May a player practice on holes 1-4 when the stipulated, stroke play competition round is holes 5-18?I am raising this subject in anticipation that there are many Clubs that hold such competitions. My own Club runs 14-hole, semi-open, midweek competitions throughout the summer season. It is a common practice for players who arrive early, to practice on the holes that do not form part of the stipulated round. It has now been brought to my attention that this may be a breach of Rule 7-1b, part of which states;
Before a round or play-off on any day of a stroke-play competition, a competitor must not practice on the competition courseThese are the relevant Definitions;
The "course" is the whole area within any boundaries established by the Committee (see Rule 33-2).
The "stipulated round" consists of playing the holes of the course in their correct sequence, unless otherwise authorized by the Committee. The number of holes in a stipulated round is 18 unless a smaller number is authorised by the Committee.Until this subject was raised with me, I envisaged no problem with players practicing on those holes that were not included in the stipulated round. However, the question was put to me as to whether a ball hooked from the 9th teeing ground that came to rest on the 3rd fairway, a hole not included in the stipulated round, would be in play? Knowing that this regularly happens on my home course and that no-one has ever suggested that a ball played to this position was out of bounds, I realised that the four holes not in play do indeed form part of the 14-hole course.
Fortunately, the Rules provide a solution for this potential problem. The Note to Rule 7-1 includes this statement;
Note: The Committee may, in the conditions of a competition …. permit practice on the competition course or part of the course (Rule 33-2c) on any day of or between rounds of a stroke-play competition.I will be making a recommendation to the Committee at my Club to introduce a Condition of Competition that specifically permits players to practice on those holes that are not included as part of the stipulated round on the day of any competition.
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