Rules of Golf – Nearest Point of Relief

With the recent Covid-19 restrictions and the situation where most courses are now classifying bunkers as GUR this requires the player to take the nearest point of relief from the bunker. This has caused a lot of confusion as how to determine this point so this video we made today highlights the process the player should go through. Thanks to Peter Davies for a great explanation.

A Comprehensive Guide to the New Rules of Golf

As of 1 Jan 2019 the USGA and the R&A have announced new rules of golf. Here is an excellent link to a slideshow showing the most significant changes to the rules. All players need to be familiar with these rule changes for the start of the 2019 golfing year.

Full golf rules can be read here :



4 Rules You Never Knew You Were Breaking

The Golf Academy

If you’re like me, most of the time you spend playing golf is just for the love of the game. I’ll go out on a Sunday afternoon with my dad or my brother and we’ll just play eighteen. I don’t make them re-tee their drive if their ball slips out of bounds, we’re very loose with our interpretation of ground under repair, and we generally let the small stuff slid by without too much of a fuss (except when my brother kicks the ball out from underneath a tree). This not only helps us keep our pace of play up, but it also helps us enjoy the game and each other more because we don’t have to worry about playing the game “the right way” in terms of the rules.

All of this goes out the window once you’re in a tournament though, where one small slip up on some…

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Kuala Lumpur Loose Cannons (KLCC) – Rules

For reference here is the latest updated list of rules to be used for all Loose Cannons games :

Kuala Lumpur Loose Cannons (KLLC)
1. KLLC play strictly to the Rules of Golf as published by the R&A and the USGA except as allowed by KLLC Local Rules published below.
1. Each new player to join KLLC will play his FIRST game off his official USGA Handicap or his DECLARED Handicap. The Convenor may, at his discretion, assign a handicap.
2. New players will have to play 5 games to qualify for a KLLC handicap. New players cannot ‘win’ until they have completed the 5 mandatory games.
3. The WINNER each week will have his h/c cut by 4 strokes. Should he win his next KLLC game his h/c will be cut 8 strokes.
4. All other players that week will have 1 stroke added to their h/c up to a maximum of 3 strokes above their current USGA h/c as published by the KLLC official Handicap Monitor.
5. Handicaps are calculated according to the USGA Handicapping Formula. {(Adjusted gross score – USGA Course Rating) x 113 / USGA Slope Rating} will be used with a cap of 36.
6. Handicaps will be maintained using USGA approved software held and operated by the Handicap Monitor. Adjusted handicaps will be published each week.
1. Each week’s competition will be played on a Tuesday morning with a 08:00 starting time. Play will normally be from the WHITE TEES and scored to the Stableford System. Each player is responsible for returning his correct (adjusted) GROSS score to the appointed scorer. The scorer is responsible for returning a legible and correct card recording each players Gross and Stableford Points.
2. The game on the last Tuesday of each month will be played for a Trophy. This will be referred to as the Trophy Game.
3. Flights will be randomly selected or assigned by the Convenor except for the Trophy Game when flights will be by ascending Handicap Order.
Fee, Pot & Kitty
1. Each player will pay the Fee consisting of the cost of the days golf (varies from club to club) plus RM30 for the Pot.
2. The WINNER will receive RM50 from the Pot.
3. RM5 will be transferred to the Kitty to cover administrative costs and the cost of the monthly Trophy.
4. The balance of the Pot will go towards the Lunch.
5. At the end of the year the Kitty  Balance (less a min. of RM100) will be used to partly offset the cost of the Christmas Lunch.
KLLC Local Rules
1. BUNKERS. A ball lying in a footprint of other depression left by a preceding flight may be lifted and dropped within the Bunker, at the nearest point of relief, not nearer the hole, without penalty. The player must notify his playing partners of his intent to implement this local rule BEFORE lifting his ball.
2. PLUGGED BALL in FAIRWAY. A ball which, in the opinion of the flight, cannot be found because it is judged to be PLUGGED in the FAIRWAY, can be replaced at the point at which the flight judges the ball to have struck the FAIRWAY, without penalty.


3. PREFERRED LIE. A ball coming to rest on a closely mown area through the green may be marked, lifted, cleaned and placed within one card length of the mark, on a closely mown area, not nearer the hole. Take Note that a player can only replace his ball ONCE. As soon as the ball is released and comes to rest it is then IN PLAY. Rule 20-4.

