R&A guidance on setting up the golf course

Help is at hand for those responsible for preparing the course for play.

16th May 2014
What golfers’ want
Correctly marking water hazards can make a Rules official’s life easier and ensure that the golfer gets the appropriate relief  

The R&A website, RandA.org, contains a wealth of useful guidance on various aspects of course presentation for play. 

The free download, Course Policy Document Template, looks at this aspect of course management from the position of what the facility and its customers want from the course, how this can be achieved and the resources required to deliver the expectations of golfers.  It includes the setting of objectives for greens, green surrounds, tees, fairways, bunkers and rough so that there are desirable and measurable outcomes for the management of the golf course.

tee setting
Setting up teeing grounds is more than simply placing marker blocks

‘Guidance on Running a Competition’ can be found in the Rules and Amateur Status section of RandA.org.  This provides information on marking out the golf course and course set-up.

The importance of marking out the course correctly cannot be over-emphasised from a Rules perspective, as penalty strokes and where to drop the ball often relate to marked areas of the course.  The information provided covers how to identify and mark out of bounds, water hazards, ground under repair, obstructions, environment-sensitive areas and dropping zones.  As the guidance states, a properly marked golf course helps all golfers adhere to the Rules and, therefore, courses should be marked at all times, not just for competitions, but on a daily basis so that golfers become accustomed to the markings and their purpose.

changing hole
Selecting the right hole position requires an understanding of how the hole is intended to be played

The guidance on course set-up, whilst focussing on preparations for competitions, also has a lot of material that is relevant to day-to-day presentation.  Teeing grounds and hole positions form the bulk of the guidance on course set-up.  Grant Moir, The R&A’s Director – Rules, is featured in videos filmed at The Open venue, Turnberry, which give examples of setting up teeing grounds and finding suitable hole positions.