USGA Rules Changes For 2019

In January 2019 the USGA will implement many rule changes. The HCMGC has voted to enact all of these changes as of April 18, 2018. To see a complete list of the changes visit the web site below:

A few of the changes are listed below. You can click on any of them and get a more complete explanation of the change from USGA.

a) No penalty for accidentally moving your ball or ball-marker on the putting green

No penalty if your ball in motion is accidentally deflected by you, your equipment, or your caddie.

c) Your ball is lost if not found in three minutes (rather than the current 5 minutes)

d) Relief allowed without penalty for an embedded ball anywhere (except in sand) in the “general area” (a new term for “through the green”).

e) No penalty for touching your line of play on the putting green so long as doing so does not improve the conditions for your stroke.

f) No penalty if your ball played from the putting green (or anywhere else) hits the unattended flagstick in the hole.

g) Relief allowed outside a bunker for an unplayable ball for two penalty strokes.

h) If your club accidentally strikes your ball more than once during a stroke, there will be no penalty and your ball will be played as it lies.

Bare Spots (dirt) On The Greens

In the event there are patches of dirt (no grass) present on the green between your ball and the hole, a player is allowed to reposition their ball where that area will not obstruct their putt. The reposition should be no farther than is necessary to clear the obstruction and cannot be any closer to the hole.

Under Condition #1 rules

This means that you must play the ball 'down' regardless of where it may lie. This includes fairways as well as the rough. If conditions dictate otherwise on any given Wednesday, the appropriate Condition # 1, 2, or 3 will be announced via the Notification Sheet at the check-in desk.

Out Of Bounds

If a ball is out of bounds (left or right) on hole #1 only, a ball may be dropped in-bounds (within 2 club lengths) no closer to the hole with a 1 stoke penalty. The player is not allowed to hit from the out of bounds area but they do not have to return to the T-box. (hole #1 only). Players also have the option of returing to the tee box.

On holes other than #1:
When a player's ball has not been found or is known or virtually certain to be out of bounds, the player may proceed as follows rather than proceeding under stroke and distance: for two penalty strokes, the player may take relief by dropping the original ball or another ball in this relief area. The relief area is on the fairway, within 2 club lengths from the edge of the fairway. The ball should be dropped adjacent to the area of the original ball, no closer to the hole. Additional details can be found here.

1. General - Off the golf course property is considered out of bounds (OB), roads, parking lots, between apartments buildings, private property, and areas on the far side of lateral bodies of water (ponds and canals), separating the golf course and apartment/condos. Changes in mowing patterns are assumed to indicate golf course property boundary. Upward incline of swales separating golf course from apartments/condos are OB.
2. First hole - Played as lateral hazard. On the left side of the holes the golf course property line is indicated by, fences, one white OB stake, utility boxes, and private property signs. On the right side of hole the road is OB.
3. Out of bounds indicated as follows on the right side of the holes: #2 apartment property indicated by mowed area and utility box to hedge to utility boxes, #3 apartment property line and right slide of depression (slight swale), #4 road and fronting the fire house, the OB line is the dumpster to the utility box, #9 apartment property upward portion of swale, #10 maintenance buildings and roadway, #11 apartment property line, the upward slope of the swale prior to the lateral hazard, and #13 the upward incline of the swale, and across the water hazards on #17 and 18;
Left side of hole the apartment and building properties on #3, 4, and 5 identified by, the no trespassing signs, and across the water hazards on #4 and 5. On #9 the property line indicated from brick fence, to rusted stand pipe, to the chain link fences to the utility box, #10 driving range from the right driving range fence pole back towards the stand of trees on the left side of the fairway, #14 the mowed area and pet waste stations, #16 upward incline of swale, #18 and upward incline of swale near the apartment buildings.


"Play It Forward Rules" Red Tees

If your (Age + Handicap) is equal or greater than 95 and you wish to take advantage of this rule (hitting from the red tees) you must notify the Handicap Chairman of your intentions. Before deciding, you should know the implementation details:

• Once you decide to take advantage of the rule, you may not move back to the gold tees.

• You may hit from the forward (red) tees on all holes.

•For purposes of determining your initial handicap from the red tees, your handicap (which was established using the gold tees) will be artificially lowered by 4 strokes. When you have completed 3 official HGMGC rounds from the red tees, your handicap will be re-calculated using USGA standards. At that point, your handicap wiil begin recalculation every time those calcuations are done and reflect your playing ability hitting from the forward (red) tees.

Ball In Tree/Water Rule

If a ball is suspected to be lost in a tree or water hazard, the player can drop a ball within two club lengths of the tree or water hazard, not nearer to the hole, with a one stroke penalty. It is no longer required for a player to return to the original spot of his shot (loss of stroke and distance) and replay his shot. This is a club rule to speed up play.

Waste Bunker #16 Rule

Players can take a free drop from the waste bunker on the left side of hole #16. The player must drop from the closest point of relief, no closer to the hole. This rule will remain in effect until further notice.

Excessive Ants In Stance Area

Players may take a free drop within 1 club length to free their stance from excessive ant populations. The drop must be no closer to the hole.

Players may take a free drop within 1 club length to free their stance from excessive ant populations. The drop must be no closer to the hole.

Higher Handicap Players Par 3 Option

If your scorecard indicates, you are allowed to tee from the Red Tees on the Par 3's if you wish. This rule was implemented to give our players with higher handicaps a better chance to win the 'CTP' award. This rule is valid on all par 3 holes. Keep in mind the handicap for this advantage changes based on our membership so check the scorecard before staring each week.

Hole #4

At times there hole #4 can be very wet and messy. If that is the case, there is a local rule to provide relief in the case of a 'lost ball' in the fairway.

If a player's ball lands in the roped off area OF THE FAIRWAY on hole #4 and is plugged or otherwise lost, the player may drop a ball as close as possible to the area in which the ball was lost without penalty. In order to take advantage of this rule, the situation must meet the following criteria.

a. At least 1 other player MUST have witnessed the shot and seen the projected path of the ball.
b. The viewed landing area must have been within the roped off area and be in the fairway.
c. All members of the group must agree that #1 and #2 conditions were met.