Allen Wooley Holds Rules and Putting Clinic


Relief options to a player under Rule 26 concerning HAZARDS and their definition.

Regular Water Hazards are marked with yellow lines and stakes. Lines define a hazard and stakes identify the hazard.  If a player hits their ball into a hazard defined by yellow lines they have three options:

1.  They may if possible play from within the margin of the hazard making sure they do not ground their club or test the condition of the hazard in anyway.   No Penalty.

2.  They may elect to play from where they last played from.  *One penalty stroke plus the distance back to where they last played from.

3.  A player may also keep the point the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard in line with the hole location and drop on that line with no limit on how far back they are permitted to go.  *One penalty stroke.

Lateral Water Hazards are defined by red lines and stakes and a player has the three options outlined above plus two additional options:

4.  A player may under *penalty of one stroke drop their ball within two club lengthsof the spot the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard, no nearer the hole.

5.  A player may elect under *penalty of one stroke to drop within two club lengths of a point on the opposite bank of the hazard that is equal distance from the point the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard.

The area bordered by holes #3, #4 and #5 that is identified by red stakes with green caps is an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA).  Players whose ball comes to rest within the margin of the ESA have all the options listed above with the exception that they may not play from within the margin of the ESA.

As an additional option on hole #5, a drop area has been defined that a player may use if their ball ends up in the hazard. The drop area on #5 is across the bridge and to the right about 40 yards. There also is a drop area defined for ladies only on #6.



A player who believes that their ball is lost outside of a hazard or out of bounds may hit a provisional ball under Rule #27.  They must announce their intentions verbally before they hit the provisional ball to their fellow competitors.  A player may have to do this multiple times until they are satisfied that they have a ball in play before going forward to search for the original ball.  Once a player has preceded forward their option to hit a provisional ball is not available.  Make certain that each ball is individually identifiable with a player’s mark.  If the original ball is found in bounds the provisional ball is abandoned.  A player has no other option available if they hit a ball out of bounds, except to go back to where they last played from. Using the procedure for a provisional ball can save many steps walking back to the area you last played from as well as time/pace of play.

Reminder:  If you are playing in a format that does not require you to finish the hole, i.e. some partnership formats or if there is a maximum stroke limit, a player may choose not to finish the hole.  Also, if you are not playing in a competition, equitable stroke control handicapping will limit the allowable strokes for a given hole. Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) is the system put in place by the USGA to eliminate the effect of “distaster holes” and puts a limit on the number of strokes you can write down on the scorecard for any one hole, based on your course handicap. If you do not yet have a handicap index, then use the maximum allowable handicaps to determine course handicap and ESC. For  women that means using 40.4 as a course handicap index.

Equitable Stroke Control Chart

Course Handicap Maximum Score
0-9 Double Bogey
10-19 7
20-29 8
30-39 9
40 or more 10



We have several trees with tree wells that are treated as ground under repair.  Tree wells are defined as having both a hump and a depression. A player is allowed free relief plus one club length if the tree well interferes with their stance or swing.  A player does not receive relief for line of play.



Practice these 3 putting exercises:

1.  Putt your ball one foot from the hole and do this over and over (1000 times). This lets your brain learn that when you putt, the ball goes in the hole.

2.  Practice distance. Use your carpet at home or another section of the practice green, pick a spot, and put to that spot focusing on speed and distance.

3.  Practice reading the greens. Take a ball and roll it underhanded on the green to see the break and speed. Did you read it correctly?

Allen explains hazards, provisional balls, and tree wells.

Some of the FLGA members who attended the clinic.


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