Owner says golf clubs will ignore new CONGU ruling

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 27, 2018 03:18

The owner of a golf club in southern England has said ‘pretty much all’ golf clubs will ignore a new directive that the ‘drop where lost’ golf rule should not be permitted in club competitions.

From January 1, A new rule will allow golfers to drop in the area of where the ball is lost or out of bounds under a two-stroke penalty.

In essence, if a golfer sends their ball out of bounds right off the tee, they will walk to the point of entry where the ball went out of bounds and drop their ball – from knee height – to the nearest edge of the fairway and play their fourth shot from there.

However, this is a ‘local rule’ – so it is down to club committees to decide whether they want to use it.

According to The Scotsman, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU), which maintains the system that provides handicaps for all players of UK golf clubs affiliated to their national unions, is not permitting the new rule to be used in counting competitions.

‘The whole point of introducing the local rule to was to help speed 
up play,’ states Martin Dempster for the paper.

‘There is probably not a golf club in Scotland where the pace of play in a medal isn’t adversely affected by people having to trudge dejectedly back to a tee.

‘Yet, it is stated on the CONGU
 website and, consequently, is being relayed at various rules seminars taking place in preparation for January, that the new local rule is not being encouraged in club 

‘The ‘stroke-and-distance relief’ is only ‘appropriate for general play where golfers are playing casual rounds or playing their own competitions’. Of course this isn’t a rule that should ever be implemented in professional or elite level amateur 
competitions. However, the sooner CONGU gets its head out of the sand over this one the better. Attempts to speed up the game simply have to 
be embraced.’

In response to the article, the owner of the golf club contacted The Golf Business and said: “My information is pretty much all clubs will turn a blind eye to CONGU’s new ‘drop where lost’ ruling. If not, there will be very confused golfers all over UK.”

This article was originally published on December 19, 2018. As can be seen from the comments below, a number of golf club managers throughout the UK disagree with the comments made by the golf club owner in this article.

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 27, 2018 03:18
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  1. Jonathan December 20, 13:45

    Most golf clubs I have spoken to are not implementing the local rule as it is confusing to apply. Most golfers playing a friendly game already have a similar rule in their groups anyway.
    Until CONGU have reviewed the implications for handicapping, and it is applicable in all forms of golf, then golf clubs are going to be reluctant to put the local rule in place despite the positives it may have on pace of play.

    Reply to this comment
    • Dave December 20, 17:04

      Super rule which would have been a benefit to the whole game, now scuppered by the dinosaurs at Congu

      Reply to this comment
      • Jonathan December 20, 19:06

        I think it could have also been simpler to apply for the golfer, like the penalty areas rule for OOB. I’m not sure about the lost ball rule though as think the three minute rule for searching will encourage players to hit a provisional.

        Reply to this comment
  2. Gordon December 20, 17:17

    Really! Please tell us who this owner is who has consulted with every club in the UK. What utter tosh. The confusion and ambiguity will arise, not in bounce games, but in competitive or medal situations if the new rule is adopted. Just wait for the club championship match-play controversies all over the country in the summer. Jeez, just play a provisional ball!

    Reply to this comment
    • dougie December 25, 12:22

      Merry Christmas Gus – good words of wisdom on this special day! Possibly the daftest suggested change I’ve seen in a game that was once known as golf – now it could be known as ‘whatever’ have a good one mate

      Reply to this comment
  3. Simon December 20, 17:57

    There won’t be any confusion at our club as we won’t be adopting it for non qualifying formats. It doesn’t speed up play, if anything the debates around the estimated position will take longer. It would then be confusing to change for qualifying events. I think this owner has got it back to front.

    Reply to this comment
  4. David H December 20, 18:25

    My clubs not implementing it

    Reply to this comment
  5. RPM December 20, 20:13

    So the golfer who hits it out of bounds with his first shot is going to hit the fairway with his next? I think not…they will miss the course on the other side. Giving them a drop on the fairway takes away from the skill of the game. Fine when you are playing for fun but not in a competition.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Bob December 21, 10:27

    As a secretary of a club in Switzerland, it will be the policy of the ASG (Association of Swiss Golf), that this local rule will not be adopted. However, for casual golf, it is up to the player. I cannot see that it will increase in Pace of Play, rather the opposite.

    Reply to this comment
  7. geraint December 21, 11:49

    I suspect most Clubs, (i.e. ones where the golfers are ‘members’ that actually have a vote at a Company AGM), won’t introduce it as a local rule. I suspect that those courses that mainly cater to visiting golfers, (e.g. the Belfry/ Celtic Manor type Resorts) will. Proprietary owned local courses I suspect we may see a mixed pattern depending mainly on what mix of visitors/ members playnthe course, and how much of a problem slow play is.

    Reply to this comment
  8. William December 21, 15:58

    We certainly won’t. Causes too much confusion. Don’t know any club that’s planning on ignoring it either.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Doug January 3, 13:14

    It is disappointing that CONGU has not thought fit to explain why they have banned this local rule for qualifiers when the European Golf Association (using basically the same handicapping system) have permitted it.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Jim February 13, 23:40

    As CONGU will be replaced by WHS, are those governing under WHS going to be more pragmatic about allowing this local rule.
    At the end of the day it is an option not a compulsion, a player can still play under stroke and distance if they feel that they can improve on the likely dropping zone.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Scottymac March 25, 13:49

    I don’t know of a single club yet here in NE Scotland who have said they will adopt it for Competition play. 3 clubs that i’m a member of have said no and friends at other clubs are reporting the same

    Reply to this comment
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