Laurel Canyon Men’s Golf Association

“LCMGA Rules of Play”

11th Revision June 18, 2018


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 closely mown rough. All other conditions are considered a hazard, including all ponds/water, woods, cut weeds on hills, etc. Sand traps/bunkers and out of bounds (white stakes) are defined below.


Playing from a Hazard – Ball must be played as it lies (except out of bounds).  Absolutely, no improvement of lie, stance, swing path, etc.  If a ball cannot be played as it lies(unplayable), is lost, out of bounds, in water hazard, etc. player incurs a penalty of one stroke and proceeds as follows:     

a)  drop anywhere along original “line of flight”, going as far back as necessary
b)  play from the original location.


Out of Bounds – Defined by white stakes. A ball that lies “out of bounds” cannot be played.  Follow procedure above, “Playing from a Hazard”.

On hole #14, out of bounds is defined by the cart path, not by the white stakes (i.e. any ball on the cart path or to the right is considered “out of bounds”).

Note: all residential property is considered “out of bounds” and may not be played from.


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 penalty.


Improving LieONLY in Fairways or Maintained Rough, a ball may be rolled/moved to improve ball 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.


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, or 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. No grounding club in sand trap/bunker. Please remember to rake the sand as you exit.


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. 


Note: The LCMGA has modified this USGA rule.  To see how the USGA rule is defined and applied, click here  Relief from Obstruction


Hole #2 – Left of the green is considered “maintained rough.

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

Hole #15 – Hill on left side of cart path is considered “maintained rough” up until crest of hill.

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.  



Non-Tournament Play – Maximum score on any hole is three (3) over par (triple bogey). A golfer who is two strokes over par and not in the cup should pick up his ball and proceed to the next hole.


Tournament Play – All strokes Tee to in the Hole will be recorded. No gimmies.


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


Score Cards – All score cards shall be checked for accuracy by at least two (2) players and signed before being turned in to the Golf Coordinator. The “official” score card shall have first and last names.  NEATNESS COUNTS.  The golf coordinators/hosts may be logging 60 plus scores which takes time.  The easier to read the faster post round tabulation.


Tie Breakers: (voted down 2018).  At the end of normal play, if a player or players are tied; the following holes will be used to break the ties and to determine a winner for payouts. In this order, HOLES 3, 15, 4 & 11 will be used to decide Tie Breakers.



LCMGA Handicap System – The software system will be used to determine member handicaps.  ONLY organized LCMGA matches both home and away will be used in creating handicaps. New members with USGA handicaps will be integrated into the LCMGA handicap system with their USGA handicap (adjusted for FOC course ratings) and will then have a valid LCMGA handicap.

Our handicap system is as per USGA rules.  In order to have a “valid” handicap a player must complete 5 rounds.  The LCMGA Handicap calculations are used by the LCMGA’s handicap program inclusive of course Rating and Slope to establish a member’s Handicap and Handicap Index.

Members without a LCMGA handicap can participate in games, but cannot participate in awards, until they have completed a minimum of five (5) rounds to establish a valid handicap. They may contribute an amount determined by the LCMGA Board to participate in the “closest” to the pin (CTTP) competition/awards.”


Maximum Handicap (36) – The USGA Maximum Handicap Index for men is 36.4.  The LCMGA has decided to cap the MAXIMUM handicap for competition play at 36.


Players Competing from A Different Course Rating or Tees (USGA Section #3-5/1) – A course handicap represents the number of strokes needed from a specific set of tees to play to the level of a scratch golfer; i.e., to the USGA Course Rating. The calculation of a Course Handicap only includes a player’s Handicap Index® and the Slope Rating® of the tees being played. When a USGA Course Rating difference exists among competitors, they are playing to different benchmarks, and an adjustment equal to the full difference in USGA Course Rating must be made in order for the competition to be equitable.


Course Rating Difficulty Difference – White 68.1 vs Gold 64.4 is:  68.1 – 64.4 = 3.7 strokes. We will use as a modifier 4 strokes.

Players playing from the GOLD TEES will have a 4 stroke reduction adjustment to their handicap. This adjustment will be automatically calculated by the Handicap System software.


