Below are the basic rules of Off-Course Golf Version #1. Our sport is experiencing a tremendous amount of growth, and as it evolves we may find it necessary to revise some of our rules during this process. Our experience has shown that the rules listed below lay the framework from which our rules committee will proceed. As the year progresses, we invite you to submit new rules for consideration, send any suggestions to email@example.com:
THE GREENS: Since this is our first year and most of our events will be golfathons, our goal is to get players through the course in a competitive but timely manner. As a result OCGolf doesn’t have that many greens. Instead our ‘greens’ will be any number of targets, pins and actual holes. Stay tuned to each events modified course maps and rules to see what holes they are creating.
OCGA RULES: We ascribe to the traditional rules of golf, but with a few twists. As you can see, some of our rules have been modified from the days of the Royal and Ancient in St. Andrews, Scotland. (that’s where real golf began) Per our ‘fake golf’ we go by the basic moniker ‘If you don’t know, play by traditional golf rules.’
- CLUB & PLAYER SAFETY: Since you are playing here, there and everywhere, players are responsible for everyone elses safety. This means your teammates and your neighbors. And since the almostGolf ball can’t really hurt you, it’s really about the club. It’s long, made of metal and can generate a great deal of force. So always look both ways (front and back) before swinging and PLEASE respect fellow competitors, private property, structures, and vehicles, to ensure safe play at all times. This means not swinging too close to cars, private property etc. Your basic rule of thumb is: ‘When in doubt, DON’T SWING !’ Per casual OCGA rules, players may take two club lengths no nearer the hole without pentaly to maintain safe play distance. Oh yes, PLEASE WATCH FOR CHILDREN AND PEDESTRAINS! We want our sport to grow so be a diplomat and let them cross before playing through.
- REAL GOLF BALLS PROHIBITED: If you ever play a real golf ball in an off-course, CrossGolf, StreetGolf or UrbanGolf tournament, you are subject to immediate disqualification. (And any amount of public ridicule your team may want to levy upon you) Please report all infractions to your tournament director. This is extremely rare, but such ‘knucklehead’ moves could really mess up the tournament for everyone else.
- BALL RELIEF: If you hit up against a non-movable hazard such as a wall, fire hydrant, mail box, bushes, hedges, event banners etc. you are allowed one club length relief, no closer to the hole without penalty. But if it’s a really nice removable hazard like a car, you get two club lengths to maintain safe play distance.
- OUT OF BOUNDS: Your course map will indicate the areas determined to be out of bounds, generally marked with a white line. These areas will normally be what is outside the main area of play on your course. If your ball is hit out-of-bounds, you must pick up your ball, take a penalty stroke, and hit from the ‘BLUE DOT’ or ‘PAINTED CIRCLE’ (various colors) painted to show the point of nearest relief to the out-of-bounds area. Note: this could mean the backside of a fairway, target, or green.
- OUT OF BOUNDS (Casual Play) If you go OB when playing around the neighborhood, park etc. the rule is to simply pick up your ball and place it one club length behind the player furthest from the hole, then take a stroke. This speeds play up considerably and reduces the ‘slash-fest’ factor to your game.
- PACE OF PLAY: When playing Off-Course golf, we all want to be competitive, but you must play your ball in a timely manner. This means the next player in order has only :30 seconds to hit their ball after their opponent hits. So please, just hit and go.
- THE ASTROSHAG: The 4×6 inch AstroShag, or ‘Pocket Shag’ is designed to ‘reduce neighborhood divot damage’. It’s a massively effective diplomatic tool to keep you from getting kicked out of parks, school yards etc. So when you are on the fairway hitting your approach shots, always use your Astroshag. When you are on or near the green, there is no need to use it. We want to make this a very competitive event, but we certainly don’t want to damage the property in any way. 7a. ASTROSHAG PENALTY: If you choose to not use your AstroShag and go ‘Bareback’, and you create a divot larger than your club face, you will be assessed a One Stroke Penalty. ( and everyone in your group is allowed to give you one punch in the arm)
- GREENS: BALL REMOVAL: Unlike traditional golf rules, players may not remove or touch their ball when it is on the green. If a player who is closer to the hole is in your way, you must either hit around or over the playerâ€™s ball. If a players ball strikes anothers players ball on the green, both balls are played where they come to rest.
HITTING FIRST: The player furthest from the hole must hit first even if an opponents ball is in the way.
HITTING OTHER BALLS ON THE GREEN: If you hit another players ball on the â€˜greenâ€™, both balls must stay where they land. You may not place the ball back where it originally sat. There are no penalties assessed.
- BLOCKING: You are allowed to intentionally block another player, if you deem it worth doing. Generally it’s a waste of time, but what ever floats your boat.
