Some of our favourite off­beat Lo­cal Rules

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

The cra­zi­est Lo­cal Rules.

Nearly ev­ery golf course has unique fea­tures need­ing spe­cial gov­er­nance, also known as Lo­cal Rules. When trav­el­ling, keep an eye out for Lo­cal Rules posted on bul­letin boards, score­cards or signs.They could save you a stroke or two, or – like these odd ones we col­lected here – make you smile.

shot on the rocks

When shots miss the fair­way and rough at Sky Moun­tain Golf Course in Hur­ri­cane, Utah, they often land on vol­canic rock.A Lo­cal Rule al­lows golfers to carry and use a 15th club – a “rock club” – to avoid dam­ag­ing their reg­u­lar clubs.

on course but out-of-bounds

If a ball flies to the right of the O.B. stakes on the fourth hole at Hanover Coun­try Club in Ab­bottstown, Penn­syl­va­nia, even if it comes back into play when land­ing, it’s out.Winthrop (Min­nesota) Golf Club has a sim­i­lar “in­ter­nal aerial out-of-bounds” on its sixth hole.A ball that goes to the right of a flag­pole 200 me­tres off the tee is O.B. (Both are pro­tect­ing ad­ja­cent holes.)

what the elk?!

In Al­berta, an­i­mals run past golfers as if the course were a shoot­ing ar­cade. Banff Springs’ Lo­cal Rules state that “any shot strik­ing an elk or other an­i­mal may be re­played with­out penalty.” Jasper Park Lodge also ex­tends the rule to all crea­tures: “Any shot strik­ing wildlife may be re­played with­out penalty.”

klep­to­ma­ni­a­cal crit­ters

Alaskan an­i­mals seem­ingly take it to the next level.At North Star Golf Club in Fair­banks,Amer­ica’s north­ern­most golf course, a Lo­cal Rule states: “If a raven or fox steals the ball, take a free drop at the scene of the crime.”

imag­i­na­tion sta­tion

Space is in such short sup­ply at nine-hole Bo­galusa (Louisiana) Coun­try Club that the out­line of a pre­tend wa­ter haz­ard is painted on the 455-yard dog­leg first hole to chal­lenge the sec­ond shot – and re­tain its in­tegrity as a par 5.

no snake charmer

At Lake Pow­ell Na­tional Golf Course in Page,Ari­zona, a “ca­sual rat­tlesnake rule” is used if your ball is within the vicin­ity of a rat­tler.You can gather your ball, drop with­out penalty – then pre­sum­ably swing fast and run like hell.

play­ful pachy­derm

Think you should get re­lief in event of an ele­phant stam­pede? Not at Ele­phant Hills Golf Club nearVic­to­ria Falls, Zim­babwe, where a Lo­cal Rule states that the golfer “shall be al­lowed to re­turn to his ball, which shall be played as it lies, whether or not the an­i­mal had trod­den thereon.”

waste not

Eng­land’s Royal North Devon is home to sheep and horses that roam where they will.This pas­toral set­ting has its lim­its.A Lo­cal Rule de­tails how to han­dle a spe­cific type of sticky sit­u­a­tion:“A ball which lies in or touches heaped or liq­uid ma­nure may be lifted with­out penalty, cleaned and dropped.”Tav­i­s­tock Golf Club in south­west­ern Eng­land wants golfers to be clear that “re­lief from ma­nure in­ter­fer­ing with a player’s stance is de­nied.” In other words, you don’t have to play out of crap, but you might have to step in it.Tav­i­s­tock’s Lo­cal Rule of­fers re­lief from other horse ev­i­dence on the green, in­clud­ing “a hoof mark, pony bite (or) urine burn.”

wrong kind of ace

At Cav­erns Coun­try Club in Lu­ray,Vir­ginia, the open­ing to a cave is lo­cated in the mid­dle of the par-5 first hole. If your ball goes into the hole, you don’t win a free round, but you do get to use a new ball – and take a free drop with­out penalty.

the bet­ter half

At his­toric Oakhurst Links in West Vir­ginia, where golfers play and dress as in the hick­o­ryshaft era, a Lo­cal Rule cov­ers what hap­pens if your gutta-per­cha ball breaks apart dur­ing play:You must hole out us­ing the largest piece.

blast from the past

Play­ing with half a ball might sound tough, but how about play­ing 18 holes with bombs go­ing off around you? At Rich­mond Golf Club in Sur­rey, Eng­land, among seven rules in 1940 was this:“A player whose stroke is af­fected by the si­mul­ta­ne­ous ex­plo­sion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place. Penalty: one stroke.” – Cliff Schrock

note: Lo­cal Rules, in­clud­ing some of these, some­times vi­o­late the Rules of Golf. Won­der­ing if a Lo­cal Rule is le­git? Email the de­tails to rules@ for more in­for­ma­tion.

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