New Golf Rules You’ve Never Experienced In The History Of The Game.

Never before in this history of the ancient game will club golfers in the UK and Northern Ireland have faced the ‘rules’ shortly to be introduced.

There will be no changes to the 32 Rules of Golf currently administered by the R & A and the USGA.

No, the changes (and with May 18th being strongly suggested as a starting date) will centre on necessary residence and social distancing rules needed to be introduced in helping combat the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The UK government is very likely to follow the Irish Government in rules to encompass all golf club members across the UK and Northern Ireland.

So, the message to all club golfers is be prepared for tougher #SocialDistancing measures.

* The dates are based on what is now in place in Ireland and more than likely to be copied by Westminster.

Bernie and with long-time friend, Steve Clarke in October, 2019 and looking forward to heading out to golf’s seventh oldest club.

May 18th to June 7th 5 Mile Distance Rule

Only those members living within a 5-mile radius of their home club will be allowed to tee-up.

Take my own club, Crail Golfing Society at Fifeness in Scotland.  It is exactly two miles from the Golf Hotel in the centre of Crail, and where the club was indeed founded in 1786, to the Crail clubhouse.

If you extend that by three miles the five-mile inclusion zone along the A917 to the east in the direction of St. Andrews would stop at Kingbarns while the zone to the south would go as far as encompassing the small village of Kilrenny.

It would exclude such villages of Anstruther, Pittenween, Ellie, St. Monans, Dunino, Boar Hills and, of course, St. Andrews.

And remember, the government will stress in announcing these restrictions that only essential journeys will be allowed outside of this initial five-mile zone.

So, if you’re living in St. Monans the last thing you want is being stopped by a member of the Fife Constabulary and then in he or she to notice golf clubs in your vehicle and be slapped with a hefty fine.

June 8th to July 19th – 10 Mile Distance Rule

The exclusion zone will be extended and allow those members living in a 10 miles radius of their golf club to return to golf

Once again using Crail as a yardstick that would include Brownhills, and just prior to entering St. Andrews on the A917 ,  and St. Monans in travelling south along the A917 in the direction of Edinburgh.

July 20th – 20 Mile Distance Rule 

The inclusion zone will be extended to 20 miles and that would take you east to Pickletillum and near Drumoig while south, and still travelling along the A910, it would extend the inclusion zone to Leven

It will be up to the clubs themselves, like Crail to determine those villages who will fit in the respective inclusion zones.

And should you elect to tee-up during May 18th to June 7th, and your residence is more than five miles from the club then save a fine and also embarrassment and DQ yourself.

What all golfers seek and that’s pot of gold at the bottom of the cup.   Crail Golfing Society and a photograph taken exactly a year ago on this same day namely 4th May. (Photo @tourmiss)

Now you’re legally at the golf course it will be pretty much as follows:

  • Singles and/or two-balls only
  • No exchange of scorecards
  • No formal club-arranged competitions until further notice.
  • No rakes in bunker. Use your foot to best smooth out your shoe marks.
  • Flagsticks to remain in place and not removed.  Many clubs now have in place a hard-plastic ring that allows the ball to drop just far enough into the hole for an easy retrevil.  Clubs like Crail have the cups raised within the hole so to also allow for an easier retrieval
  • Gimmies?  Don’t pick-up your playing partner’s golf ball and hand it to him/her.
  • Pack a small bottle of sanitizer and a cloth and try to wipe your golf ball each time before tee-off.
  • Do not pick-up any tees (unbroken or not) lying about the tees.
  • At all times, try to adhere to ‘social distancing’ rules in staying six-feet apart.
  • Then at the end of your round thank your playing partner but without any hand/arm contact.

How about a pot of tea in the clubhouse I hear you say?   Well, that’s another bridge the ancient club-and-a-ball game still has to cross.

Hopefully come September the game of golf will become a lot simpler and we all can get back to focussing on other matters, such as not three-putting the first hole in the Saturday medal competition.

Enjoy your game!








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