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2017 September Rules Message ... NEW Rock Rule

posted Sep 26, 2017, 8:31 AM by BV WGC   [ updated Jan 6, 2018, 12:32 PM by Susan Nuttall ]
If you were not part of our play on August 31st at Dogwood Hills, you missed the announcement regarding a major change in our WGC play day rules. The change is a complete “about-face” from the August Rules message regarding a “Rock Rule”. After a discussion with Darryl Muldoon, Golf Operations Manager and also among the Rules Committee and with our current WGC President and Vice-President, the decision was made to immediately institute a WGC Rock Rule. 

If you find yourself in a rocky area on any of our golf courses, you may take relief as you would in Ground Under Repair: Move your ball to the nearest point of relief, no nearer the hole. To proceed properly, you should mark the spot where your ball lies in the rocks, find your nearest point of relief, place the ball, check that your fellow competitor agrees that you are taking proper relief, remove the mark and play on. The Rock Rule will not apply if your ball is in a hazard. The Rock Rule will apply in all upcoming WGC events.

Secondly, there have been some questions arise regarding the breaking of limbs and/or causing leaves to fall while taking a practice swing. Rule 13-2 in the USGA Rules of Golf addresses this situation: Improving Lie, Area Of Intended Stance or Swing, or Line of Play. 

A player must not improve or allow to be improved:  
  • The area of his intended stance or swing
  • The line of play
by any of the following actions:  
  • Moving, bending or breaking anything growing or fixed (Including immovable obstructions and objects defining out-of-bounds).
Stroke play – 2 stroke penalty Match play – loss of hole

In other words, if you are under a tree with low hanging limbs or near bushes, be careful in taking a practice swing so you don’t knock limbs or leaves off of a tree. Also, you cannot bend a bush or branch of a bush or tree with your hands to take your stance. You cannot take a practice swing and remove leaves or limbs.

However, the player incurs no penalty if the action occurs: “In making a stroke or the backward movement of his club for a stroke and the stroke is made”.

Please click the following link to Rule 13-2 in the USGA Rules of Golf for the complete wording of this rule.

I hope this clarifies these situations for all of you, but please ask for more details if you have any questions or doubts about how to proceed in any situation on the golf course.

Happy golfing from your Rules Committee!