Friday, November 23, 2007

The Rules of Golf 2008 - 2011

The R & A and the United States Golf Association have worked closely for more than fifty years to produce a uniform code of rules so that wherever golf is played the same laws apply. Every four years these two governing bodies, after consultation with golf authorities worldwide, agree any changes that they consider will make the Rules of Golf fairer and easier to understand.

New rules come into force on 1st January 2008. Four million copies of the ‘Rules of Golf’, sponsored by Rolex, will be printed in English. The new rules will also be printed, under licence, in twenty-five other languages. Rule books will be distributed free of charge to golf clubs and may be ordered on the R&A Website
‘Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2006 – 2007’ becomes obsolete and is replaced by the new 2008 – 2009 edition. This book is invaluable not only for Rules Officials but also for all those involved in the administration of the game (e.g. club committees). It may be purchased from the above website or from high street or on-line booksellers.

Many members will have read in the press recently that there are to be changes to 28 of the 34 rules but there is no cause for alarm. ‘Rules of Golf 2008 –2011’ contains a new ‘Quick Guide to the Rules of Golf". This is excellent and should certainly make players feel more at ease with their rule books. Many rules have simply been re-worded in order to make them easier to understand. One example is the term ‘reasonable evidence’ that was used previously used in several rules. This was difficult to interpret and has been changed to ‘known or virtually certain’ which is much clearer.

One significant change relates to hazards. Until now the rules did not giver a player the opportunity to lift a ball from a hazard in order to identify it and therefore there was no penalty for playing a wrong ball either from a bunker or from a water hazard. The restriction on identifying a ball in a hazard has been removed (Rule 12 – 2) and the exemption from penalty for playing a wrong ball from a bunker or water hazard has also been removed (Rule 15 – 3). The result is that the penalty for playing a wrong ball anywhere on the course is now loss of hole in match play or a two stroke penalty in stroke play. In stroke play the mistake must of course be corrected in order to avoid disqualification.

Several other changes are to penalties rather than to actual rules and in every case the change favours the player. When a ball in motion is stopped or deflected by the player, her partner, or either of their caddies or equipment the penalty has been reduced from loss of hole in match play and a two stroke penalty in stroke play to one stroke in either form of play (Rule 19 – 2). This is a very welcome change. Many members will have been in the situation where the ball re-bounds off the face of a bunker and it is impossible to move quickly enough to avoid being struck by it!

Until now a flagstick that had been removed and placed on the ground was not allowed to be moved whilst a ball was in motion. This left players in a ‘catch 22’ situation. Moving the flagstick in case a ball in motion struck it incurred a penalty under one rule (Rule 1- 2). Leaving it on the ground to be struck by the ball incurred a penalty under another rule (Rule 17 – 3). This situation has been resolved. A flagstick, whether attended, removed or held up may now be moved when a ball is in motion (Rule 24 – 1).

On the putting green it is sometimes very difficult to avoid standing on another player’s line without standing astride the line of one’s own putt which is of course not allowed (Rule 16 –1e). An ‘exception’ to this rule has been added to allow inadvertent standing astride the line of putt or doing so in order to avoid another player’s line.

The penalty for carrying, but not using, a non-conforming club has been reduced from disqualification to, in stroke play, a penalty of two strokes per hole at which a breach occurred, with a maximum penalty of four strokes per round. In match play the state of the match is adjusted by one hole for each hole at which a breach occurred with a maximum penalty of two holes per round (Rule 4 – 1). This is now the same penalty as that for carrying more than fourteen clubs (Rule 4 – 4).

The penalty for using a non-conforming club remains disqualification. The R & A announced four years ago that from 1st January 2008 all drivers must have a conforming clubhead and ensured that this was well publicised. Sufficient warning was given to allow players plenty of time to check and, if necessary, change their drivers. This rule applies to all golfers of all abilities and in all forms of play. The required specifications are set out in Appendix II, 5c of the new rule book and detailed lists of conforming and non-conforming driver heads may be found on the R & A website. In club golf it is the responsibility of each player to check that her equipment conforms to the Rules of Golf. Players taking part in County or National events should also check as to whether the Conditions of Competition include the Driving Club Condition. If so any driver used must be on the R & A’s ‘List of Conforming Driver Heads’. For more detailed information refer to the R & A website and in particular their ‘Frequently asked questions’ on this topic.

