HGC Rules

Jan 11, 2016   //   by Richard Witters   //   General  //  No Comments




Play shall be governed by the Rules of Golf of the United States Association, and as modified by the following local rules:

  1. The Rules of Golf require proper scoring on score cards. HGC expands that rule to include proper marking of Net and Gross scores plus proper addition of both.  Errors found may result in disqualification.  Both the scorer and the individual need to sign the score card before they are submitted.  Unsigned cards will not be accepted.  It is recommended that each player keep their own score in addition to the score card they are keeping for their playing partner making it easier to check your card at the completion of the round.
  2. Men shall play from the BLACK tee markers (unless stated otherwise), over 60 can play BLUE tees, over 70 can play WHITE and Women shall play from the COMBO tee markers (unless stated otherwise). Women over 60 can play the white tees.  Handicaps will be adjusted according to the tees you play.
  3. ‘SUMMER’ rules are in effect at all times (i.e., you may not touch your ball once played from the tee until it reaches the putting surface of the hole being played), unless posted otherwise on the day of the tournament. If ‘WINTER’ rules are in effect, in your own fairway, you may lift, clean and place your ball within one club-length of its original position, no nearer to the hole.  If you move your ball when it is in play add a penalty of one stroke and replace the ball to its original position.


  1. As always, if you are not sure where your ball landed or if it went OB, please hit a provisional ball after so notifying your playing partners. This not only applies to tee balls, but to any shots made. This will help speed up play. The provisional ball should have different markings from the original ball to identify it as a different ball.


  1. Speed of play is a persistent problem in the league. It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure that their group keeps up with the group in front of them. Failure to do so may result in penalty strokes being added to all the members of the group.
  2. The Modified Embedded Ball rule is in effect. This means: Anywhere ‘through the green,’ a ball which is embedded in its own pitch-mark in the ground, may be lifted without penalty, cleaned and dropped as near as possible to the spot where it lay but not nearer the hole. This does not apply to balls in any hazard, including bunkers.
  3. Ground Under Repair (GUR) – Marked with white lines. If not clearly marked or covered in the following rules, you may take appropriate relief if your playing opponents agree. This applies if the ball is in the GUR or if your normal stance is in the GUR.  Unmowed areas in the fairway, unless subject to casual water, are not deemed GUR. If your ball is in an area deemed as GUR you may lift the ball, clean it and drop it within one club length of the nearest point of relief, but not nearer the hole.
  4. Cart Paths –  If your ball is on a cart path you may lift the ball and drop it within one club length of the nearest point of relief, but not nearer the hole.  This means that whichever side of the cart path that your ball lies on is the side you must drop on.  Also at Herndon there are many spots with gravel near the cart path, during HGC events these gravel areas are considered part of the cart path and you may take appropriate relief.  Your playing partners need to agree to any relief taken.  Failure to obtain agreement will result in a penalty of one stroke.
  5. Water Hazards are identified with Yellow Stakes; Lateral Water Hazards are identified with Red Stakes. The stakes are to be treated as being totally within the hazard. If the stakes are easily removed they may be considered as ‘movable obstructions. Follow the Rules of Golf for appropriate drop procedures. Get your playing partners agreement on the point of drop.
  6. You are allowed a free lift and drop within one club-length from the nearest point of relief, not nearer the hole, from small staked seedlings or shrubs (one club-length in height or less), all flower beds with flowering plants (does not include tree wells), resodded areas, cart paths, service roads, and posts and ropes around greens – if post is not movable. We do not have a root rule.  If your ball lands on a root and you need to move it to hit safely, you can take an unplayable lie.
  7. Under the current Rules of Golf, you must identify your ball, even in a hazard. You should have distinctive markings on your ball to facilitate this process.  If you must lift your ball to identify it, it must be replaced to the same condition and lie as it was when you found it.  This should be approved by another member of the group before it is done.  In a hazard, you are not allowed to remove any loose impediments or plant materials to access the ball or to hit the ball. If you hit the wrong ball you incur a two stroke penalty and must correct the mistake by playing the correct ball.
  8. After raking the traps and in accordance with the recommendations of the USGA, all rakes shall be left inside the traps with the end of the handle resting on the surrounding grass to allow it to be retrieved without entering the trap. Feel free to rake other areas of the trap that need raking if nearby the area that you are raking.
  9. Local rules for boundary markers are defined below; in general boundary markers are fences, walls, white stakes or white lines. You may not take a free drop from any boundary marker.
  10. Due to the number of animals, both four legged and two legged, on the course that enter the bunkers and don’t rake when they are done, HGC has instituted a new rule that will allow you to lift your ball, rake the spot it was located and replace at the same location in a bunker if, upon the agreement of the playing members of your group, you are in an unraked footprint or animal print in a bunker. The following is a list by hole, for clarification on questionable areas and boundaries.
  11. Any area on the course that has been altered due to a downed tree or tree removal shall be considered ground under repair. This needs to be confirmed by your playing partners.

Hole #1: Fence on left and driving range on right are out of bounds (O.B.).  The fence is considered the O.B. line.  No free drop is allowed from this fence or any boundary marker.

