in golf, probably since the game began hundreds of years ago, has been where to place the rake?

    In a recent conversation with a LPGA tour referee,  it was explained that on professional tour events rakes should be placed in the bunker, in the line of play and well away from the edge. The reasons being that if you leave them on the outside of the bunker the rake could deflect the ball into the bunker and if you leave it in the bunker close to edge it could trap the ball against the lip. Golf is hard enough without these avoidable complications. Some of you may have seen the BBC coverage of the Open with Ken Brown describing the difficulty of dealing with pot bunkers and will have spotted Birkdale bunker rakes have labels telling players to leave the rake in the middle of the bunker. A sensible approach for all levels of play. When you’ve raked the bunker after your shot put the bunker rake well into bunker out of harm's way.What if your ball comes to rest against the rake in the bunker? Simple, inform your playing partners of your intention, mark your ball, lift the ball, remove the rake and replace your ball without penalty.  

  • Putting Green Know How

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    Standing On or Near the line of Putt
    When a player takes his or her stance to putt, playing partners, caddies and opponents must not stand on or close to the line of the putt as the player plays the stroke.  Failure to heed this rule will get you a two stroke penalty in stroke play and loss of hole in match play. Rule 8 -2b.
    In this situation, the line of putt does not extend forward of the hole, so standing in front of the player on or near the line of putt will not attract a penalty, however, standing in a players eye line is poor etiquette. 
    Marking Balls on the Green. Other common errors on a putting green relate to marking and lifting a ball. A player may mark and lift their ball as many times as they like on the green. Generally, the best way to mark the ball is behind the ball with a small coin or marker. Other items can be used such as tee pegs or any other equipment to hand. Remember to replace the ball on the same spot that it was at rest before being lifted, unlike the unfortunate incident that befell Lexi Thompson when she incorrectly replaced her ball on the wrong spot! 
    Players are not obliged to mark and lift their ball as a matter of course unless requested to do so by another player. Don't go lifting your ball once another player has taken their stance, interrupting or delaying their stroke. The onus is on the player to ensure their ball when hit from the green does not hit another ball at rest on the green. If it does it is a two-shot penalty but only in stroke play, there is no penalty in match play  The ball that was moved has to be replaced. The offending ball is played as it lies. A ball must not be lifted when another ball is in motion.   

    Who's turn is it anyway?  A common misconception is that balls lying off the green get played first. Not so, a common courtesy is often afforded to players whose ball is just off the green to "come on" to save time taking out and replacing the flagstick, but the simple rule is the player furthest from the hole has the honour no matter whether their ball is on or off the putting surface. 
    And Finally, Having the Flagstick Tended. The flagstick may be held up or attended for another player no matter where they are on the course and is not limited to just those whose balls lie on the green.  

  • Animal Scrapes

    If your ball comes to rest in an animal scrape you get free relief from the abnormal ground condition, but is this always the case?  A common claim by many players when the ball comes to rest typically against a tree and in an animal scrape, the latter is used to get them out of trouble! But is this always true? 


    Well it depends. Lets look at two examples. 

    The ball comes to rest against a tree, but it is possible to play the ball sideways or backwards including making a stroke with back of the club.  The essential fact is that the ball is playable. Just because the player can't play towards the pin does not qualify for releif. 
    If in this example the ball was also in a scrape relief would be afforded the player without penalty and quite possibly the interferrence of the tree would be removed. A good example of the rules working in the players favour.  In the second example a ball comes to rest against a tree but this time it lies deep within the roots such that no matter how the player approaches it the ball is unplayable and the player must proceed under penalty. The fact that ball is also in a scrape doesn't alter the fact that the ball is unplayable so the abnormal ground condition cannot be used to gain relief from the unplayable lie. 

    Remember a player can declare a ball unplayable anywhere on the course except in a water hazard. 


  • Balls Lifted or Moved

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    The R&A has announced a new local rule for 2017 covering the accidental moving of a ball on a green. See the Local Rule section of this website. But what is accidental and what is the difference between moving a ball and lifting a ball? 
    The following questions were raised by a member recently.
    1. If a ball is lifted without marking it by accident can I replace it for free? 
    2. If a player lifts his ball believing it has been conceded but the opponent says it has not is this accidental and therefore no penalty applies? 
    Accidentally moving a ball would be, for example, striking the ball with the flag stick when removing it from the hole or laying the flagstick down or dropping a piece of your equipment inadvertently on the ball etc. Follow the link below for more examples. 
    Accidental should not be confused with mistakenly lifting the ball as described in the first question, where this is an error on the part of the player who incurs a penalty under Rule 20-1of one stroke. 
    In the second question where the player either misheard or mistook what was said and picked up his ball but cannot be considered as accidental, again this is about a ball being lifted as opposed to being moved. 
    The general advice when a putt or a hole is conceded the player receiving the concession should always seek confirmation before lifting the ball.  This is covered in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf  2-4/3 which says:
    Q: In a match between A&B, B made a statement that A interpreted as a concession and A lifted his ball, but B insisted he had not conceded A’s next stroke.  
    A: If B’s statement could have reasonably led A to think the next stroke was conceded, in equity (Rule1-4) A should replace his ball as near as possible to the original spot without penalty. Otherwise, A would incur a penalty for lifting his ball without marking it (Rule 20-1). 