Space does not permit me to mention, let alone explain, every single rule change but I have highlighted those most likely to crop up in the normal course of play. For more detailed information refer to the R & A website and to ‘Principle Changes introduced in the 2008 code’ which you will find on page 6 in your new rule book. Always remember that the Rules of Golf exist to make the game fair for all players. The more familiar you become with the rules the more you will enjoy your golf.

Jenny McGahan
R & A qualified Rules Official
November 2007

Thanks Jenny for all the information

Thursday, November 15, 2007

CONGU Unified Handicap System 2008 -2011

The Council of National Golf Unions has published the CONGU® UHS (Unified Handicap System) 2008-2011 manual which is the result of substantial voluntary work of the Council Members during the last four years.

The Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) is the governing body for handicapping matters in Great Britain & Ireland and is comprised of members from the men’s and ladies’ Golf Unions/Associations in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales with additional representatives from The R&A and the LGU.

The UHS 2004-2007 manual included, for the first time, a unified approach for handicapping men and ladies under the same system. The 2008 UHS has built on this success and has been expanded to include a number of new concepts. These include Supplementary Scores, Nine Hole Handicap Competitions, a separate CSS calculation for “Home” and “Away” players in Open Competitions and assistance for handicap committees in carrying out the time consuming Annual Handicap Review (AHR). The manual has been totally revised to make it more user friendly to clubs and their members by placing the clauses in a more logical order and adding explanations to relevant clauses (in a blue shaded area) to clarify the system.

The section on Supplementary Scores has been included to assist golfers who, for whatever reason, play in few or no competitions each year, by allowing them to return cards outside competitions for handicap purposes. At the discretion of affiliated clubs, a limited number of Nine-Hole qualifying competitions may be run and such scores shall be used to adjust handicaps. This option is designed to attract more players into the Unified Handicapping System.

Common sense has always suggested that in Open Competitions, the ‘Away’ player is often at a disadvantage compared to the ‘Home’ player and subsequent statistical analysis showed this to be on average between one and two shots. Since this unfairly affects adjustments of handicaps, there will now be a separate Competition Scratch Score for ‘Home’ and ‘Away’ players to take account of this factor and to provide a more equitable basis for handicap alterations.

The CONGU® website – – is being updated to explain the changes and also to answer many queries about the UHS. The “Myths and Misconceptions” and “Frequently Asked Questions” sections should be of particular interest to the club golfer. All the constituent Unions/Associations websites have links to the CONGU® website.

CONGU believes that the revised manual and the incorporation of the new concepts will assist in meeting the demands of the modern game and the changing needs of club members.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The 2007 AGM

The RLCGA County AGM was held at Haggs Castle Golf Club this evening and approximately 50 members attended
The meeting was opened by Captain Beth who held 1 minutes silence in memory of Kathleen McNeil our Honorary Life President who died last December

