Golf Rule 33, The Committee
    Golf Rule 33, The Committee – Simplified Version

  • Note: The Committee is the group overseeing a competition; if there’s no competition, the word Committee refers to course management.
  • 33-1. The Committee establishes the conditions of competition, but can’t waive the Rules of Golf.

    Because the rules for stroke play and match play are so different, the two formats can’t be combined.

    32-2. The Committee is tasked with defining out-of-bounds areas, water hazards (regular and lateral), ground under repair, obstructions and integral course elements.

    The Committee also chooses the hole (flagstick) and tee locations for each round. When hole and tee locations are changed, the Committee must ensure that every competitor plays from the same tees to the same holes.

    If the course does not have a practice area available, the Committee should identify an area where golfers can practice on the day of play (e.g., a nearby course’s driving range), assuming it’s practical. On the day of a stroke play event, practice should not be allowed on a green or in a hazard on the competition course itself.

    The Committee can declare the course unplayable and temporarily suspend play; in stroke play, the Committee can cancel scores for the round.

    33-3. The Committee arranges groups and sets tee times in competition. If a match play event is held over an extended period, the Committee establishes a time frame for completing each match.

    33-4. The Committee must provide a list of holes by handicap strokes. (For example, Hole No. 1 is the No. 7 handicap hole, No. 2 is the No. 5 handicap hole, etc.)

    33-5. In a stroke play event, the Committee gives each player a scorecard with his name (and his partner’s, in a team tournament) and the date. The Committee tallies scores and applies handicap strokes at each round’s end.

    In four-ball stroke play, the Committee records each team’s best score for each hole, applies handicap strokes and adds the net scores.

    In bogey, par and Stableford events, the Committee applies handicap strokes and determines the player’s score for each hole, and the round.

    33-6. The Committee determines how and when halved matches or ties will be settled. A match play halve can’t be broken using stroke play, and a stroke play tie can’t be broken by match play.

    33-7. In exceptional cases, the Committee can waive, modify or impose disqualification. It can’t alter or waive a penalty less than disqualification (for instance, a two-shot penalty for grounding a club in a hazard can’t be changed). The Committee can also disqualify a competitor for a serious etiquette violation.

    33-8. The Committee can create local rules for abnormal conditions as long as they’re consistent with the policy outlined in Appendix I. While the Committee can’t waive any Rule of Golf with a local rule, it can make a local rule that modifies the Rules of Golf if conditions merit. Any change must be approved by the USGA.

    33-2. The Course
    a. Defining Bounds and Margins

    The Committee must define accurately:(i) the course and out of bounds,
    (ii) the margins of water hazards and lateral water hazards,
    (iii)ground under repair, and
    (iv)obstructions and integral parts of the course.

    b. New Holes
    New holes should be made on the day on which a stroke-play competition begins and at such other times as the Committee considers necessary, provided all competitors in a single round play with each hole cut in the same position.

    Exception: When it is impossible for a damaged hole to be repaired so that it conforms with the Definition, the Committee may make a new hole in a nearby similar position.

    Note: Where a single round is to be played on more than one day, the Committee may provide, in the conditions of a competition (Rule 33-1), that the holes and teeing grounds may be differently situated on each day of the competition, provided that, on any one day, all competitors play with each hole and each teeing ground in the same position.

    c. Practice Ground
    Where there is no practice ground available outside the area of a competition course, the Committee should establish the area on which players may practice on any day of a competition, if it is practicable to do so. On any day of a stroke-play competition, the Committee should not normally permit practice on or to a putting green or from a hazard of the competition course.

    d. Course Unplayable
    If the Committee or its authorized representative considers that for any reason the course is not in a playable condition or that there are circumstances that render the proper playing of the game impossible, it may, in match play or stroke play, order a temporary suspension of play or, in stroke play, declare play null and void and cancel all scores for the round in question. When a round is canceled, all penalties incurred in that round are canceled.

    (Procedure in discontinuing and resuming play – see Rule 6-8)

    33-3. Times Of Starting And Groups
    The Committee must establish the times of starting and, in stroke play, arrange the groups in which competitors must play.

    When a match play competition is played over an extended period, the Committee establishes the limit of time within which each round must be completed. When players are allowed to arrange the date of their match within these limits, the Committee should announce that the match must be played at a stated time on the last day of the period, unless the players agree to a prior date.

    33-4. Handicap Stroke Table
    The Committee must publish a table indicating the order of holes at which handicap strokes are to be given or received.

    33-5. Score Card
    In stroke play, the Committee must provide each competitor with a score card containing the date and the competitor’s name or, in foursome or four-ball stroke play, the competitors’ names.

    In stroke play, the Committee is responsible for the addition of scores and application of the handicap recorded on the score card.

    In four-ball stroke play, the Committee is responsible for recording the better-ball score for each hole and in the process applying the handicaps recorded on the score card, and adding the better-ball scores.

    In bogey, par and Stableford competitions, the Committee is responsible for applying the handicap recorded on the score card and determining the result of each hole and the overall result or points total.

    Note: The Committee may request that each competitor records the date and his name on his score card.

    33-6. Decision Of Ties
    The Committee must announce the manner, day and time for the decision of a halved match or of a tie, whether played on level terms or under handicap.

    A halved match must not be decided by stroke play. A tie in stroke play must not be decided by a match.

    33-7. Disqualification Penalty; Committee Discretion
    A penalty of disqualification may in exceptional individual cases be waived, modified or imposed if the Committee considers such action warranted.

    Any penalty less than disqualification must not be waived or modified.

    If a Committee considers that a player is guilty of a serious breach of etiquette, it may impose a penalty of disqualification under this Rule.

    33-8. Local Rules
    a. Policy
    The Committee may establish Local Rules for local abnormal conditions if they are consistent with the policy set forth in Appendix I.

    b. Waiving or Modifying a Rule
    A Rule of Golf must not be waived by a Local Rule. However, if a Committee considers that local abnormal conditions interfere with the proper playing of the game to the extent that it is necessary to make a Local Rule that modifies the Rules of Golf, the Local Rule must be authorized by the USGA.