Factoids & Rules
Whether a beginner or seasoned player, times can arise where there is uncertainty over a particular rule. The R & A rule book is not always the easiest to read and interpret, so this section of the Walton Hall Ladies website is dedicated to providing summaries of the most common rules or ‘problems’ that can be encountered during the course of a game and translating the language into a style that is more easily understood. However, it should be noted that rules can be amended from time to time and all players are advised to obtain an official copy of the Rules for themselves.
Basics for Beginners
Understanding Penalty Strokes:
The easiest way to understand this is to think of the ball being hit (one stroke, eg, first shot if off the tee), the shot needs to be re-taken so the ball has to be returned to the former position (one stroke, therefore second shot even though you don’t actually hit the ball), then ball is actually hit (third shot).
Taking a Provisional:
Always play a provisional if you think your ball may be lost or out of bounds. You MUST declare that you are playing one. If you continue with it – One stroke added to score. (If off tee you are now on 3rd stroke). If you look and find your ball you MUST play it and penalty for taking provisional is deleted. You can declare it lost, not look for it and continue to play the provisional with the two strokes added as above.
Ball out of bounds:
If you think this has happened you must play another ball from the original place before it went out of bounds. One stroke added to score. (If off tee you are now on 3rd stroke)
Yellow stake water hazard:
Ball can be dropped any distance behind in line with hole and where it went in. You must still play over the hazard. One stroke added.
Red stake (lateral) hazard:
Play another ball from original position or take a drop within 2-club lengths One stroke added. If ball found and can be played ground MUST NOT be touched during practice swing. No penalty added.
Tree/bush: You MUST declare it unplayable, measure 2-club lengths, drop ball within. One stroke added.
Casual water, ground under repair or a cast or runway made by a burrowing animal – termed ‘abnormal ground conditions’: You MUST declare, measure 1-club length, drop ball within. No penalty added.
Ball on path or stone drainage:
You MUST declare, measure 1-club length, drop ball within. Ensure your feet are also off the path/stones when taking the next shot, ie. Full Relief. No penalty added.
If a ball cannot be found, it is NOT permitted to take a drop in the general vicinity of where it is thought the ball was lost. You must return to the location of the last shot before it was lost. One stroke added.
Measuring a ‘Club Length’:
When measuring club lengths to take a drop ALWAYS mark each end with a tee before moving the club. You are permitted the drop the ball 3 times if it does not land within the designated club lengths (eg, rolls forward), thereafter you are permitted to place the ball.
Unplayable Ball in a Bunker:
A drop is allowed in a bunker if the ball is too close to the edge as to be unplayable. But the ball must still be dropped in the bunker. One stroke is added. If the ball is in water in the bunker it can be dropped outside the water but still in the bunker and No penalty added. But if dropped outside the bunker you can go back as far as you like, no nearer the hole and One stroke added.
Cleaning the Ball:
The ball may only be cleaned when it is on the green and lifted after it has been marked. Other conditions may apply under Winter Rules.
These count as a stroke even if you do not connect with the ball. One stroke is added.