Reports were given by Jane Thomson (Secretary) and Audrey Sturgess (Treasurer). This was followed by Gillian Kyle who then gave a very interesting Junior Report --- click on this link to read all about it
Captain Beth then gave her annual report ---
She opened her report by saying she was sorry to announce the deaths of following County members Lily Green (Bonnyton), Alison McPherson (Whitecraigs) & Doreen Shaw (Williamwood).
She then thanked Karyn Burns for coaching the team again this year and for her help over the past two years.
The course rating team has rated all the courses in Renfrewshire. Maureen Mitchell (Cathcart Castle) has resigned as team leader and the other, Maureen Mitchell (The Old Course Ranfurly) has kindly agreed to take over this position. Beth thanked all their course rating team members for all the work they had done.
She then continued:-
The web site continues to thrive with over 100,000 hits. Carol is always looking for ways to improve it by adding new facilities. This year she has added a new web area for news around the West of Scotland – at Please encourage the appropriate person at your club to send a copy of your clubs results to at the same time as sending them to the Glasgow Herald. Carol also had a trial for online entry for competitions. She would like to thank all who participated. Unfortunately due to such small numbers of entries into competitions we are unlikely to proceed with this at this time.
Carol is always looking for news. You can become a ‘blogger’ ask Carol about this later or send it through the website via the “Send me News” link. We all appreciate your hard work Carol – Thank you.
We held a successful dinner in March with Sir Craig Reedie being our guest speaker. Craig was excellent and our Vice Captain didn’t let us down with a witty Vote of Thanks.
The Team Squad had a bowling night at Escape followed by a meal to help team bonding. The star bowler was Megan Briggs!
As part of the team training we had a match against the Eastwood Youth team which we lost 3 /0.
The Winter Foursomes final was played at Eastwood Golf between Roisin Black and June Lockhart (both Gleddoch) and Gillian Kyle and Eva Thomson (both East Renfrewshire). Roisin and June were the winners playing excellent golf.
The Championship was played at Erskine. Donna Jackson was the leading qualifier with a 74- 2 under the CSS and the winner of the Peggy Clark Rosebowl. There was a smaller entry partly due to the West of Scotland Veteran Association Spring meeting being played on the same day. The fixture cards are now becoming so crowded it is very hard to avoid these clashes, but we will try in future.
Donna Jackson lost to Megan Briggs by 4/3 in the first semi final and Clare-Marie Carlton beat Gillian Kyle 3/1 in the other.
The final was a very closely fought match with Megan winning for the second year beating Clare-Marie by only one hole.
Thanks go to Erskine for the courtesy of their course over the three days and to Christeen for organising the event.
The West of Scotland Championship was played at Drumpellier. It was cut to one round due to the atrocious weather conditions – hail, rain and sun shine! Renfrewshire were well represented but did not feature in the prize list.
The Scottish Ladies (Close) Championship was played at Barassie in May. Several of our players played, with Megan Briggs being 3rd qualifier. She unfortunately went out in the first round of the matchplay stages. Gillian Kyle, Eilidh Briggs and Gillian McGinlay all qualified for the Clark Rosebowl, with Gillian Kyle making it through to the quarter finals.
The West of Scotland Inter County Matches were played at Prestwick St Nicholas 9th – 11th July. We finished in 3rd place. Renfrewshire were represented by Eilidh Briggs (Kilmacolm), Megan Briggs (Kilmacolm), Clare-Marie Carlton (Fereneze), Donna Jackson (Cochrane Castle), Gillian Kyle (East Renfrewshire) Gillian Mullen (Paisley), Gillian McGinlay (Cochrane Castle) and Julie Wilson (Williamwood)
A special thank you to Julie and Gillian Mullen for playing at such short notice.
We won on the 1st day beating Ayrshire 5/4, lost to Dunbartonshire & Argyll 5/4 on the 2nd day and lost to Ayrshire 5/4 on the 3rd day. All very close games and each could have gone either way. The team performed well as we had a depleted team with Kate O’Sullivan and Lesley Robertson both having called off due to work and illness.
Megan had an outstanding tournament being the only player to win all six points. Clare-Marie also did extremely well with five points. They were the best players in the tournament.
I would like to thank Kay Black for taking the roll of Caddy Mistress and all the ladies who caddied and supported the team.
The Rosebowl final was played at Eastwood and was won by Lorraine Morrow (Erskine) beating Lindsay Mathie (Cochrane Castle) 2/1. There were no supporters only a referee! It would be nice to have a little support at the finals of our trophies so I hope that there might be some spectators next year.
I would like to thank Eastwood for giving us the courtesy for both the Winter Foursomes and The Rosebowl finals.
We have had many success stories this year. Megan Briggs our champion has been a star.
Megan was runner up in the Scottish Girls Championship and managed a hole-in-one in the semi final. She played in the winning Girls Home International Team. She teamed up with Kelsey MacDonald to win the International Team Trophy at the Belgian Junior International Championship.
Megan won the Munross trophy, was runner up in the Leveret Trophy and 3rd in the Ness Trophy. She played for a LGU team against a Vagliano Trophy Select team
She and Matthew Clark were runner-up in the Scottish mixed foursomes.
In September she won her first full cap after being selected to play for Scotland at the Home Internationals at Dunbar. Scotland finished runners up to England.
Eilidh Briggs won the Scottish under 14 championship and played for the Scottish Girls under 16 team. She won the LGU Medal West Division Final and was 1st Silver at the Grand Final at Crieff Golf Club.
Clare-Marie Carlton graduated this year from Stirling University. She was 3rd in the Mackie Rosebowl, 4th in the British Universities Strokeplay and made the cut for the final round of the Helen Holm & finished with a creditable 235.
Honorary member Maureen Richmond (Royal Liverpool) was runner up in the Spanish Open and was 3rd in the doubles with Barbara Biggart.
Barbara Biggart and Jennifer Mack both qualified for the matchplay stages of the Scottish Seniors Championship.
Jennifer Mack was runner-up in the Scottish Veteran Ladies Golf Association (West Division) Championship.
Gillian McGinlay and Maureen Woodhead, formerly Skinner (Gourock) won the scratch at the West of Scotland Inter County Foursomes Finals with Donna Jackson and Alyson McGinnigle finishing third. Shirley McKnight and Valerie MacKinnon won 3rd handicap.
Sara Harman, who got married this year, found time to play golf and equalled Aileen Wilson’s course record at Williamwood with a 69.
Congratulations to all those were successful in Open Days and everyone who won their club championships. I would like to commiserate with the runners up.
Jennifer Jenkins once again this year captained the European Girls Team.
On the administration side Pamela Mackenzie is Chairman of County Golf on the SLGA Board of Directors
Scottish Veteran Ladies Golf Association (West Division) Committee, Renfrewshire are well represented. Pat Walker is Captain, Sheila Goudie is Secretary and Lilias Snodgrass is the Treasurer.
Renfrewshire have 5 members in the SLGA training squads. Megan Briggs, is in the National Ladies A Squad, Eilidh Briggs and Clare-Marie Carlton are in the National Ladies C Squad as Gillian mentioned Alyson McKechin (Elderslie) is in the Development Squad and Maureen Richmond was in the Senior Squad.
and Finally:-

