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Golf Rules for Playing in the Winter

Winter Rules Golf

Generally, the months from October to March are not suitable for playing golf. This is when the winter rules of golf come into play to make it easier for muddy, wet, and icy course grounds. These rules allow the golfers to lift, mark, clean, and place the ball in different ways while playing.

Golf Winter Rules

Several locations in the world experience poor weather conditions at different times of the year. Because of the harsh weather, golf courses have to change their policies and rules to help golfers play with ease and comfort. Hence, winter rules golf give golfers the flexibility to play in poor conditions. They are commonly known as “preferred lies.”

Preferred lies are rules that allow golfers to slightly move their ball if it is getting to any unplayable spot –for instance, a large puddle or patch of bare ground. Although these rules are ideal for golfers, not every course follows the right guidelines of these rules. This makes it challenging for some golfers to play in specific courses. It is important to note that these rules have been modified in recent years to facilitate golfers in winters. Read the article more to understand what these rules are and how you can follow them.

Winter Rules Of Golf

The following are some rules when playing golf in winter that you need to know. Let’s discuss them.

Teeing Grounds

When the artificial mat consists of tee markers, the golfer needs to stand on this mat to make the tee shot.
But there is also an exception – if the mat is slippery because of snow or frost, you have the right to stand off the artificial mat to hit the ball. Just make sure that the ball is on the mat.

Preferred Lies and Cleaning the Ball

If the ball is present in the location of the general area, you can take free relief by lifting and marking the ball before putting another ball or original one within and not more than 6 inches of the hole. This procedure comes under golf ball rules 14.2e and 14.2b (2).

Additionally, you need to clean the ball and place it in the general area.

If the conditions are too poorer that mud will stick on the ball, the committee has the authority to establish a temporary Local Rule that allows the player to clean and replace the golf ball in any part of the general area. There will be no penalty to perform this rule.

However, make sure to mark the ground before lifting the ball. You also need to place the ball on its marked spot.

Alternative to Distance and Stroke for Ball Out of Bounds or Lost Ball

If you are unable to find the ball or it is out of bounds, you can continue your game with the help of the following rules rather than proceeding under distance and stroke.

In the case of two penalty strokes, the golfer has the option to take relief by dropping another ball or even the original ball in the relief area, which you can find in Committee Procedure 8E-5.

Additionally, the ‘Fairway Reference Point’ can be on a Teeing Ground or grass path. The ball should not come or drop onto the rest of the Teeing Ground.

This rule will not be applicable in the following cases.

  • If you use a provisional ball in the game
  • In a competition arranged by the committee
  • In the case of handicap purposes, when you submit a general play score for it

Looking After the Course

Winter rules golf also dictates some precautions for the safety of golfers in the winter season. Here are the things you need to learn.

  • Make sure to avoid walking in muddy locations. Also, use the matting and path as much as possible.
  • Try to use a carry bag instead of a buggy or trolley.
  • Avoid taking your buggy or trolley within 6 feet of green. Also, keep them away from the locations marked or roped off with a white line.

Teeing Grounds and Temporary Greens

If your balls get to the temporary green or teeing ground, you need to mark the ground, lift it, and place it within the one club length. The location needs to be the nearest point, but not nearer to the hole according to the 16.1 Rule.

Bottom Line

Winter rules golf is meant to provide golfers relief and flexibility to play even in the harsh weather. If these rules were not established, you would have to face extreme challenges while playing golf. However, it is important to note that not every golf course follows this rule in winters. This is why, if you want to play with ease and comfort, make sure to check whether your chosen course follows the rules. You can do this by contacting them or checking their website for information.

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