Rules in Focus – Out of Bounds beyond a Penalty Area

When an Out of Bounds boundary lies beyond a Penalty area, the penalty assessed must be based on where the ball has come to rest, rather than which boundary it crosses first. 

Consider some different scenarios on our 7th hole below:

  • A player hits a tee shot over the fence on the left of the hole. The ball finishes near “1”. To claim that the ball has entered the penalty area, the player (and his marker) would need to be “virtually certain” that it is in the penalty area. This means a 95% probability. Anything less and the ball must be regarded as OOB and the player reloads under penalty of stroke and distance. This come from Rule 17.1C which states “if it is not known or virtually certain that the ball came to rest in a penalty area the player must take stroke and distance relief under Rule 18.2”.
  • Another player hits a stronger shot which hooks to the left (apologies to the left-handed players), and finishes near “2”. It cannot just be assumed to be in the penalty area. The OOB in this area is the start of the concrete pedestrian pathway. In some areas this OOB is only 23 metres from the edge of the fairway. Again, the player and his marker must be “virtually certain” that the ball is in the penalty area. If this is the case the player may either play from the drop zone or take point of entry to the penalty area if the ball had a substantial “curve” on it. If not, then the player must reload under penalty of stroke and distance.

Note that this OOB extends the full length of the 7th hole. Similar scenarios apply on the 6th, 10th and 18th holes. Members should acquaint themselves with the precise positions of these areas.

It is important for the player and the marker to watch the flight of the ball: is it hooking, fading, straight? This would improve your ability to assess the final position of the ball.

If you have any questions about this article, please speak to a member of the Match Committee.

As always, please refer to the following references when in doubt:

R&A Rules of Golf

The Coast GC Local Rules & Course Conditions

To view our previous “Rules in Focus” article on Playing a Provisional Ball follow the link

Match Committee

August 2023