Player Conduct & Spirit of the Game
Player Conduct & Spirit of the Game

It is one of the central principles of the game of golf that players play by the Rules and in the spirit of the game. Rule 1.2 is an important Rule in the Rules of Golf as it details the conduct that is expected of all players and what is meant by spirit of the game.

Rule 1.2 reads as follows:

“All players are expected to play in the spirit of the game by:

• Acting with integrity – for example, by following the Rules, applying all penalties, and being honest in all aspects of play.
• Showing consideration to others – for example, by playing at a prompt pace, looking out for the safety of others, and not distracting the play of another player.
• Taking good care of the course – for example, by replacing divots, smoothing bunkers, repairing ball-marks, and not causing unnecessary damage to the course.

There is no penalty under the Rules for failing to act in this way, except that the Committee may disqualify a player for acting contrary to the spirit of the game if it finds that the player has committed serious misconduct.

Penalties other than disqualification may be imposed for player misconduct only if those penalties are adopted as part of a Code of Conduct under Rule 1.2b."

Under Rule 1.2b Ghyll Golf Club adopts the following Code of Conduct

Care for the Course:

In the event that a player has to play out of a bunker they should ensure that before leaving the bunker they have carefully filled up all holes and footmarks by using the rake.

Divots, Ball-Marks & Shoe Damage
Players should carefully repair any divot holes and any damage to the putting green made by the impact of a ball (whether or not made by the player himself).

On completion of the hole by all players in the group, damage to the putting green caused by golf shoes should be repaired.

Preventing Unnecessary Damage
Players should avoid causing damage to the course. For example:

* Through the green a player should ensure that any turf cut or displaced is replaced at once and pressed down.
* Do not remove divots when taking practice swings or by hitting the club into the ground, whether in anger or for any other reason.
* Avoid standing too close to the hole and take care when handling the flagstick and when removing a ball from the hole. Do not use the clubhead to remove a ball from the hole.
* Ensure you do not damage the putting green when putting down bags or the flagstick.
* Do not lean on a club on the putting green.
* Under no circumstances should a trolley or buggy be taken onto any green or tee.
* Follow any local notices regulating the movement of golf trolleys and buggies. Do not take trolleys or buggies under or over ropes intended to guide players away from parts of the course.

Keeping Pace:
In the interest of all, players should play without delay and wherever possible should adopt a “ready golf” approach maintaining contact with the group in front.

Prompt Pace of Play
You should play at a prompt pace throughout the round, including the time taken to:

* Prepare for and make each stroke,
* Move from one place to another between strokes, and
* Move to the next teeing area after completing a hole.

You should prepare in advance for your next stroke and be ready to play when it is your turn.

When it is your turn to play
* It is recommended that you make the stroke in no more than 40 seconds after you are (or should be) able to play without interference or distraction, and
* You should usually be able to play more quickly than that and are encouraged to do so.

Lost Ball
* If you think your ball may be lost outside a water hazard or is out of bounds, to save time, play a provisional ball.
* Players searching for a ball should do so for a maximum of 3 minutes and, if players are waiting in the group behind, they should signal to the players following them to pass through and should not continue their play until those players have passed out of range.
* Any player returning to the tee in the event of a lost ball should call through the group behind.

Consideration for Others:

No Disturbance or Distraction
You should always show consideration for other players on the course and take care not to disturb their play by moving, talking or making unnecessary noise.

You should also ensure that any electronic devices taken onto the course do not distract other players.

Only tee your ball up when it is your turn to play and remember not to stand close to the ball, directly behind it, or directly behind the hole, when a player is about to swing.

On the Putting Green
On the putting green, you should be careful not to stand on another player’s line of play or, when he or she is putting, cast a shadow over his or her line.

And you should remain on or close to the putting green until all other players in the group have holed out.

In stroke play, if you are acting as a marker, on the way to the next tee you should, if necessary, check the score with the player concerned and record it.


No player should play until all in front are out of range and, in fog, not to hit the ball further than the player can see. Players should ensure that no one is standing close by or in a position to be hit by the club, the ball or any stones, pebbles, twigs or the like when they make a stroke or practice swing.

Players should always alert green staff nearby or ahead when they are about to make a stroke that might endanger them. The footpath crossing holes 8 and 9, 17 and 18 is a public right of way.

If your ball is heading in a direction where there is a danger of it hitting someone, shout a warning immediately. The traditional word of warning is “fore!”.

Priority on the Course:
With the exception of competitors in competitions without start sheets, players playing in any Club Competition or Match have priority and are entitled to pass any other group. In all other cases priority on the course is determined by a group’s pace of play. Any group playing a whole round is entitled to pass a group playing a shorter round. The term “group” includes a single player, however single players are asked to avoid busy times.

It should be remembered that consideration should be shown to others on the course at all times.

Members may not “cut in” on any tee if there are players anywhere on the preceding hole.

Unacceptable Behaviour:
Other examples of unacceptable behaviour that are considered a breach of the Code of Conduct include:

* Players must play their ball from where it lies and not seek to improve its position. During times where “lift, clean and place” is allowed, players should mark where their ball lies and place it within 6 inches. As per Rule 14.1a of the Rules of Golf, “if the player lifts the ball without marking its spot, marks its spot in the wrong way or makes a stroke with a ball-marker left in place, the player gets one penalty stroke.” See Rule 14 for further information.
* In the case of Tuesday and Saturday competitions all players must book a tee time via HowDidIDo. 'No Shows' are considered a serious breach of etiquette.
* Unacceptable language.
* Abuse of clubs or the course.
* Being disrespectful of other players, referees or spectators.
* Dress code violations.
* Mobile telephones should not be used for making or receiving calls on the golf course or in any part of the Clubhouse, except in an emergency, but may be used on the car parks out of earshot of players on the course.

Penalties for Breach of Code of Conduct:
It is the responsibility of players to monitor the behaviour of their playing partners during a round to ensure that the above Code of Conduct is adhered to. In the event that a transgression is noted, they should in the first instance advise their playing partner of the issue but if there is a repeated transgression, they must report it to the xxxx upon completion of their round.

In Ghyll competitions, the Handicaps & Fixtures Committee reserve the right to apply a penalty in line with the following structure:

First breach of the Code of Conduct - warning and advice to avoid further transgressions.
Second breach - one-stroke penalty.
Third breach - two-stroke penalty.
Fourth breach or any serious misconduct - disqualification.

Disciplinary sanctions that the Committee may impose including refusing to allow the player to enter one or more future competitions or requiring the player to play at a particular time of day. Such sanctions are separate from the Rules of Golf and it is a matter for the Committee to write and interpret any such sanctions. Alternatively, they may decide to refer more serious matters to the Club’s Disciplinary Committee.