Golf Australia

New local rule waives penalty for ball moved on the putting green


Download: GA Poster on new local rule
Download: Local Rule for Accidental Movement of a Ball on the Putting Green: Q&A
Article: R&A Media Release on the announcement


9 December 2016

To – All Australian Clubs and Competition Organisers

New local rule waives penalty for ball moved on the putting green – Use in Australia

Overnight the R&A has announced that from 1 January 2017 competition committees will be permitted to introduce a local rule that waives a penalty when a ball is accidentally moved on the putting green.

This local rule is to be immediately adopted for all four professional men’s major championships, all five professional women’s major championships, as well as all LPGA, US PGA Tour, European PGA Tour, Australasian PGA Tour, ALPG, R&A, United States Golf Association, and Golf Australia professional and amateur events – including the men's and women's Australian Opens.  The local rule will also be in effect for virtually every other significant event around the world.

GA strongly encourages all Australian clubs and event organisers at all levels of the game to make a decision to adopt this local rule.

Having consulted with state associations and GMA we believe that virtually every Australian club and/or competition organiser will be very supportive of this R&A decision and will wish to operate the new local rule.  We also understand that, given the timeframes, it will be ambitious to expect the majority of Australia's 1600 clubs to work through a decision-making process on this local rule within a short space of time.

To facilitate this decision-making process GA and state associations will consider this local rule to be in effect at a course through until the point that you make any formal decision on whether to continue to operate it.  So if you haven't made your own formal decision by 1 January, we will consider that the local rule is in effect for all of your competitions – you can choose to cancel this GA decision at any time.

We encourage clubs to communicate the details of the new local rule to their members at their earliest opportunity. The new local rule should be added to your noticeboard and/or score cards.  If a club decides not to operate the local rule, it should also communicate this decision to its members.

Please direct any questions on the new local rule to Simon Magdulski in the GA office –, 03 9626 5023.

Yours sincerely,

John Hopkins OAM
Chairman – Golf Australia

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