Hi :

Please find below, the fifth installment of The Rules of Golf series. This segment covers penalty areas (Rule 17).
 
When a Player May Take Penalty Relief for a Ball in a Penalty Area
A player may take penalty relief for a ball in a penalty area when any part of the ball touches the ground or anything else inside the penalty area, is above the edge of the penalty area or the player is virtually certain the ball is inside the penalty area (95% or greater certainty).

Options for Ball in a Penalty Area
When a ball is in a penalty area, the player may play the ball as it lies or take relief under penalty of 1 stroke using the following options with the original ball or another ball:

1)   Stroke-and-Distance Relief (Yellow and Red Penalty Areas):
The player may play a ball from where the previous stroke was made.
If the ball was played from inside the teeing area, the player must play from anywhere inside the teeing area and may place the ball on a tee.
If the previous stroke was made from the general area, penalty area or bunker, the ball must be dropped in the following relief area:

  • Reference Point: The spot where the previous stroke was made
  • Size of Relief Area: Measure one club-length from the reference point, but ball must be in the same area of the course as the reference point (e.g. general area) and no nearer to the hole than the reference point.
2)   Back-on-the-Line Relief (Yellow and Red Penalty Areas):
The player may drop a ball in a relief area that is based on a reference line going straight back from the hole through the estimated point where the original ball last crossed the penalty area:
  • Reference Point: A point on the course chosen by the player that is on the reference line and is further from the hole than where the original ball last crossed the edge of the penalty area.
  •  Size of Relief Area: Measure one club-length from the reference point no nearer to the hole. May be in any area of the course except the same penalty area as long as the ball comes to rest on the same area of the course where the dropped ball first touches the ground.

Click the video below for a video explanation from the USGA of how to take back-on-the-line relief.
3)   Lateral Relief (Red Penalty Area Only):
When the ball last crossed the edge of a red penalty area, a player may drop a ball in this lateral relief area:

  • Reference Point: The estimated point where the ball last crossed the edge of the red penalty area
  •  Size of Relief Area: Measure two club-lengths from the reference point no nearer to the hole. May be in any area of the course except the same penalty area as long as the ball comes to rest on the same area of the course where the dropped ball first touches the ground.

Click the video to watch Grant Moir (from the R&A) explain how to take relief from a red penalty are during his “Rules from the Garden” series.  
The GTA AM Tour Hard Card is finalised for the 2022 season. Please review and print a copy and keep it in your golf bag throughout The Tour season.

All information on the Rules of Golf can be found on the R&A website under Rules of Golf. Tour players are strongly encouraged take the free Level 1 Rules of Golf course and exam at the R&A Rules Academy. Any player who achieves Level 1 certification can enter a draw for a round of golf at Coppinwood Golf Club by submitting their certificate to patricia@gtaamtour.com before the first event of the season.
We also recommend ALL Tour players download the R&A (or USGA) Rules of Golf App on their phones. This App is VERY easy to use and can provide players with instant information on how to proceed.
 
As always, if you are ever unsure how to proceed on the golf course, contact a GTA AM Tour Referee for assistance.
 
Christian De Cloet
Manager, Tour Operations; Level 3 Rules Referee
GTA AM Tour