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  1. #1
    Golf Canada Rules Official L4 BC MIST is on a distinguished road
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    Committee's Right To Make Local Rules

    This past season I had two “heated” discussions with two different members of two different golf clubs, about their local committee’s right to make local rules. They were under the impression that their local committee could change any rule of golf, to suit a condition they felt needed alteration.

    Examples: I believe that on Arnprior’s #9, relief is permitted (immovable obstruction) if your ball comes to rest on the “bridge” over a ditch which is marked as a water hazard(Yellow stakes). On the new 9 at Outaouais some of the holes have red lateral water hazard stakes on the sides of the fairway when it is clear that the area is just thick bush and not an obvious hazard. The Marshes has similarly marked holes. At our club we have some drainage ditches, which should be marked as hazards, but are not, so if your ball lands in the water in this area, it is played as casual water. From my understanding of the rules, none of these are permissible.

    Is there any recourse if the local “powers at be” just say, “ Screw the rules; we’re doing it?” What if I am playing in an OVGA tournament where the host club’s local rules are in effect, can I “call” someone for breaking a Rule of Golf, when the infraction is permitted by the incorrect local rule? How would a REAL rules official rule?

    Just for interest sake, here are some of the conditions under which a local rule may be made:
    -Abnormal ground conditions, i.e., preferred lies
    -making all non out of bounds stakes, immovable obstructions
    -insect/ant, non burrowing animal damage = GUR
    -GUR adjacent to cart path (immovable obstruction) = immovable obstruction
    -repair of turf plugs
    -temporary accumulation of leaves, through the green = GUR
    -making apron part of the green for dropping purposes
    -declaring some materials to have the same status as sand.

    From this list it is obvious that NO Rule Of golf was changed.

  2. #2
    England Golf Referee AAA is on a distinguished road
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    33-1 Conditions; Waiving Rule

    The Committee has no power to waive a Rule of Golf.


    Appendix I Part A
    If local abnormal conditions interfere with the proper playing of the game and the Committeeconsiders it necessary to modify a Rule of Golf, authorization from the Royal Canadian Golf Association must be obtained.

  3. #3
    Golf Canada Rules Official L4 BC MIST is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by AAA View Post
    33-1 Conditions; Waiving Rule

    The Committee has no power to waive a Rule of Golf.


    Appendix I Part A
    If local abnormal conditions interfere with the proper playing of the game and the Committeeconsiders it necessary to modify a Rule of Golf, authorization from the Royal Canadian Golf Association must be obtained.
    Thanks. Of this I am aware. Many local committee's, if such a creature actually exists at some clubs, or individual's in charge, who don't know the Rules very well, will just do the wrong thing out of ignorance, and will then arrogantly tell you that they can do whatever they want because they are in charge.

    More pressing to me are the answers to my 2 questions above.

  4. #4
    Golf Canada Rules Official L4 LobWedge is on a distinguished road LobWedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC MIST View Post
    I believe that on Arnprior’s #9, relief is permitted (immovable obstruction) if your ball comes to rest on the “bridge” over a ditch which is marked as a water hazard(Yellow stakes). On the new 9 at Outaouais some of the holes have red lateral water hazard stakes on the sides of the fairway when it is clear that the area is just thick bush and not an obvious hazard. The Marshes has similarly marked holes. At our club we have some drainage ditches, which should be marked as hazards, but are not, so if your ball lands in the water in this area, it is played as casual water. From my understanding of the rules, none of these are permissible.

    Is there any recourse if the local “powers at be” just say, “ Screw the rules; we’re doing it?” What if I am playing in an OVGA tournament where the host club’s local rules are in effect, can I “call” someone for breaking a Rule of Golf, when the infraction is permitted by the incorrect local rule? How would a REAL rules official rule?
    There's power in ownership. The main reasons that I see for instituting these so called "local rules" are, 1) protection of property, 2) protection of revenue, 3) pace of play. Course owners know what side their bread is buttered on, and that the green fee paying public is, for the most part, unaware of the rules in any detail.

    That being said, if a course is chosen to host a sanctioned tournament, the ruling body (OVGA, QGA, RCGA) should either be aware (by having surveyed the course ahead of time), or should be informed by the course mangement of any "local rules" that may be in conflict with the actual rules ahead of time.

    Alternately, the "quick and dirty" thing to say would be that everyone is competing under the same conditions and the committee can turn a blind eye to the inconsistencies.

    I'm reminded of a QGA qualifier that I played in a couple of years back at Heritage. The vast majority of treeline on that course is marked with red stakes. Some of it accurately marked because of sharp drop offs once you get into the trees where the area below, while dry most of the time, could be considered creekbed. But, a lot of it is marked "just because" the trees are very thick, and crashing around them looking for a ball is "a waste of time". There was no mention of any correction to this condition by the QGA officials prior to teeing off.
    When applying the Rules, you follow them line by line. You don't read between them.

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