The USGA and R&A show some heart with changes to the Rules of Golf

The USGA and R&A have revised some golf rules commencing 1st January 2016 …. the key ones being :

  1. Ban on the anchored putting stroke
  2. Withdrawl of Rule on Ball Moving After Address (Rule 18-2b)
  3. Limited Exception to Disqualification Penalty for Submission of Incorrect Score Card (Rule 6-6d)
  4. Modification of Penalty for Single Impermissible use of Artificial Devices or Equipment (Rule 14-3)

Full details can be read here.

Rules of Golf – Loose Impediments

Loose Impediments and Movable Obstructions (Rules 23-1 and 24-1)

It seems that many golfers are confused as to whether objects on the course are loose impediments or movable obstructions. This is an important distinction to make, as there are a number of relevant Rules where players could incur penalties if they get it wrong.

In fact, in most cases, the distinction should be easy enough. Loose Impediments are natural objects and movable obstructions are anything artificial that can be moved without unreasonable effort. Here is a sample list of some of the items that may be encountered on the golf course during a round;

Loose Impediments
Movable Obstruction (artificial)
bunker rakes
other players’ golf clubs
branches and twigs
stakes (except out of bounds)
pine cones
signage and ropes
dung and droppings
bottles and cans
score cards
worms and their casts
pens and pencils
spiders and their webs
paper, tissues
half-eaten fruit
plastic bags
fruit skins
packets and boxes
ant hills
dead birds and animals
match sticks or cigarettes
aeration plugs
abandoned balls
clods of earth
loose stones from a wall
wood manufactured into planks
crushed shells
wood chips
doors or windows

Be aware, that under the Rules sand and loose soil are loose impediments on the putting green, but not elsewhere; snow and natural ice, other than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments, at the option of the player; and dew and frost are not loose impediments. 
Some loose impediments may be transformed into obstructions through processes of construction or manufacturing. For example, a log (loose impediment) that has been split and has legs attached has been changed by construction into a bench (obstruction), or a piece of wood (loose impediment) becomes an obstruction when manufactured into a charcoal briquette. Also, there may be loose impediments that when placed together make up an obstruction. An example of this would be a manufactured path (immovable obstruction) made of wood chips. If a player’s ball lies on such a path and he chooses not to take relief then he may move any of the wood chips before making his stroke, providing that he does not move his ball in doing so, 

Except when both the loose impediment and the ball lie in, or touch, the same bunker or water hazard, any loose impediment may be moved. But if the player causes their ball to move while removing the loose impediment, they are penalised one stroke and the ball must be replaced, unless the ball is on the putting green when there is no penalty. 

Movable obstructions can be removed anywhere on the course, including when the ball lies in a hazard, and there is no penalty if the ball moves during the removal, but again it must be replaced where it was before it was moved. If the ball lies in or on the obstruction, the ball may be lifted and the obstruction removed. The ball must then be dropped, or on the putting green placed, as near as possible to the spot directly under the place where the ball lay in or on the obstruction, not nearer the hole. 
As already mentioned, if a player’s ball lies in a bunker they are not permitted to remove any loose impediment from that bunker. (The above photo illustrates this well – my ball was lying on a leaf in the bunker and had to be played as it lay.) However, very often there will be a Local Rule that says, “Stones in bunkers are movable obstructions”, because it is considered that the stones could represent a danger to players if they are hit during a stroke. This is a good illustration of why it is so important to read the Local Rules before commencing a round on an unfamiliar course. Whilst on the subject of bunkers, if a player cannot find their ball in a bunker because it is covered by sand, leaves or other loose impediments, they are permitted to probe or rake with a club or otherwise, as many loose impediments, or as much sand, as will enable them to see a part of their ball. When making a stroke out of a bunker, or water hazard, the player may not touch any loose impediment in that hazard before making their stroke, which commences with the downswing. So, for example, if a player brushes leaves in a bunker during their practice stroke or backswing they incur a penalty of two strokes in stroke play, or loss of hole in match play. 

