Some may see newly installed red stakes with green tops around some areas of the golf course. Specifically, these areas are bushland areas within the golf course boundaries. These areas are defined for the purposes of golf play under the ‘R & A’ rules of golf as ‘no play zones’ in a ‘penalty area’ as environmentally sensitive areas. Under the Bingara Gorge EMP (Environmental Management Plan), these areas are part of the EP&R lands (Environmental Protection and Recreation Lands), where golf and maintenance activities can not be carried out due to the sensitive nature of the ecosystem they support and to minimise impacts on protected flora.
First let’s look at No Play Zones. The definition of “no play zone” states that it is part of the course where the Committee wishes to prohibit play. No play zones can be either within an abnormal course condition or a penalty area and can encompass the entire area or just a portion of it.
What May Be Marked as a No Play Zone? The Committee can define all or part of an abnormal course condition or a penalty area as a no play zone for any reason. Some common reasons are:
- To protect wildlife, animal habitats, and environmentally sensitive areas.
- To prevent damage to young trees, flower beds, turf nurseries, re-turfed areas or other planted areas.
- To protect players from danger.
- To preserve sites of historical or cultural interest.
Once the area is defined as a no play zone, and in a penalty area, normal penalty area rules apply as defined below, under rule 17.1e ‘Relief Must Be Taken from Interference by No Play Zone in Penalty Area ‘ which then states to follow rule 17.1d ‘Relief for Ball in Penalty Area’
If a player’s ball is in a penalty area, including when it is known or virtually certain to be in a penalty area even though not found, the player has these relief options, each for one penalty stroke:
(1) The player may take stroke-and-distance relief
(2) The player may take back-on-the-line relief
(3) The player may take lateral relief (red penalty area only)
For further details, I would recommend looking up the rules of golf website https://www.randa.org/en/rog/2019/pages/the-rules-of-golf or picking up a free copy from the golf shop.
Golf Operations Manager