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Dorking Golf Club

Tips of the Week

Here you will find a number of Tips which are regularly added to and updated. Look out for the weekly email, the section on the board in the clubhouse hallway or come here to review some that you may have missed.


  • Bunker Play

  • Handicap - How to Get One

  • Lost Ball and Playing a Provisional Ball

  • Priority on the Course

  • Water Hazards



Bunker Play

1. Try to avoid going into the bunkers in the first place.

2. If you frequently go into bunkers, you may wish to book a lesson on bunker play with Allan.

3. You must not ground your club in the bunker or hit the sand on a practice swing (penalty of two strokes). 

4. You may move obstructions such as the rake but unless there is a local rule you may not move loose impediments (natural objects such as stones, leaves etc.). 

5. On leaving the bunker, rake through it to get rid of shoe prints etc. 

6. Leave the rake in the bunker not on the grass surround.


Handicap – How to get one

1. Having a recognised handicap will allow you to enter certain competitions.

2. Depending upon membership category you can get a CONGU handicap (7 day, 5 day and Lifestyle) or a Club handicap (Offpeak).

3. Lifestyle and Offpeak members are required to pay a small administration fee of £20 (this is already included in the 7 day and 5 day fees).  

4. Submit 3 scorecards (18 holes stroke play), marked and signed by another member. The handicap secretary will determine your initial handicap from the best of the 3 cards.

5. Each subsequent scorecard submitted in any qualifying event may result in your handicap being adjusted.


Lost Ball and Playing a Provisional Ball

1. If your ball is lost or goes out of bounds, you must play a replacement ball (with a penalty of one stroke) from the place where you hit the original ball. You cannot simply drop another ball at the point you lost it ! If it was lost from a tee shot you may place a new ball on the tee. From anywhere else on the course you must drop the new ball from shoulder height to rest no closer to the hole and within one club length of where the original ball was hit. 

2. However, to avoid holding up everyone on the course, rather than walking back to where you hit the lost ball, it is recommended that you should instead play a provisional ball as follows. 

3. If you feel there is a risk that your ball may be lost or out of bounds, then play a provisional ball before moving on. You must inform your opponent(s) that you are playing a provisional ball (and specifically use the word 'provisional') and also specify what type of ball it is in order to distinguish it from your first ball. E.g. "I'm playing a provisional ball which is a Srixon 2 with blue dots."

4. Having played your provisional ball  (with a penalty of one stroke), if you then find your original ball and it is In Bounds, you must carry on playing the original ball (without penalty) and pick up your provisional ball. If you can't find your original ball, you continue playing with your provisional ball. There is no limit on the number of provisional balls you can play. 

5. There is a time limit of 5 minutes to search for a ball. If the course is busy, you may wish to give up the search earlier or allow the game behind to play through. If you are simply having a practice round and are not in a competition then simply drop another ball and carry on practicing but your scorecard becomes null and void and cannot be submitted. 

Notes: The exception to the above is if your ball is lost in a water hazard - then a new ball may be dropped (with a penalty of one stroke) behind the hazard keeping in line with where the ball entered the hazard and the flag. 


Priority on the Course

1. The general principle is that the "forward game" has priority in order to keep the course flowing freely.

2. Those waiting to tee off the 1st tee should alternate with those waiting to tee off the 10th tee.  

3. The 2nd and 3rd holes are cross-over holes - allow those on the 3rd tee to go first when approaching the 2nd green.

4. On the 8th hole, allow those on the 9th tee to tee off rather than crossing or playing in front of them at the approach to the 8th green.

5. The 8th hole is a "call over" hole. Once you are on the 8th green and if you have not yet started putting, you should keep the flag in and "call over" those behind you waiting on the 8th tee.

6. When walking up or playing the 9th fairway be careful of those teeing off the 8th tee and allow them to tee off first unless they wave you on. 

7. If you are not keeping up with the game ahead and the game behind you is quicker, you should allow them to play through your game. 

8. Those playing in a competition should be given priority.

9. If in any doubt and for safety reasons, always make sure you have made your intentions clear to other players - e.g. if waving someone to play through. This is especially important when you are on the wrong fairway !    

10. Leave your bags and trolleys where they will not be in the way of those playing behind you. 


Water Hazards

1. If your ball is in a water hazard, marked by yellow stakes (e.g. the pond leading up to the 3rd; or the pond in front of the 4th green), you may do one of 3 things :-

    (a) if it's not too wet !! you may play the ball as it lies in the hazard (without penalty). Your club must not touch the ground or the water until the downswing of your stroke (penalty two strokes).

    (b) play a ball from where your last shot was played (penalty one stroke).

    (c) drop a ball any distance behind the water hazard keeping in line with where the ball crossed the edge of the hazard and the hole (penalty one stroke).

2. If your ball is in a lateral water hazard, marked by red stakes (e.g. the ditch running along the extreme left of the 9th fairway), in addition to the above, you may :-

    - drop a ball within two club lengths either side of the hazard, no nearer the hole and in line with where the ball crossed the edge of the hazard (penalty one stroke).

3. If no-one on the course sees the ball go into the hazard and you cannot find it then you should treat it as a "lost ball". The rule states that it must be known or virtually certain that the ball has come to rest in the hazard. Your only option is to play a ball from where your last shot was played (penalty one stroke).   





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