  • Taking A Drop

    bigpicThere are two situations where taking a drop may be needed by a player, one incurs a penalty and the other not. Here are the basics; When you take free relief under the Rules, e.g. from an immovable obstruction, casual water, GUR, wrong putting green, or a staked tree (when there is a Local Rule), you must drop within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, not nearer the hole.   Whereas, when you are taking a penalty drop, e.g. from a lie you deem unplayable, or a lateral water hazard, then you are permitted to drop anywhere within two club-lengths of where the ball was at rest, for an unplayable lie, or from where the ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard, not nearer the hole."If the ball when dropped rolls more than TWO club lengths from the POINT THAT IT FIRST TOUCHES THE COURSE the ball must be re-dropped. If the ball rolls too far again then it should be placed as near as possible to the point where it first struck the course.  (Rule 20 -2c) REMEMBER TO ALWAYS MARK THE POSITION OF YOUR BALL BEFORE LIFTING.

  • Gravel Overspill from Paths

    Loose Impediments

    bigpicThe margins of the paths and buggy paths are
    clearly defined by the edging material in their construction. 

    A player may take relief from the path if a) the ball comes to rest on the path b) the path interferes with the player's stance or swing. In both cases relief should be taken at the nearest point of relief not nearer the hole, bearing in mind this could be in the rough or other unfavourable position. A player may also play the ball as it lies. Where a ball comes to rest in Overspill Gravel,  but not on the path its self, the gravel is considered as a Loose Impediment and can be removed without penalty. 
    Any item deemed as a loose impediment must be picked up and not brushed away. The ball may not be lifted and if moved while removing the loose impediment the player will incur a penalty of one stroke and the ball must be replaced. Rule 23.

  • Playing in the Wind

    bigpicMembers recently raised the following question: Can a player shield his/her ball from the wind by placing an item such as golf bag, or even getting a playing partner to lay down as a windbreak.

    Well the answer is NO, Such an action would be deemed to be intentionally influencing the movement of the ball and would breach Rule 1-2. Penalty for breach of this rule, Match Play loss of hole Stoke Play two stoke penalty. In the case of serious breach of this rule the Committee may impose disqualification

  • Striking Overhead Wires

    bigpicIt Pays To Read The Local Rules Before You Play!

    How many times have you played at another course and rarely, if ever, read the back of the scorecard, let alone the Local Rules noticeboard?
    Here’s an example. What happens if your ball hits an overhead power line?
    It depends if the Committee has established a Local Rule to cover this occurrence, or not as the case maybe.
    There is no specific rule of golf that covers incidents where a ball strikes overhead wires, but the Committee can make a local rule, sanctioned by the R&A, that requires a player to cancel the stroke and play again from the as near as possible to the spot were the original stroke was played, without penalty. Rule 33 Local Rules, Decision 33-8/13
    If a specific Local Rule is not in place, then the player must play the ball as it lies.
    Fortunately there are no overhead wires at CFGC but many other courses have them, so check the Local Rules.

  • Out of Bounds

    bigpicThe fence along the righthand side of the 17th hole has been repaired, and a fine job the greens staff have made of this.


    Confusion among many players exist on how to deal with a situation where the ball comes to rests against a boundary fence or an Out of Bounds Post which interferes with the player stance or swing. The fence along the 17th is a course boundary and any ball lying beyond the fence is out of bounds (Local Rule). If a ball comes to rest against any part of  or near to a boundary fence which then interferes with the players stance or swing there is No Relief.  A player may play the ball as it lies or declare the ball unplayable (Rule 28) and take relief under penalty of one stroke, dropping the ball within two club lengths from where the ball was at rest, no nearer the hole. This rule also applies to OOB markers and other boundary fences, hedges and walls.
    Note: posts, netting and kicker boards are integral to the whole of the fence on the 17th. 

    The diagram is self explanatory regarding the position of the ball relative to the OOB. The course extends vertically upwards and any part of the ball touching the course is inbounds. The OOB line is one that runs on the course side of the posts. 

  • Differences In Match Play Rules

    Click here to see the article on how rules differ when playing match play. The article is not reproduced due to copyright reasons.