Guidance on Rules Adjustments for Acceptable Scores During the Covid-19 Restrictions

CONGU Decision 23/3/2020 (Updated 05/05/2020, 11/05/2020 and 01/07/2020)

This information is available in a downloadable document here

** When golf returns you must follow the guidance set out by your National Union as well as this guidance for Qualifying scores. **

Following on from The R&A’s guidance on the Rules of Golf issued on Friday 20 March ( and further advice on 29th June (, CONGU has now discussed the implications for acceptable scores submitted for competitions and general play and can confirm the following:


Holes:  If clubs have made the decision to modify the depth of the hole to allow players to remove the ball without touching the flagstick, scores will be acceptable for either competition or general play score purposes.  In such cases, the ball is considered holed if any part of the ball is below the surface of the putting green, even if not lodged against the flagstick.  However, in line with R&A advice, if any of the following provisions are used, play is not in accordance with the Rules of Golf and any scores submitted would not be qualifying for handicap purposes:

  • Treating a ball as holed or holed with the next stroke if it is within a certain distance of the hole.
  • Having the hole liner sitting above the surface of the green and treating a ball as holed if it strikes the liner.
  • Treating a ball as holed when it has bounced out of the hole for any reason (for example, when it has bounced off the flagstick, a tray attached to the flagstick or the hole liner).


Flagsticks:  Clubs may make a decision to use any of the following policies temporarily.  Scores returned when using such policies will be acceptable for either competition or supplementary score purposes.  Allowable policies are:

  • Require that players leave the flagstick in the hole at all times. It is a matter for the Committee to decide whether it establishes this policy by way of a Code of Conduct or Local Rule, and whether it provides a penalty under the Code of Conduct or for a breach of the Local Rule.
  • Not have flagsticks at all.
  • As a temporary provision, flagsticks can be used for the purpose of player safety which do not meet the specifications in Part 8 of the Equipment Rules. For example, a Committee may temporarily decide to use a flagstick that has an added movable platform or tray to help prevent touching the flagstick when removing the ball from the hole.
  • Allow players to centre the flagstick in a safe manner which does not involve using the hand, even when wearing a glove or using a towel (for example, by using a club). The centring of the flagstick may be allowed while another player putts (this may be desirable in windy conditions when the flagstick is required to be left in the hole and is leaning towards the player making the stroke).


Bunkers: If clubs introduce a Local Rule to allow preferred lies in bunkers, scores will be acceptable for competition or supplementary score purposes. (Using Model Local Rule E-3)

Please note: The distance for preferred lies in the bunker is limited to 6 inches and the area cannot be smoothed before placing.

As an alternative (but not combined with the preferred lies detailed above) if the condition of bunkers is so poor that it interferes with the proper playing of the game, a club Committee may declare all bunkers to be Ground Under Repair, scores will be acceptable for competition or supplementary score purposes.



Note: These temporary provisions are applicable until further notice.