Colchester Golf Club

Local Rules

Updated May 2024

Penalty Areas (Rule 17)

When both stakes and lines are used, the edge of the penalty area is defined by the outside edge of the line and the stakes indicate where the penalty area is.

Where such a penalty area is marked just by stakes, they are deemed to identify the penalty area, not to define the edge. The edge is defined by the break of the ground into the penalty area.

  Information: the line between the outside edge of red stakes is not used to define the boundary of the penalty area.

Out of Bounds

All boundary ditches and beyond any boundary fence.  Beyond any line of white posts.  On or beyond the bull nose kerbstones at the rear of the 18th green.

Information: White stakes define the boundary near the Professional Shop - the path in that area is Out of Bounds and the course boundary follows the border of the hedge around to the 11th tee from the white stake planted at the border on the 18th hole.

Protection of Trees

Trees identified by stakes which interfere with the player's stance or area of intended swing are deemed immovable obstructions and the payer's ball must be lifted, without penalty, and dropped in accordance with Rule 16.1b.

Ground Under Repair

The ball at rest on an area marked as a No Play Zone must be dropped in accordance with Rule 16.1.

Information: All areas marked using white lines, or using legacy 'Ground Under Repair' signs are No Play Zones from which relief is mandatory.  Drop zone(s) may be provided and must be used.

Relief from Cracks in the Ground - Local Rule F-8

Cracks in the ground in parts of the general area cut to fairway height or less are Ground Under Repair. The player may take relief under Rule 16.1b

BUT interference does not exist if the crack only interferes with the player’s stance.

Penalty Area separating 11th and 18th

The boundary of the penalty area separating the 18th and 11th fairways is the edge of the gravelled path on the 18th on the side nearest the 11th. Red stakes mark the edge of the penalty area on the 11th, and at the limits (corners) of the penalty area nearest to/farthest from the club house on both the 11th and 18th.  

Information: A red line along the edge of the path indicates the boundary of the penalty area. A lateral penalty drop (under rule 17) from the penalty area on the 18th will usually result in the dropped ball being on the path. Free relief from this new situation under rule 16.1 allows a ball to be dropped at the nearest point of complete relief in the general area (not in a penalty area). This nearest point of complete relief will be on the 18th - rather than across the penalty area on the 11th. The penalty area is one roughly rectangular shape including all walk-ways through the hedge - as such there is no free relief from immovable obstructions such as guy-ropes within the penalty area.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF LOCAL RULE: Matchplay - Loss of Hole / Strokeplay - Two Stroke penalty

Guy Ropes

The guy ropes supporting the newly transplanted trees are immovable obstructions and a player must take relief under Rule 16.1. NB.  Relief is only available from the guy ropes not the trees themselves. 

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF LOCAL RULE: Matchplay - Loss of Hole / Strokeplay - Two Strokes

Drainage Scars, New Turf and GUR

All drainage scars in the General Area, or turfed area thereon, and areas marked as No Play Zones are abnormal course conditions from which free relief must be taken under Rule 16.1. This local rule applies only to areas recently worked on that are recovering. It does not apply or provide relief from old undulations such as subsidence from pipework installations.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF LOCAL RULE: Matchplay - Loss of Hole / Strokeplay - Two Strokes

Newly Planted Hedging & Box Hedges

Box Hedging on the 8th Hole.

Any newly planted hedging protected by rabbit guards beside 8th fairway.

The areas above have been designated No Play Zones from which play is prohibited. Any ball that comes to rest by a box hedge; or if it interferes with the player’s stance or area of intended swing, then relief must be taken under Rule 16.1.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF LOCAL RULE: Matchplay - Loss of Hole / Strokeplay - Two Strokes

Fixed Sprinkler Heads

If the ball lies off the putting green and an immovable obstruction (such as a sprinkler head) within two club lengths of both the green and the ball interferes with the line of play, the player may take free relief under Rule 16.1.

Aeration Holes

A ball that comes to rest in or on an aeriation hole in the General Area and not on a putting green, may be lifted without penalty, cleaned and dropped in accordance with Rule16.1b of the Rules of Golf.  On the putting green, a ball that comes to rest in or on an aeration hole may be placed at the nearest spot on the putting green not nearer the hole that avoids the situation.

Integral Objects (Information only)

The shelters at the rear of the 4th and 8th teeing areas are integral objects from which no free relief may be obtained.

Moveable Obstructions (Information only)

All benches and other furniture located on the course that are not bolted down or otherwise fixed, are to be treated as moveable obstructions.

Adverse Weather Conditions

During adverse weather conditions of fog, thunder, lightning, storms etc., the course may be closed.This decision may be taken by the Secretary Manager, the Professional or the Head Greenkeeper.  Closure of the course under these circumstances will be notified to players by “Course Closed” signage on the 1st tee, on the notice board outside the professional shop, the telephone course information option and the Club website.

In the event of lightning on the course, golfers are strongly advised to cease playing. A player is entitled to discontinue pay under the provision of Rule 5.7a of the Rules of Golf. The fact that the course has not been officially closed does not warrant that it is fit to play.  Players have a duty of care not to behave in such a way that others may be injured by their actions.  They also have a duty of care not to injure themselves.  If conditions are foggy and you are unable to see where the ball is likely to land, or ground conditions are such that it is impossible to judge how far the ball is likely to travel DO NOT PLAY. Play cannot recommence until the cross bunker near the green is visible from the 1st tee. As a general rule, no play should continue if a distance of approximately 250 yards cannot be seen. Please check with the Professional that the course is fit for playing golf. The Professional’s decision is final regarding the state of play. Please be aware that greenkeeping staff may still be working.

The decision to carry on playing during adverse weather conditions is left to the discretion of the player, who must accept full responsibility for their safety and the safety of others, including non-golfers who may be on the course.

Colchester Golf Club – a Guide to Relief  

This guide is intended to offer examples of where and how free and penalty relief may or must be taken in various situations on the course. It is offered as a hole-by-hole guide, based on the 2019 rules. The earlier holes get more examples – later sections refer back. It attempts to explain how to fairly apply the rules, which in most cases means not making ‘choices’ but actually applying the non-negotiable rules of the game.


Please read the following Health & Safety policy document for the Practice Ground and 9 hole par 3 course:

Practice Ground Policy Document
21 Braiswick, Colchester , Essex, CO4 5AU
Telephone: 01206 853396 | Email:

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