Rules of Golf – Immovable Obstructions and Abnormal Ground Conditions

An immovable obstruction is an artificial object on the course that cannot be moved (e.g. a building) or cannot readily be moved (e.g. a firmly embedded direction post). Objects defining out of bounds are not treated as obstructions.
An abnormal ground condition is casual water, ground under repair or a hole, cast or runway made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird.
Except when the ball is in a water hazard, relief without penalty is available from immovable obstructions and abnormal ground conditions when the condition physically interferes with the lie of the ball, your stance or your swing. You may lift the ball and drop it within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, but not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief (see diagram below). If the ball is on the putting green, it is placed at the nearest point of relief, which may be off the putting green.
There is no relief for intervention on your line of play unless both your ball and the condition are on the putting green.
As an additional option when the ball is in a bunker, you may take relief from the condition by dropping the ball outside and behind the bunker under penalty of one stroke.
The following diagram illustrates the term “nearest point of relief” in Rules 24-2 and 25-1 in the case of a right-handed player.

Rules of Golf – Ball Lost or Out of Bounds

BALL LOST OR OUT OF BOUNDS Provisional Ball Rule 27 ( From R&A quick guide to the rules)
If your ball is lost (outside a water hazard) or is out of bounds you must play another ball from the spot where the last shot was played, under penalty of one stroke, i.e. stroke and distance.
You are allowed 5 minutes to search for a ball. If it is not found within 5 minutes, it is lost.

If, after playing a shot, you think your ball may be lost (outside a water hazard) or out of bounds you should play a provisional ball. You must state that it is a provisional ball and play it before you go forward to search for the original ball.
If the original ball is lost (other than in a water hazard) or is out of bounds, you must continue with the provisional ball, under penalty of one stroke. If the original ball is found in bounds, you must continue play of the hole with it, and must stop playing the provisional ball. 


A player does not have to search for their ball if it is not visible and they choose not to play it. However, if someone finds a ball that is believed to be the player’s original ball before they have played their provisional ball from a point nearer to the hole than where it is thought that the original ball may be, then the player must identify it and if it is their original ball must continue play with it. In stroke play, it is considered good etiquette for a fellow competitor NOT to search for a ball that the player wishes to abandon, but in match play an opponent may choose to search for it if they consider that it is to their advantage to find it.”

Rules of Golf – Hazards & The Difference Between Yellow Stakes and Red Stakes

This new section, prepared by our unofficial “Rules Secretary” Mr Allan McNicoll, highlights some specific rules of golf with some simple explanations to those new to the game or to those that have perhaps forgotten.

This week we will focus on hazards and the difference between red and yellow stakes ….

Hazards Marked with Yellow Stakes

If you do choose to take relief, the first option that you have is to play your next shot from as close as possible to the point from which you hit your original shot. So, if you were in the middle of the fairway at 150 yards and you hit it in the drink, you can go back to that spot and try to hit the shot again, plus a one-stroke penalty. Thus, if you hit your second shot in the water, you would be hitting your fourth shot from that same spot. This is the less commonly selected choice of the two because it is essentially a stroke and distance penalty The second option for relief from a yellow hazard is usually your best option, but is also the most misunderstood choice as well. The other way to take relief from a yellow hazard is to mark the point that the ball crossed the hazard and then draw a line between that point and the flag. You may drop your ball at any point on that line. Essentially, you can go back, keeping the point where your ball crossed the hazard in line with the pin, as far as you choose to go. Please note that you cannot go back on the line of flight that your ball took as it flew into the hazard! That is the most common mistake in this type of relief situation. How your ball got there doesn’t matter. What matters is the point where it crossed the hazard. Those are the two different forms of relief that you may take for a water hazard or any other hazard marked by a yellow stake. 
Hazards Marked with Red Stakes
 Red stakes are used to mark lateral hazards. Because these hazards run parallel to the hole, it is often times impractical to take relief by going behind the hazard as described in the second option of the yellow stakes. So, the rules of golf allow for an additional option for relief if your ball is in a red hazard. That third option is to take relief within two club lengths of where the ball crossed the hazard, no nearer to the pin. This may be down from either side of the red hazard. Just because your ball crossed the hazard on the right side doesn’t mean that you can’t take relief, within two club lengths and equidistant from the hole, on the left side of the same hazard. That third option is the only difference between a hazard marked by red stakes and a hazard marked by yellow stakes.