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Club Local Rules

The Iowa Golf Association urges all clubs to write and publish a list of local rules under the title "Notice to Competitors."  This allows members and guests at your club to observe better the USGA Rules of Golf.

Local rules are covered thoroughly in the USGA Rules of Golf and Decisions on the Rules of Golf.  Several questions about local rules are answered in decisions under Section 33-8.

It is important to note that a committee or club cannot waive a Rule of Golf, such as a rule allowing competitors to use more than 14 clubs.  A local rule must not violate the Rules of Golf.  Many of the decisions listed under Section 33-8 describe situations that cannot be considered a local rule.

There are many local rules a committee or club cannot write.  Many popular local rules that are not allowed by the Rules of Golf include:

  • Waiving the requirement to hole out in a stroke play or medal play event.
  • Creating a ball drop on the green side of a water hazard for a ball that fails to clear the hazard.
  • Agreeing to discontinue play because of rain.
  • Invoking a tree "root rule."
  • Waiving the rule that penalized a player for a ball putted from the putting green that strikes the flagstick.
  • Stating that free relief is granted from bushes or trees that define yardage.
  • Defining part of a boundary (out of bounds) fence as an obstruction.  (see definition of out of bounds)
  • Allowing a player to drop a ball on the green side of a water hazard (yellow) without crossing it with a stroke, no matter how many penalty strokes are applied.

However, there are many valid local rules you will want to consider implementing for certain events or simply making them effective for everyday play. 

The IGA strongly suggests each club create a "Notice to Competitors" that is posted for all to see – post this notice in locker rooms, the golf shop and/or first tee.

Please review the following pages and contact the IGA if you have any questions as you assemble and/or edit the Notice to Competitors document at your club.

Local Rules Your Club Should Adopt

Local Rules Your Club Should Adopt if Applicable


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