Following the R&A guidance on the Rules of Golf, handicapping chiefs have discussed the implications for qualifying competitions

Clubs who allow preferred lies in bunkers, and modify hole depths so players don’t have to touch the flagstick, can still hold qualifying competitions – should they wish – during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU), who administer handicaps and competitions in Great Britain and Ireland, met following R&A guidance on the Rules of Golf issued by the governing body last Friday.

With most clubs taking a number of measures in order to enforce social distancing and minimise potential touch points out on the course, some have asked whether their scheduled competitions could count for handicap under such conditions.

A CONGU statement reads as follows: “Following on from the R&A’s guidance on the Rules of Golf issued on Friday 20 March, CONGU has now discussed the implications for scores for handicap qualifying competitions and can confirm the following:

Flagsticks/Holes: If clubs have made the decision to modify the depth of the hole to allow players to remove the ball without touching the flagstick, scores will be acceptable for either competition or supplementary score purposes.

Bunkers: If clubs introduce a Local Rule to allow preferred lies in bunkers, scores will be acceptable for competition or supplementary score purposes. (Using Model Local Rule E-3)

Please note: The distance for preferred lies in the bunker is limited to six inches and the area cannot be smoothed before placing.

Alternatively, if the condition of bunkers is so poor that it interferes with the proper playing of the game, a club Committee may declare all bunkers to be Ground Under Repair, scores will be acceptable for competition or supplementary score purposes.

Note: These temporary provisions are applicable until further notice.”

Is your club holding qualifying competitions or are they planning to do so? Let me know in the comments or tweet me.