Hankley Common Golf Club

Local Rules & Course Information - From 25th April 2024

Permanent Local Rules


All artificially surfaced paths, including any associated edging, are treated as Immovable Obstructions and relief is available under Rule 16.1. (Please see guidance note below).


All fixed sprinkler heads are immovable obstructions. In addition, if a ball lies off the putting green, but not in a penalty area, and an immovable obstruction on or within two club lengths of the putting green and within two club-lengths of the ball, intervenes on the line of play between the ball and the hole, the player may take relief (Rule 16.1b). 


The prepared areas of sand on the 2nd hole (the first two areas), in front of the 3rd tee and to the left of 4th hole, are part of the general area and not bunkers.

Nb. - 2nd Hole - For clarity, there are four sand areas on the 2nd hole, the area short of the bridle path and the area just beyond the path are waste areas, the two areas nearest the green, (front and right) are bunkers. 

Nb. - 16th Hole - For clarity, there is one large sand area on the 16th hole, the area between the tee and the approach, the two areas nearest the green, (left and right) are bunkers.   

Temporary Local Rules


Preferred lies are currently NOT in operation.

When a player's ball lies in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less , the player may take free relief once by placing the original ball or another ball in and playing it from this relief area:

Reference Point: Spot of the original ball.
Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: 6 inches from the reference point, but with these limits:

Limits on Location of Relief Area:

Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and must be in the general area.

In proceeding under this Local Rule, the player must choose a spot to place the ball and use the procedures for replacing a ball under Rules 14.2b(2) and 14.2e.

Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.


If a player's ball lies in or touches a seam of cut turf or a seam interferes with the player's area of intended swing:

(a) Ball in General Area. The player may take relief under Rule 16.1b.

(b) Ball on Putting Green. The player may take relief under Rule 16.1d.

But interference does not exist if the seam only interferes with the player's stance.

All seams within the area of cut turf are treated as the same seam in taking relief. This means that if a player has interference from any seam after dropping the ball, the player must proceed as required under Rule 14.3c(2) even when the ball is still within one club-length of the reference point.

Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.


Areas of newly laid heather are to be treated as No Play Zones. The sand area within the bunkers are now in play. The full wording can be found below:


In each of these situations, the ball must not be played as it lies:

(1) When Ball Is in No Play Zone. If the player’s ball is in a no play zone in or on an abnormal course condition in the general area, in a bunker or on the putting green:

No Play Zone in General Area. The player must take free relief under Rule 16.1b.

No Play Zone in Bunker. The player must take free relief or penalty relief under Rule 16.1c(1) or (2).

No Play Zone on Putting Green. The player must take free relief under Rule 16.1d.

(2) When No Play Zone Interferes with Stance or Swing for Ball Anywhere on Course Except Penalty Area. If a player’s ball is outside a no play zone and is in the general area, in a bunker or on the putting green, and a no play zone (whether in an abnormal course condition or in a penalty area) interferes with the player’s area of intended stance or area of intended swing, the player must either:

Take relief if allowed under Rule 16.1b, c or d, depending on whether the ball is in the general area, in a bunker or on the putting green, or

Take unplayable ball relief under Rule 19.

For what to do when there is interference by a no play zone for a ball in a penalty area, see Rule 17.1e.

Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 16.1: General Penalty under Rule 14.7a.


When a player’s ball lies in a part of the marked general area cut to fairway height or less and a putter is not being used for the stroke, the player must take free relief by lifting the original ball and placing the original ball or another ball on an artificial mat and play it from there. The mat must be placed on top of the spot where the ball came to rest.

If a ball when placed rolls off the mat, the player must try to place it a second time. If the ball again does not stay on the mat, the mat must be moved to the nearest spot, not nearer the hole, where the ball will come to rest on the mat when placed.

If the ball on the mat is accidentally moved before a stroke is made, there is no penalty and the ball must be placed again on the mat.

If a tee is used to secure the mat into the ground, the ball must not be placed on the tee.

Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.



This is a significant change from how rules relating to paths have been used before at Hankley, so we wish to provide some guidance to golfers as to how this should work.

Whilst new to Hankley, most clubs have rules in place providing optional relief from artificially surfaced paths. In almost all cases, this is very clear and easy to use – if the ball lies on what is clearly an artificially surfaced path or the player will stand on the path to play their shot, relief is available. The nearest point of complete relief (for both ball AND stance) is found, a Relief Area measured and relief is taken without penalty.

Some key points are outlined below:

  • Deciding whether a path is artificially surfaced or has been naturally formed over time may be occasionally difficult. The general rule of thumb is that, if it is clear that material such as gravel, rubber bark or concrete has been deliberately placed in an area, often with a defined edging, this is likely to be an artificial path and free relief is available. If the path is more rough, with some stones, tree roots, sand or mud making up the surface, with no obvious intention of the path being built by green staff deliberately and no artificial surface being put down to form a path, this is not an artificially surfaced path and no relief is available.

  • In some places the end of, or edges of artificially surfaced, deliberately constructed paths are hard to determine. The path reaches its end point, but then proceeds through an area of part path, part rough area, before reaching a more normal grass area. The rule of thumb here is that if a great deal of the artificial surface material is present, then this is still the path.  If there is very little such material and is clearly beyond the end or edge of the artificially created path, then no relief is available.

  • When taking permitted relief from a path, it is vital that golfers understand that COMPLETE relief must be taken using the nearest point of complete relief, not the nicest point of complete relief, as the reference point for their Relief Area.  

  • Complete relief means both the ball AND the stance of the player must be completely away from the path from which relief is being taken. You cannot simply drop the ball on the edge and then stand on the path. This can sometimes lead to the nearest point of complete relief being on the opposite side of the path than originally thought.

  • It is strongly recommended that golfers establish where their nearest point of complete relief lies BEFORE picking up the ball in anticipation of relief.  If a player picks their ball up to take relief and then decides that, once they find the Relief Area is in thick heather, they would rather have played from the path, the player will incur a one stroke penalty when replacing the ball as they have caused a ball at rest to move. A great video explaining this point can be found by  clicking here.

Any queries should be directed to the General Manager or their team.  

Course Information


In the event of an emergency, after calling the emergency services if required, the club can be contacted by calling (01252) 792493.

Defibrillators - The club has two defibrillators, one located on the wall of the clubhouse, by the entrance into the rear of the clubhouse, near the 4th green, (keycode 1000) and one in the toilet hut by the 10th tee, (keycode 2014). 


General - Green staff and the public have priority on the course. the ball MUST not be played when they are in range. Green staff will give way when practicable, please wait until the way is clear or you are called through.

Thunder & Lightning - Players must take individual responsibility for their safety in relation to staying safe from lightning. Whilst the club will sometimes use a claxon to warn golfers and close the course, all golfers are reminded that rule 5.7a allows them to discontinue play and leave the course if he or she reasonably believes there is danger from lightning and we encourage all golfers to do so if appropriate. 

A link to the full health and safety documentation can be seen by clicking here. 



     After use bunker rakes are to be placed totally outside of the bunker on the T marked area on the  ground.      


     Trolleys and buggies are to be kept out of all heather and are not
      to be taken between greenside bunkers and the adjacent green.


    Please repair your pitch mark on the Green


   On sprinkler heads in Yards - To the Centre of the Green.

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