Hole #2: The left woods is O.B. as marked.  The ditch in front of tee is a hazard. The ditch left of cart path is a hazard. The ditch front-right of green is a water hazard. The ditch behind green is a hazard. The driving range to the right is O.B.  The mound on the left of cart path is in play and no free drop is permitted.

Hole #3: The ditch lateral to tee box is a hazard up to the cart path, or-as marked. The lake is a lateral hazard as marked. High grass areas to the left of the fairway and the right of the right cart path are in play.  Wooded area to the left of the fairway and green is in play.  Balls lost in this area must be deemed a lost ball and played accordingly.

Hole #4: The ditch (creek) in front of tee is a hazard; complete relief (stance and swing only, not line of sight) with free drop from old pump house structure. Maintenance area to right of tee is O.B.

Hole #5: Ditch in front of tee is a hazard, and extends left of cart path. Rock piles are within the boundary of the hazard. Left of cart path, past where creek ends, is a lateral hazard.

Hole #6: O.B. left fence or as marked, and extends all along the left side, where marked. Area behind green marked as a lateral hazard. Rock pile (right side of fairway, next to #5 tee) is a lateral hazard, as marked.

Hole #7: Areas on left side, including fenced or wooded areas left and past green, are lateral hazards; rock area to the right of the green and the cart path is a lateral hazard.

Hole #8: O.B. fence and as marked (boundary fence on left ends before corner, along creek, but the creek- wooded area around corner and along the left side up to and including maintenance building is all to be considered as O.B.).

Hole #9: O.B. along left side as marked and behind the green as defined by the fence; ditch (creek) is hazard; bridge inside hazard is part of the hazard.

Hole #10: Drainage ditch and rocky area near and under bridge on left is a hazard. High grass to the left of the cart path is in play.

Hole #11: Ditch from right to left and in front of tee is a hazard. High grassy area left of cart path in front of the left Black/Blue tees is a hazard. Lake behind green played as a lateral hazard.

Hole #12: Ditch right and left of fairway in front of green are hazards. All French drains (gravel areas) are ground under repair.

Hole #13: O.B. as marked and includes left fence and fence behind green; ditch in front of tee is a hazard.

Hole #14: O.B. fence line left of cart path; pond on right is a water hazard.

Hole #15: Ditch right and left of fairway are hazards. Drainage areas in fairway (small rocks, French drains, etc.) are ground under repair. Maintenance area to the left of the mounds on the left side of the fairway is a lateral hazard.  Fence around superintendent’s house to the right of the green is a boundary marker for the course (i.e. if you are inside the fence you are out of bounds).  The road behind the green is considered to be a cart path.

Hole #16: O.B. fence line on right or as marked.

Hole #17: O.B. fence line and building & wooded area along the right side including the drainage ditch right of cart path. Screen on right is O.B. and along right side of path following white stakes.  Balls resting against screen do not get a free drop.  No line of sight relief allowed for balls behind screen.  Wooded area to the left of the fairway and front tee is in play.  Balls lost in this area must be deemed a lost ball and played accordingly.  Ditch to the left of the green and behind it is a hazard.

Hole #18: Ditch in front of tee and pond are hazards. Driving range is O.B.

All water-filled ditches, natural drainage ditches, or ponds, are water hazards and should be played accordingly (even when not clearly marked and as noted above).  All French drains if they have exposed gravel are free drops.

ATTENTION: ALL Pampas grass areas are no longer considered a free drop.  As with any unplayable lie, ball must be identified in pampas grass. You cannot assume ball went into pampas grass. If not identified, ball must be played as a lost ball, which means stroke and distance.

PRACTICE: Practice on the course once play has started or practice putting on the green of any hole, even after the hole is complete,  is prohibited and subject to a two stroke penalty for each offense.  If the practice occurs after the hole is completed then the penalty is applied to the next hole.





Herndon Golfers Club

How to Score Common Golf Penalty Shots




How to Score

Out-of-bounds 1-stroke penalty plus distance. Replay the ball from where it was just played (or tee up again if it was your first shot).  If you think your ball may be out of bounds play a provisional ball.  A provisional ball must be announced to the playing partners.
Unplayable lies 1-stroke penalty. Drop the ball within two club lengths of the original spot, no nearer to the hole. Or drop the ball as far back as you want, as long as you keep the original unplayable lie point on a line between you and the pin. You may also return to the spot from which you played your original shot if you prefer.
Water hazard (yellow stakes) 1-stroke penalty. Play the ball as near as possible to the place from which the original shot was hit. Or drop a ball behind the water, as long as you keep the point at which the original ball crossed the edge of the water hazard on the line directly between the pin and the spot on which the ball is dropped. There is no limit to how far behind the water hazard you can go with the ball.
Lateral water hazard (red stakes)




Free Drops

1- stroke penalty. Drop a ball outside the lateral hazard within two club lengths of where the ball went in, but not nearer to the hole. Or keep a point on the opposite side of the water hazard equidistant from the hole.  If it is possible, you can drop the ball along a line between the point the ball crossed into the hazard and the pin as far back as you desire.  This is not usually an option.


Free drops from cart paths or other man made immovable objects are to be made from the closest point of relief.  On a cart path the drop must be made on the side of the path that the ball lays on, not either side.  You can take a clear stance off of the path and one club length from that point.  Complete relief must be taken.