Yearly Handicap Adjustment – On June 1st of the calendar year, all recorded scores that are one year or older will be deleted from the LCMGA handicap system. If an existing member does not have a total of 5 scores after this adjustment, they must fulfill the requirement of 5 scores to establish a handicap just like a new member.


Exceptional Score Handicap Adjustments – In keeping with the goal of the Association to promote good fellowship and sportsmanship among its members and to encourage active participation of its members in weekly golf events, handicap adjustments will promote fairer play. Based on a player’s exceptionally low net score, the following chart will be used to adjust the player’s handicap to more accurately reflect their “Playing Potential” in accordance with USGA Rules. When any player records a net score reflected in the left column, based on the Exceptionally Low Score provision, a second score (reflected in the 3rd column) will also be assessed for handicap purposes.

It is urged that all members read the USGA Manual, Section 8.4c, with regards to adjusting handicap indices.


Exceptional Score Adjustment Chart

Net Score Actual Gross Second Adjustment Score
64 – 65 Gross Score Gross Score
61 – 63 Gross Score Gross Score – 5 strokes
60 and below Gross Score Gross Score – 10 strokes


Ex 1:  Player has a handicap of 20 and shoots a gross score of 85, net 65.  Score posted for handicap will be one 85 and an additional 85. 

Ex 2:  Player has a handicap of 20 and shoots a gross score of 83, net 63.  Score posted for handicap will be one 83 and an additional 78.

Ex 3:  Player has a handicap of 20 and shoots a gross score of 80, net 60.  Score posted for handicap will be one 80 and an additional 70. 


Gold Tee Eligibility – Any member age 72 or older may play from the Gold tee. 

Note: Moving back to White tees from Gold is not allowed.



Ready golf –  Within the bounds of courtesy, safety and consideration of your fellow golfers do not stand around while they are playing. Take actions to prepare so that you are ready to play as soon as you have the opportunity.  Do not wait for “your turn”.


Ball Hawking – prohibited. Lost ball search time is limited to three (3) minutes.


Golf carts – mandatory. Players desiring to walk between shots must not interfere with the pace of play of their group.


Pace of Play – Be aware of your position on the golf course. If you cannot see the group in front of you and the group behind you is waiting, pick up your pace of play.


Cart Path Only – Take several clubs to your ball and sand bottle. If you don’t think you have the right club, do the best you can with what you have. Do not waste time making a trip back to your cart to get another club.


Finished Hole – When a hole is finished, clear the green area and move to the next hole.  Mark your scorecard at the next tee box so the group behind you can hit.



Event Sign Up – Members must use the LCMGA Website to sign up for play or an event.

Closed Events – Events are generally CLOSED for entry 24 hours prior.  

Cancellations – please go to the LCMGA website and select option “Cancel from Event”.  If Event is closed, email Host/Coordinator.  Cancelling after an Event is closed should be an exception.

Hosts – EVERY member of the LCMGA will be a HOST at some time. This is a requirement of membership.  On Event days, Hosts check in players, collect monies and divide/separate into envelopes.

Check-in Time – Hosts need time at the practice range, too.   As such, Check-in-Time is 30 minutes prior to tee time.  If you are not checked in 30 minutes prior, you will not be able to play in the event.



Major Tournaments – Four Major tournaments are played each year (March, May, July, September, in determining Player of the Year for each of 3 divisions Gold, Silver, Bronze.  Divisions are based on handicap.

Points are awarded to each individual based on finishing position in each Major (10 points for 1st, 9 points for 2nd, 8 points for 3rd, and so on, to 1 point for 10th place).  The best point total of 3 tournaments is awarded Player of the Year.


Player of the Year Qualifications – Members must play in 3 of the 4 major tournaments.  A member must have a total of 5 scores posted prior to tournament play of that year.


League/Club Championship Qualification – A two day event held in October.  Members must have a total of 10 (ten) scores posted prior to the League/Club Championship Tournament.


It is recommended that you print a copy of these LCMGA golf rules and keep a copy in your golf bag for reference.



Please help take care of the golf course; fill divots in fairways with sand, repair all ball marks on the green (yours and one more), rake traps when exiting, keep carts a reasonable distance, “or as posted” from greens. Observe and comply with keeping carts off all posted or marked holes with Cart Path Only. Avoid standing water and wet spots with carts.