- REAL WATER HAZARDS: If you land in a water hazard other than the synthetic water hazard listed below, you must take a one stroke penalty and hit from the â€˜PAINTED CIRCLEâ€™ (various colors) adjacent to the green or fairway.
SYNTHETIC WATER HAZARDS: Since the almostGolf ball floats, if you land in a synthetic water hazard, you must hit out. We encourage you to remove your footwear (if you choose) before entering the water hazard. NO SPIKES ALLOWED, IMMEDIATE DISQUALIFICATION WILL RESULT. Please play water holes in a timely fashion.
HITTING THE LOVE BOAT: During some tournament events we will allow “Love Boats” (Defined as using your AstroShag to place your ball on the mat as it sits on the water.) Other qualified events may require you to play the ball as it lies in the water. This is called playing ‘bareback’ in the water and it’s a whole lot harder to play. 14B. THE SUNKEN SHIP: You may remove your ball from the water hazard by 2 club lengths, no nearer to the hole, you will be assessed a two stroke penalty.
- STREETS AND SIDEWALK AS HAZARDS: Streets and sidewalks are considered ‘water hazards’ and are out-of-bounds. If you land ‘in the water’ you take a one stroke penalty, 2 club length relief no nearer to the hole and play on. 15A. YOU ARE ALLOWED BOUNCIES: When hitting over â€˜waterâ€™ you are allowed â€˜bounciesâ€™ where if you bounce in the street or on the sidewalk, then the ball bounces up onto the grass/fairway or green you are safe and there is no penalty.15B. NO HITTING FROM SIDEWALK OR STREET: To protect your clubs and to keep the peace with your neighbors, you may not hit off anything but grass. In casual play, you may choose to put down your AstroShag and pull a concrete ‘Love Boat’ or ‘Synthetic Fairway’, but only do this if there is no traffic or your own the street, i.e. its your driveway etc.15C. IF BALL IS TOUCHING GRASS: If your ball comes to rest against grass and a sidewalk/street, and any part of the ball is touching the grass, the player make take relief one club length no nearer to the hole, no penalty assessed.
HECKLING PLAYERS: Though we allow spectators to cheer, yell, and have a blast, there is no heckling, or taunting while the player is hitting, play semi-civilized.
KEEPING SCORE: As a prelude to the rules of cheating below, players must give their scorecard to their playing partners at the beginning of their round. This means when scoring, you can keep your own score, but you also keep your opponents score. Yes, in OCGA rules, you are your brothers keeper…because we don’t trust you.
- CHEATING: Cheating is not allowed. Play by the rules, respect the game and its integrity. 18A. SHAVING SHOTS: Players who get caught shaving shots by putting the wrong score on their card will be disqualified from the tournament.18B. DOCTORING YOUR BALL: Players caught altering the performance of their ball, other than prescribed OCGA specifications, will be disqualified from the tournament. This means taping it up, injecting it with water etc. or dipping it in tool handle rubber are prohibited.18C. FAKE DROPS: Players who get caught dropping a second ball to improve their lie or cover up a lost or OB shot, will receive a two stroke penalty. As the player who catches them, you are entitled to a one stroke bonus or a one minute insult rant, itâ€™s your choice.
SPECIAL ‘BONUS STROKE’ SCORING/RULES: Our OCGA scoring system is the best part of this tournament because if you are a good golfer, you will most likely be able to finish way under par. We created our scoring system to take advantage of the fact that we can paint the fairways and greens. As a result, every shot you will hit will test your ability NOT your distance. There is a ‘Bonus stroke’ scoring system shown below that allows for variations in playing our events. We suggest learning how to use both your clubs several different ways, because you will need those shots. Note that we follow all the usual rules of traditional golf, but with a few twists. If there isn’t a twist involved, just play the usual golf rules.
BONUS STROKE SCORING OPTIONS:
- FAIRWAYS: If you land in the fairway from the tee, you get one bonus stroke. This means you are still sitting zero.
- GREENS/TARGETS: If you hit the green/target from the fairway or a tee box, you get one bonus stroke. This means you are still sitting zero.
- HOLING OUT: If your ball finishes within the 5ft. circle around the hole, from the fairway or a tee box, you get two bonus strokes.
- THE INNER CIRCLE: Once a players ball is within the 5ft. circle, they just add one stroke and pick up, unless the ball is hit from a fairway or a tee box.
- TOP SCORING: The goal is to get what we call a ‘Perfect Game’, where you get a zero on every hole. No one has done it, so there is always a first.
- IF YOU MISS THE FIRST BONUS: If you miss the fairway off the tee on a par 4 or the green off the tee on a par 3, you can no longer get bonus strokes. You must play out and you score the hole like traditional golf.
QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS: If you like, dislike, agree or disagree with the rules, please give us a shout and tell us what you think. For all we know, you could be right and we’ll name a new rule after you.