Appleby to read the local rules

The importance of reading the local rules for the golf course cannot be understated. Being aware  of local rules concerning ground conditions, hazards and other scenarios can help your score. If you are not aware of them, you can also find yourself breaching the rules where penalties apply, as Stuart Appleby found out last time he played Whistling Straits.

The ABC reported on Stuart Appleby’s return to Whistling Straits for this week’s PGA Championship. When he last played here six years ago, he cost himself plenty of money after managing to incur two seperate two-shot penalties in the third round.
On the 16th hole, he fired a wayward ball into a fairway bunker which lay behind the ropes. The gallery had been walking through the bunker all week and Appleby, assuming it was a waste area, removed some leaves and then grounded his club before hitting the ball. Both two-shot penalties.
All players had been issued the local rules before the week had started but Appleby neglected to read the rules which included reference to the bunker in question.

“We were told they were going to be waste bunkers when we played there a month earlier. I could not believe the PGA were dumb enough to have spectators walk in bunkers, and you have to play (the ball) as it lies.

“It’s just not the best designed course for spectators, so the way they had to set the course up was to force people through bunkers. Where I was was littered with foot prints, grass, rubbish, everything.

“It was a mistake on my behalf but I feel like it was a pretty poor set-up. Ultimately the blame falls with me but I still don’t know how you can have half a bunker that’s perfectly normal and the half that has people walking through it.”


The local rules are usually outlined somewhere around the pro-shop at the golf course. They are in place to help you negotiate abnormal conditions such as course regrowth or adverse weather conditions. The list is endless but the message remains. 
Take note of the local rules before you play any golf course. If you can’t find them, ask the pro-shop staff.

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