We are at the beginning of the season and one of the most important parts of the Rules of golf is not well known in golf clubs. In the last couple of weeks, I gave seminars on Local Rules to captains, pros, and members. I know that many golfers like to play golf strictly under the Rules of Golf.
We need to know those 4 levels in the Rules of Golf, and I also gave an example for better understanding concerning a golf club.
A) RULES OF GOLF (including the interpretations and clarifications)
These are the basic rules governing the play. As an example, a player may not replace a club that was damaged by him or his caddie, even if it was by accident.
B) ANNUAL LOCAL RULES
Il is possible to put into effect a Local Rules (E-12) saying that if a golf club is damaged by accident, a player may replace it. We have that Local Rule in all Golf Quebec competitions and in all the pro tournaments. Some Local Rules will make the Rules of Golf harder; others will give players a break.
C) NOTICE TO PLAYERS
That document is made up for a particular tournament. We could write at the beginning of the notice: Play is under the Golf Canada Rules of Golf and under the Golf Quebec Annual Local Rules.
Many Golf Clubs don’t have any Local Rules.
D) CODE OF CONDUCT
A Committee may give warnings or penalties for actions not covered by the Rules of Golf: If a player throws a golf club, under the code of conduct, he will be subject to a warning for the first offense and a penalty of 1 stroke for a second breach. The Rules of Golf don’t give any penalties for club throwing.
THE FIRST SPECIFIC ITEM I WILL COVER ON LOCAL RULES IS THE DRIVER
The USGA and R&A try to control the manufacturing of drivers especially since 1999. On the market we have 3 types of drivers:
· Conforming drivers
· Conforming drivers mentioned on the USGA list of conforming driver heads
· Non-conforming drivers
A) THE RULE OF GOLF: In making a stroke, a player must use a club that conforms to the requirements of the Equipment Rules.
B) THE ANNUAL LOCAL RULE: List of Conforming Driver Heads: Model Local Rule G-1 in effect. That means that if you use a conforming driver and the head is not listed in the USGA list, the player is disqualified if he used the driver, and the Local Rule G-1 is in effect.
NOTE: Any driver manufactured before 1999 is exempt from that Local Rule.
This Local Rule is in effect in all The Golf Quebec competitions and in all the pro events in Quebec and Ontario. I strongly recommend not to include that Local Rule at your Golf Clubs. Some players have bought homemade drivers or some have older drivers (after 1999) that are not on the list anymore. A statement from USGA:
The List of Conforming Driver Heads Condition of Competition is only recommended for use by Committees in charge of competitions restricted to highly skilled players (including top amateur events)
Many golfers will have someone manufacture a driver to their own specifications. If you want to play in a tournament with the G-1 in effect, It is important to check on the list to make sure the driver head is on the list. Many junior sets are not on the list even if they are conforming. Some cheaper drivers are also available in retail store, they are conforming but are not on the list.
Most of the drivers (99%) on the market are conforming but not all the companies have summitted the driver to be included in the USGA List. It is very important to see if the Local Rule G-1 is in effect and if it is, you should verify on the list if it is included. https://www.usga.org/ConformingGolfClub/ConformingClubList_M.pdf
The penalty for a breach of that Local Rule is: DISQUALIFICATION.
Some well-known companies have also on the market some drivers that are not on the list and some of those are not conforming either. As an example: Bridgestone Tourstage V800; Callaway Big Bertha ERC; Mizuno JPX E300; NIKE Ignite; Talor Made R510.