Course Status

Course Status

Last Updated: Sun 19 May

Course and Range open. Trolleys ON Buggies ON

Course open
Range open
Buggies yes
Electric Trolleys yes
Trolleys yes

This is the third (and final) blog covering further changes to Golf Rules that come into effect on January 1, 2019.

This communication is designed to help all members know where to see the changes to the Rules (both in summary and in detail), watch videos of the main changes and understand where to go to get help if there is anything that you don’t understand.

To find out more about these changes, the reasons for them and to watch videos describing the changes:

  • please click on the Members Area of the Website (link also below);
  • go to Competitions, Documents, Rules and Handicaps; and then
  • Go to Club Rules and Documents.

There is also an app that you can download: Rules of Golf 2019.

I have previously blogged changes to the rules covering the following areas:

  1. dropping the ball;
  2. penalty areas;
  3. bunkers; and
  4. the green.
  5. Ball moving on the Putting Green
  6. Pace of Play
  7. Ball moved during Search and
  8. Replacing the Ball

This blog covers:

  1. Substitution of Ball
  2. Role of your caddie
  3. Known or virtually certain
  4. SWGC New Local Rules

   9.  Substitution of Ball

Under Rule 14.3, when taking relief, the player will always be allowed the choice of substituting a ball or using the original ball, including:

  • When taking penalty relief as well as when taking free relief (Rules 15-19), and
  • Any other time the player is required to drop and play a ball, such as when returning to play from where a previous stroke was made after the stroke is cancelled.

The reason for this change is that the current requirement to use the original ball in some relief situations but not others is confusing, hard to remember and leads to unnecessary penalties. Taking a consistent approach that always allows a player the choice of substituting a ball or using the original ball is much simpler. This change will eliminate the need when taking free relief to decide whether the original ball is “not immediately recoverable”, which can raise questions in various cases such as when the ball is in a few inches of temporary water or is under a prickly bush.

Link:  NEW GOLF RULES FROM 1.1.19 Substitution of Ball

  1. Role of your caddie

 Various changes in the new Rules will affect what caddies can and can’t do to assist players in 2019:

  • Under new Rule 10.2b(4) once the player begins taking a stance for their stroke, and until the stroke is made, the player’s caddie must not deliberately stand on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason, and
  • Under new Rule 14.1b, the player’s caddie will be allowed to mark and lift the player’s ball on the putting green any time the player is allowed to do so, without needing authorisation from the player.

Link:  NEW GOLF RULES FROM 1.1.19 Role of the Caddie

  1. Known or virtually certain

In 2019, if a player’s ball at rest might have moved, new Rule 9.2 will introduce the “known or virtually certain” standard. This means that something is at least 95% likely and it will apply to all questions of fact when deciding whether a ball at rest has moved, and what caused a ball at rest to move.

If a player’s ball at rest might have moved but this is not “known or virtually certain”, it is treated as not having moved and must be played as it lies.

The problem with the current Rules is that the ‘weight of evidence’ test under the current Rules is often difficult to apply in ball moved situations. Many competing factors need to be balanced, such as what the player did near the ball, the lapse of time before the ball moved, the lie of the ball, the slope and other course conditions near the ball and the presence of wind or weather conditions, and there is no prescribed way of prioritising or balancing these factors

Since “known or virtually certain” means more than just possible or probable, this standard will be simpler to apply because it will eliminate most “close calls” where it is hard to know for sure why the ball moved.

Link:  NEW GOLF RULES FROM 1.1.19 Known or Virtually certain

  1. SWGC Local Rules

As a result of the changes coming in on January 1, 2019, we have been able to simplify our Local Rules. We are having cards printed with the new Local Rules on them and they will be available when printed. In the short term the Rules are available on the website following the instructions above and hard copies will be available in the pro-shop.


Best regards and HAPPY NEW YEAR to all,      Malcolm Berryman, SWGC Handicap Secretary

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