Rules of Golf Seminar Recap

Below you will find a quick summary of some of the main topics that were covered at this week’s Rule of Golf Seminar. Thank you to Anne Edgar Dodds-Hebron and Golf Ontario for facilitating the evening. And thank you to the over 50+ members who were in attendance.


• The Relief Area is the area where a player must drop a ball when taking relief under a Rule. This area is measured from a Reference Point, the starting point for measuring every relief area.

• The Relief Area is a defined area that is measured with the longest club carried by a player, other than a putter.

• When taking free relief or penalty relief, a substituted ball or the original ball must be dropped in the relief area.

relieft area.PNG


Loose impediments (like stones, leaves, twigs and acorns) in a bunker may now be removed or touched without penalty, provided the ball does not move. If the ball moves as a result, there is a one stroke penalty and the ball must be replaced.

• The Rules now allow the player to generally touch the sand in a bunker with a hand or a club, but there are limitations.

For example:

• You cannot touch the sand in a bunker when making a practice swing or in the back swing for the stroke.

• You cannot deliberately touch the sand in the bunker with your hand, club, rake or other object to test the condition of the sand to learn information for the stroke.

• You cannot touch the sand in a bunker with a club in the area right in front of or right behind the ball, except when searching or removing a loose impediment or movable obstruction. There is NO longer a penalty for striking the sand in anger or frustration, or for leaning on a club in the sand away from the ball while waiting to play



• The ball must be dropped from knee height.

• Knee height means the height of the player’s knee as if she were in a standing position.

• Once dropped, the ball must land in and come to rest in the relief area.

•If the ball rolls outside the relief area it must be dropped again, then if it rolls out a second time, the ball must be placed where it struck the ground on the second drop.



•Penalty Area is the new name for Water Hazard.

•Penalty Areas will still be marked either Yellow or Red.

•In a Penalty Area the player can now ground the club lightly behind the ball, move a loose impediment, take a practice swing and touch the ground or the water.

*NOTE: As was the case previously, the player cannot take relief from Abnormal Course Conditions including Immovable Obstructions or an Embedded Ball when their ball is in a penalty area.

penalty area.PNG


When you take relief from a penalty area, you get one penalty stroke. For yellow penalty areas, you have two relief options. For red penalty areas, you have three relief options (the same two relief options as you do for yellow, plus one additional option.) 

Option 1
(Both Red & Yellow Penalty Areas) : you may take relief by dropping into a relief area using (1) the spot at which your last stroke was made under stroke and distance 

Option 2
(Both Red & Yellow Penalty Areas) : The player may take “back-on-the-line” relief procedure by choosing a reference point that is in line with where BOTH a) the ball cross the penalty area and b) the flagstick. The player may go backward as far as they like while maintaining that line. Once the player has chose their reference point they will then proceed under the new relief area rules.

Option 3
(ONLY Red penalty areas : Lateral relief allows you to drop a ball into a relief area measured from where your ball last crossed the edge of red penalty area. From that reference point, you are allowed to drop outside the penalty area and anywhere within two club-lengths of that spot, no nearer to the hole



• Damage to a putting green may be repaired.

• Damage is described in the Rule and it means any damage caused by a person or outside influence and includes ball marks, shoe damage (such as spike marks) and scrapes or indentations caused by equipment or the flagstick. Any repair must be done promptly.

•It does not include natural surface imperfections or disease, aeration holes or natural wear to the hole.


• The player can now putt leaving the flagstick in the hole, but the player must decide this before making the stroke.

•If the player elects to putt with the flagstick in the hole, it must NOT be moved after the stroke and while a ball is in motion. There is a practical exception to this. If the player elects to putt with the flagstick left in the hole, it can be taken out of the hole while the player's ball is still in motion without penalty if there is no reasonable possibility the ball will strike it.

• There is NO penalty if the ball accidentally strikes an attended flagstick after a stroke made on the putting green.

•If a ball rests against a flagstick in the hole and part of the ball is below the level of the lip, the ball will be considered holed, even if the entire ball is not below the surface. There is no longer a requirement to move the flagstick to see if the ball falls into the hole. The ball may simply be picked up

flagstick in.jpg

Local Rule - Additional Relief option for Stroke and Distance

Lookout Point has put in place a new Model Local Rule for casual play in 2019. Full details of the Local Rule was sent on a previous eblast and can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Lookout Point