RULES OF GOLF

Here's a quick reference for some of the most common infractions and their penalties under the Rules of Golf.

OUT OF BOUNDS (White Stakes)

Hitting your ball into an area guarded by white stakes, property boundaries, fences and all roadways bordering the golf course means having hit your ball out of bounds.

Holes: 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16 and 18.

 

Options

“Stroke and distance” relief. Your only course of action is to return to where you hit your original shot, add a penalty stroke, and make another attempt at the shot.

PENALTY AREAS (Yellow Stakes)

Yellow stakes and lines are for water hazards only.

 

Options

  1. A ball in a water hazard can be played as it lies without penalty, though often this is not possible or practical.
  2. “Stroke and distance” relief. Return to where you hit your original shot, add a penalty stroke, and make another attempt at the shot.
  3. “Back on the line” relief. Drop a ball BEHIND the hazard anywhere on a straight line drawn from the flagstick through the spot where the ball crossed over the hazard as it went in. You may drop on this reference line as far back as you want. You must always keep the penalty area between you and the hole.
 

Hole 16

If your ball crosses the water on the green side but rolls back into the water, in almost all cases, you will need to return to the tee side of the water and attempt the shot again. This is because you would have to stand in the water in order to keep the spot where the ball went into the hazard and flagstick in line with your ball drop.

There may be a few instances near the corners of the water where there is a bit of land behind the spot where the ball last crossed the edge of the water and the flagstick where you could drop “back on the line”.

 
 

Drop Zone

A water hazard may have a drop zone area designated by the Thunder Hills Golf Committee. If you hit your ball into a water hazard, you may drop a ball, under penalty of one (1) stroke, in the drop zone and proceed to play the hole.

 

PENALTY AREAS (Red Stakes)

The red stakes are used to mark lateral hazards. Because these hazards usually run parallel to the hole, it is often impractical to take relief by going behind the hazard.

You must know or you must be virtually certain that your ball came to rest in a penalty area. If not, you must treat it as a lost ball, which incurs a “stroke and distance” penalty and hit from the previous spot.

All tall grass areas and wildflower areas will be played as red penalty areas.

Holes: 1, 3, 4, 8, 9, 11 and 16.

 

Options

  1. A ball in a red penalty hazard can be played as it lies without penalty, though often this is not possible or practical.
  2. “Stroke and distance” relief. Return to where you hit your original shot, add a penalty stroke, and make another attempt at the shot.
  3. “Back on the line” relief. Drop a ball BEHIND the hazard anywhere on a straight line drawn from the flagstick through the spot where the ball crossed over the hazard as it went in. You may drop on this reference line as far back as you want. You must always keep the penalty area between you and the hole.
  4. “Lateral relief”. With lateral relief, you may drop your ball within two club-lengths of where the ball last crossed into the Red Penalty Area, adding a penalty stroke. You may never drop closer to the hole than the reference point.

GROUND UNDER REPAIR

If your ball lies in Ground Under Repair, or it interferes with your area of intended stance or area of intended swing, you are entitled to free relief, dropping within one club-length of your nearest point of complete relief not nearer the hole. You must take full relief, so can’t still be standing in the Ground Under Repair after taking your drop.

All tree stumps, dirt areas around removed stumps, seeded areas, sodded areas and landscape areas will be played as Ground Under Repair.

 

Options

  1. A ball in a ground under repair can be played as it lies without penalty, though often this is not possible or practical. Perhaps if the lie is good and your dropping area isn’t quite so appetizing.
    However, if something is designated a No Play Zone (NPZ) then you must take relief. You do not have the option to play the ball as it lies.
  2. To take relief, you must find the nearest point of complete relief from the ground under repair and drop your ball away from the ground under repair and within one club-length of that point not nearer the hole.

LOST BALL

A ball is lost if not found in three minutes after the player begins to search for it.

 

Options

  1. “Stroke and distance” relief. Return to where you hit your original shot, add a penalty stroke, and make another attempt at the shot.
  2. “Provisional ball”. To help keep the pace of play, if you think that your ball may be lost or out of bounds, you as a player are entitled to play a provisional ball. To do so a player must inform his fellow-players that he intends to play a provisional ball, and he must play it before he or his partner goes forward to search for the original ball. This provisional ball is to only be used in the event you can’t find your lost ball.

    Your first ball is still technically in play and there is nothing stopping you’re playing partner, or anyone else from looking for it. If they find it within the 3-minute search time window, you must play it.

    If, however, you hit a provisional ball and subsequently find your original ball in-bounds, you must pick up your provisional and continue to play the original ball, in-bounds.

    If you make a stroke with the provisional ball, the original ball is considered lost and the provisional ball becomes the ball in play. If you later find your original ball, you can’t hit it because it has been deemed lost.

UNPLAYABLE

If you see your ball and you think you can't play it because it's under a bush or stuck in a tree, you can deem it unplayable. You may declare your ball unplayable anywhere on the course except in penalty areas.

 

Options

  1. “Stroke and distance” relief. Return to where you hit your original shot, add a penalty stroke, and make another attempt at the shot.
  2. “Back on the line” relief. Drop a ball on the line that runs from the hole to where your ball was lying, adding a penalty stroke. You can drop as far back as you want on that line.
  3. “Lateral relief”. With lateral relief, you may drop your ball within two club-lengths of where the ball is lying, adding a penalty stroke. You may never drop closer to the hole than the reference point.

If you declare your ball unplayable in a bunker, the ball can be dropped within the bunker, or outside the bunker at a cost of two strokes.

GIMME PUTTS

Gimme putts are often seen in recreational rounds of golf between friends. A gimme putt is a short putt that your playing companions give you the putt without forcing you to actually stroke the ball into the cup.

Gimmes are allowed during match play events like Member/Guest and Thunder Cup. Besides match play events, they are NEVER allowed during official Thunder Hills events and competitions. All putts must be holed.