She asked Eilidh Briggs, Gillian Mullen and Julie Wilson, who were selected and played from the County team this year to come forward to receive their team brooches. Both Gillian and Julie had sent their apologies

Beth then presented Christeen Finlayson with her Captains badge

Christeen  then told us of the following changes in the committee:

Retiring from the committee are Fiona Roger (Ranfurly Castle), Eleanor Bremner (Whitecraigs) and Dorothy Yates (Cowglen). Secretary Jane Thomson (Whitecraigs) and Junior Secretary Gillian Kyle (East Renfrewshire) also retire

New to the committee are Lorraine Morrow (Erskine), Sally Smyth (Ranfurly Castle) and Morag Little (Whitecraigs)

New Vice Captain - Trish Brown (Kilmacolm) Trish comes from a well known golfing family, is a Past Lady Captain of Kilmacolm and she is, at present, on the West of Scotland Girls Golfing Association.

New Secretary  - Morag Turner Kilmacolm) Morag has wide secretarial experience, is a Past Lady Captain of Kilmacolm and has recently retired from the General Kilmacolm Committee.

Junior Secretary  - Wilma Leburn (nee Aitken) of The Old Course Ranfurly. Wilma is a Past Chairman of the West of Scotland Girls Golfing Association; she has won the Helen Holm twice; played in the Vagliano Team twice;  played in the Curtis Cup in 1982; and has been a Scottish Ladies Internationalist for four years. She also is in the Guinness Book of Records for having 9 consecutive birdies in a round . This happened 25 years ago in the Riccarton Rosebowl at Hamilton Golf Club. It has been equalled by professional Beth Daniel but has been never equalled or bettered by any man !!

Results Secretary  - Freda Tuck
In charge of Sweaters - Sally Smyth
Caddy Mistress  - Kay Black

Honorary President Wendy Cameron then presented the prizes . To see all the winners click on this link RLCGA 2007 Prizewinners.
Past Captain Aileen Wilson gave the vote of thanks
Coffee, tea, wine and chat were enjoyed by all at the close of the meeting