fbpx
fairway mats

Can my club force me to use a mat on the fairway?

A Local Rule gives clubs the power to compel players to use fairway mats – and dish out sanctions if they don’t. Our Rules expert explains

 

It’s often an exercise in carrot and stick – we’re talking, of course, about encouraging players to use fairway mats in winter.

For those clubs that bring them in to try and preserve the quality of their turf over the cold months, it’s often an order but it can be difficult to impose.

But committees dealing with the odd awkward member, or those who just flat out refuse to come to heel, will soon have another weapon they can wheel out to devastating effect.

Clubs that adopt Model Local Rule E-12, part of the 2023 Rules of Golf which came into effect at the start of this year, can enforce the compulsory use of fairway mats.

The general penalty (two strokes or loss of hole in match play) is the sanction each time that is breached as players are judged to be playing from a wrong place.

The Local Rule isn’t recommended for use outside the fairway in the general area and isn’t authorised to restrict the use of putters in specific areas.

And it also, helpfully, outlines what players should do when they are using a mat and the ball won’t stay on it.

The Local Rule states the mat “must be placed” on top of the spot where the ball came to rest, and if the ball when placed rolls off the mat, the player must try to place it a second time.

If it still won’t stay put, the mat is moved to the nearest spot – no closer to the hole – where the “ball will come to rest on the mat when placed”.

If the ball on the mat is accidentally moved before a stroke is made, there’s no penalty and it must be placed again on the mat. If a tee is used to secure the mat, “the ball must not be placed on the tee”.

So rather than sending out another desperate email pleading with players not to rip up the precious turf, and to use fairway mats, clubs can now take direct action in competitions.

Has your club brought in this Local Rule? What do you think of it? Let me know with a comment on X.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

Latest Posts

This week’s hottest golf equipment deals

By

Read full article about This week’s hottest golf equipment deals
Bryson DeChambeau Masters Day One

The Masters

DeChambeau leads, steady Scheffler and Willett’s return! Day One at the Masters

By

Read full article about DeChambeau leads, steady Scheffler and Willett’s return! Day One at the Masters

The Masters

Welcome to ‘The Golf Phase’: Bryson’s new outlook helps him scale Masters summit

By

Read full article about Welcome to ‘The Golf Phase’: Bryson’s new outlook helps him scale Masters summit

The Masters

‘It’s unexpected’: Danny Willett on the charge after Masters miracle

By

Read full article about ‘It’s unexpected’: Danny Willett on the charge after Masters miracle

The Masters

What’s in Bryson DeChambeau’s bag?

By

Read full article about What’s in Bryson DeChambeau’s bag?

The Masters

‘We have to do something’: Tom Watson pleads for peace in golf wars

By

Read full article about ‘We have to do something’: Tom Watson pleads for peace in golf wars

WIN! A £100 voucher to spend with Premier Lake Balls

By

Read full article about WIN! A £100 voucher to spend with Premier Lake Balls
tony finau driver

News

Really? Tony Finau makes unusual equipment change at the Masters

By

Read full article about Really? Tony Finau makes unusual equipment change at the Masters

The Masters

The food and drink prices at the Masters are incredible

By

Read full article about The food and drink prices at the Masters are incredible