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winter tee mat

Do I HAVE to play from the winter tee mat?

There can barely be enough room to swing a club – never mind two club lengths – but what are the rules for winter tee mats? Our expert takes a look

 

The winter tee mat – a necessary but frustrating part of playing winter golf. Especially when the mercury goes low and the playing surface is harder than rock.

Getting a tee to stay in one can be a Herculean task and god help your clubs if you catch it a bit chunky and get more mat than ball.

Clubs do their best but sometimes the size of the mat can be a problem too. We know the teeing area is defined as being two club lengths deep, but what if the mat isn’t that big?

Rule 6.2b (1) says a player can stand outside of the teeing area when making a stroke at a ball that’s inside it.

So enter my first rules email of the New Year, sent by Tony Leigh. He asks: “Do I have to tee off on a temporary tee mat or can I put a tee in the grass behind the mat provided I am within two club lengths of the tee markers?”

What do the Rules say? Let’s take a look…

winter tee mat

Winter tee mat: Can I tee up on the grass behind the mat?

You’d think this was obvious. The mat is there for a reason – to protect the tee from wintry conditions. It seems a bit weird to have a mat and then allow a free-for-all.

What you can do in this situation is ultimately down to golf clubs. Whatever they decide, it should be communicated clearly in their Local Rule establishing the use of winter tee mats.

Here’s what my home club say about it: “Where artificial tee mats are in use, the teeing area is restricted to the area of the mat, so the ball must be played from the mat and the player’s stance must be on the mat.”

What if you don’t follow those regulations? In stroke play it means you have not teed off from inside the teeing area and you’ll get the general penalty. That’s two shots and the mistake must be corrected – if you tee off from the next hole without doing so then you are disqualified.

Now have your say

What do you think? Should you always use the winter tee mat or should you always be allowed your full two club length teeing area? 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.

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