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Course maintenance during a competition

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After a medal round has commenced, can course maintenance work be carried out (e.g. mowing greens, sanding fairways and clearing leaves from bunkers) without the competition being voided?

The first point to make is that committees and/or course owners should make every effort to ensure that competition rounds take place with minimum interruption from green-keepers and course maintenance staff.

It is especially important that committees make advance plans around their major competitions, so that the course is presented in optimum condition and that no competitors are unnecessarily disadvantaged by ongoing work during their rounds.

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However, there is nothing in the Rules of Golf that provides any allowance for maintenance work being carried out on the course during any competition, even if this means that players will be playing the course under different conditions.

This can be compared with morning competitors playing on a dry, windless course and afternoon competitors playing in the same competition in wet and windy conditions, perhaps faced with casual water interference on areas of some putting greens.

An obvious exception to the above is if the committee, or its authorised representative, considers that, after a competition commences, course conditions change to the point that they consider that it is no longer in a playable condition, or that circumstances have arisen that render the proper playing of the game impossible.

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In such circumstances, the committee may, in both match-play and stroke-play, order a temporary suspension of play or, in stroke-play, declare the competition null and void, cancelling all scores for the round in question [rule 33-2]. When a round is cancelled, all penalties incurred in that round are cancelled.

The author is a R&A Certified Tournament Administrator and Referee. He is also a Teaching Professional and a member of the Professional Golf Association of South Africa.

For feedback, Email:dingaank@ gmail.com or call 0888 346 510.

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