Laurel Canyon Men’s Golf Association

“LCMGA Rules of Play”

12th Revision January 2019


Play shall be governed by USGA rules except as modified below and by “Special” rules announced prior to play.  The adoption of the following rules is meant to speed play and clarify various playing conditions/situations.   

Note: As of January 1, 2019, the USGA has made significant changes to the rules.  Please click here to review the new 2019 USGA rules ==>  http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/golfs-new-rules.html




Course or “Playing Field” – Maintained tee boxes, fairways and maintained rough up to tree lines/woods are considered the “playing field”.  All other conditions are considered penalty areas, including all ponds/water and woods (beyond the tree line). 

Note: Areas marked by red stakes/lines are penalty areas. 


Line of Flight– If the original line of flight did not cross any defined “playing field”, then a line of flight does not exist.  The next shot is played from the original location, incurring a one stroke and distance penalty. Note: “line of flight” may not be a straight line.


Improving Lie – Anywhere in the “Playing Field” a ball may be rolled/moved to improve lie or stance, but no more than “12 inches or 1 foot” no closer to the hole. Player may not move a ball from rough to fairway, fringe to green or bunker/trap to fairway.

Putting –  Any putt within 6 inches (not 7) of the cup does not have to be holed (a gimme). Pick up the ball and add one stroke.

Penalty Area – A ball in a penalty area must be played as it lies and cannot be moved/touched without penalty.


Out of Bounds – All residential property and areas defined by white stakes. A ball that lies “out of bounds” cannot be played.  Follow procedure below: “Penalty Procedure”.

Hole #14 – Out of Bounds is defined by the “side walk”, not by the white stakes (i.e. any ball on the side walk (cart path) or to the right is considered “out of bounds”). Ball over the Cart path(not sidewalk) behind the green is not OB.


Penalty Procedure – If your ball is in a penalty area and cannot be played as lies, is lost, out of bounds,  or deemed unplayable, etc, player incurs a one stroke penalty and proceeds as follows:

    a) From the point your ball last crossed the penalty area, drop anywhere along original “line of flight”, going as far back as necessary (not laterally where the ball ended up). This generally is your best option.

    b) Play from the original location. 

    c) Drop ball within one club length on either side using “reference point” (USGA) going as far back as necessary.

    d) Lateral – From the point your ball last crossed the penalty area, drop ball within two club lengths on either side using “reference point”.  (USGA)


Sand Traps/Bunkers – When a ball lands in a footprint or similar disruption, proceed as follows: 

    a) drop or place the ball at the point of nearest relief in the sand trap, no nearer to the hole
    b) lift, rake, and replace the ball in its original location.  

If ball comes to rest against the lip of bunker/trap, ball must be played as lies,


    a) You may move the ball back on line of flight inside the trap to play it –  1 stroke penalty.

    b) Move it back outside the bunker on line of flight – 2 stroke penalty.

No grounding club in sand trap/bunker or testing the sand – One Stroke Penalty. Also note, it is allowed to remove twigs, rocks, and other foreign particles from the sand trap without penalty.

Please remember to rake the sand as you exit. Incidentally touching the club to the sand or leaning on a club in a sand trap is no longer a penalty.


Ball or Stance on Cart Path – If your ball comes to rest on a cart path or your stance is on the cart path, proceed as follows:

    a) Play as it lies
    b) Without penalty, drop to the left or right of cart path – players choice.

Determine nearest point of relief, no closer to hole and drop within one club length. 

Obstructions – Hole #5 and #13 – boulders are considered obstructions. Without penalty, drop within one club length, allowing for stance.


Provisional Ball – It will be a rare occasion that a provisional ball be hit. If your original shot did not cross the field of play and you think your ball lies in a hazard that may not be playable (as it lies), hit a provisional ball.


NO Penalty – 2019 USDA Rule changes allows for no penalty if:

    a) Double hit your ball while swing – simply counts as 1 stroke

    b) Hitting ball with practice swing – no penalty

    c) Ball moving after marking it – simply replace ball to original spot.

    d) Accidentally hitting person or equipment (golf cart, club , partner, or yourself with your ball is no longer a penalty. You may not however use your foot or club to stop a ball deliberately.

    e) You may now repair damage to the green in your line of putt on the green without penalty – ball and spike marks, old cup marks, etc. You may not smooth out natural growth on the greens.

    f) Moving rocks and other loose impediments in Penalty areas is not a penalty.

    g) Accidentally stepping on or moving the ball while searching for it is no longer a penalty (USGA. Simply replace the ball where it was found and play.

    h) Embedded Balls – Balls that are embedded, may be lifted and placed without penalty.

    i) Flag Stick – The flag stick may be left in the hole when putting without penalty. Flag stick if left in, may not be attended by another player in an effort to hold it up. It may be attended if pull out of the hole prior to the ball entering the hole.

    j) The grounding of a club in a hazard (Penalty Area) or water hazard is no longer a penalty.


USGA Local Rule E5:

The LCMGA has NOT adopted local rule E5: Alternative to Stroke and Distance for Lost Ball or Ball Out of Bounds.