The R&A and USGA have issued updated guidance overnight for clubs running competitions using temporary measures meant to help minimise the risk of COVID-19.
The guidance clarifies whether a competition being played using temporary measures to help minimise exposing players to COVID-19 is being played under the “Rules of Golf”.
If a Committee utilises any of the options available in this guidance, then the competition is being played under the Rules and should be handicapped.
The article clarifies a few areas of uncertainty:
- A Committee may establish a policy which provides a penalty for a breach of the local rule; e.g. removing the flagstick.
- A Committee may allow players to centre the flagstick safely; e.g. using a gloved hand or towel to straighten the flagstick in windy conditions.
- A Committee may not treat the ball as holed if it bounces off the flagstick or a pool noodle in the base.
- A Committee may not allow for a ball in a bunker to be lifted, the bunker smoothed and the ball replaced. It may allow preferred lies in bunkers.