In Summary

  • As I walked into the Vet Lab Sports Club club house last week, I saw a notice on a ‘Local Rule’ that allows ‘preferred lie’ on some of the holes.
  • After going through the notice, I bumped into the gentle John Odhiambo, the Golf Administrator at the club.
  • After greetings, John asked me: “Are we doing the right thing in as far as the ‘preferred lie’ Local Rule is concerned?”

As I walked into the Vet Lab Sports Club club house last week, I saw a notice on a ‘Local Rule’ that allows ‘preferred lie’ on some of the holes.

After going through the notice, I bumped into the gentle John Odhiambo, the Golf Administrator at the club.

After greetings, John asked me: “Are we doing the right thing in as far as the ‘preferred lie’ Local Rule is concerned?”

I knew right away that that was not a straightforward question.

John is one of the only two golf administrators in Kenya that I know of with an R&A Level Two Rules School certificate. The other golf administrator with the same certification is David Ongeri who is John’s assistant.

Between the two of them, I was sure that they would have double-checked the Rules of Golf before publishing the Local Rule on behalf of the committee.

John’s concerns were whether the committee should have the ‘preferred lie’ Local Rule to protect the golf course or for the golfers to enjoy their round.

Common questions:

Wherever I have encountered the ‘preferred lie’ Local Rule, there are a few questions that are commonly asked. Some of the most common are:

1. How far can the ball be placed? Many committees neglect to state how far the ball may be placed when a golfer decides to take advantage of the Local Rule.

Should the ball be placed within six inches, a card length or a club-length?

All these are admissible but the committee must specify how far the ball should be placed. It is not enough to state, “Preferred Lie Local Rule in place”, which is what I have seen in a number of clubs.

At Vet Lab, they had specified that the ball be placed within a card length.

2. Must the position of the golf ball be marked? Many golfers don’t mark the positions of their golf balls before picking them up when they are invoking this Local Rule.

Before picking a golf ball under this Local Rule, its position must be marked.

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