Summer Membership Offer

We are now offering Summer membership at Helen’s Bay, with an option of two months or three months.  The price is £120 for two and £170 for three months, both of which include your GUI levy, which enables you to get a handicap.  Contact the club today.


Right click on form, “Print Picture”, fill it in & drop into the office.
If you need help with a proposer etc, please call in for assistance.
Hope to see you soon.

helens bay application form final [251755]-001


Download the R&A App from our “Contact Us – links” page free.

(if you don’t play by the rules, you are not playing Golf.)

Like chess, golf has a lot of rules, some of which take some thinking about but, they all make sense. The game doesn’t work without them. You don’t need to be a grand master but, if you don’t play by the rules – you are not playing the game.

In golf, any players who don’t apply the Rules properly or, who agree to waive any penalty stroke are Disqualified ( R1.3), whether or not they benefit from the agreement. If a player submits a scorecard without having included penalties, he/she is Disqualified. That’s why we need to know the rules and penalties.

And, the first rule to brush up on is – Maximum 14 clubs including putter in your bag – 2 shot penalty per hole played in breach of this rule (up to 4) or loss of up to 2 holes in match play (R4.4). It happened to Ian Woosnam, so it can happen to you. Check what is in your bag, regularly.


The tee box (“teeing ground”) is a rectangle between 2 markers at the front and two club lengths long. If you start outside this area in match play your opponent can make you play your shot again without penalty or, in stroke play, you incur a 2 shot penalty and must play again from the proper place. (R11.4). If you play the next hole without correcting your mistake, you are Disqualified.

If a ball falls off a tee or is accidentally knocked off when “addressing” the ball (grounding club in front or behind ball) there is no penalty and a player can put the ball back on the tee. But, if a stroke is made, whether or not the ball moves, the stroke counts. (R11)

Priority” on the course is simple. The R&A changed the rules 11 years ago to speed up the game. Gone are ideas of 4 ball, 2 ball, 3 ball, 1 ball. Now, unless a competition committee specifically state otherwise, priority is governed solely by pace of play. FASTER PLAYERS HAVE PRIORITY. If the player, or players (whatever number) behind you are playing or could play faster than you – call them through. They have priority. If you fall a hole behind, call the group behind you through.   (Rules S1)


These rules have been updated recently and require particular attention.

If a bunker is designated “Ground Under Repair”, you may take a drop without penalty outside the bunker and the ball must be dropped within 1 club length of the nearest point of relief (not nearer the hole).

Anyone can rake a bunker at any time provided it is SOLELY to repair the bunker, not to test the sand or improve lie of the ball. Testing the sand is a 2 shot penalty or loss of hole in match play. (R13.4)

Unless it is absolutely essential to identify your ball in a bunker, you must not touch the ball or touch, pick up or move any leaves, twigs, stones, pieces of fruit, pine cones etc or any other “loose impediment” that is in or touching the bunker, whether or not it is touching or interferes with your ball. You must play your ball as it lies- even if it is embedded in a half-eaten apple and has a twig resting on it. Penalty for breach is 2 strokes/loss of hole. If you needed to move anything to identify your ball you must put everything back to how it was, ie put the leaves etc back on top of your ball (R12.1b)

Local Rules (including ours) often provide that stones (& only stones !) may be removed without penalty.

Touching the sand with a club before making stroke- 2 strokes/loss of hole. (R13.4).

If the ball is in a bunker and the next shot is affected by casual water within the bunker, you may drop the ball without penalty provided the ball is dropped inside the bunker at nearest point of relief, not closer to the hole. Also, in such situations a drop may also be taken outside the bunker (in a line backwards from the hole) incurring 1 shot penalty. (R25.1)

Please, please, please rake all bunkers properly after you have played your shot. Leave the rake in the bunker pointing to the flag. (other clubs may have different local rules.)


Out of bounds (OB) is usually marked by a white line, white stakes or a fence. If marked by a fence and/ or stakes, OB is actually a virtual line between the inside edges of the upright fence posts or stakes at ground level. The line marking OB is itself OB. BUT, if any part of the ball is inside the line, the ball is in. A player may stand OB in order to play a ball that is “in”. You may not move OB stakes that interfere with your swing. They are “fixed”. A ball hit OB is “lost” – 1 stroke penalty and then you must play next from the spot where the previous ball was played (R27.1).

If you think your ball may be “lost”, declare that you are playing a “provisional” and play a new ball from where you hit the first one, then look for your ball. Don’t go searching first. While searching, call players behind you through.

If your first ball can’t be found within 5 mins, it is deemed “lost” and you continue with the “provisional”. If you find the first ball before it is deemed “lost” you must continue to play it. If you continued with the “provisional” it would be the “wrong ball” – further 2 stroke penalty/loss of hole (R27.2). In stroke play, if you don’t correct a “wrong ball” mistake, you are disqualified (R15.3)

Once your ball is deemed “lost” or, if you didn’t declare a 2nd ball as “provisional”, then, even if you subsequently find the first ball, it is still “lost”. Continue with the 2nd ball and take the penalty strokes.(R27.2)
Practice during a round is not permitted and carries a 2 stroke/loss of hole penalty (R7.2)


First, repair your pitch mark. Then, repair your pitch mark!

If you didn’t bring your pitch repair tool, then you are not ready to play golf.

You may not tap anything down except a pitch mark or ball marker. You may not repair spike marks made by shoes, on the line of putt, until after you have played- 2 Strokes/loss of Hole (R16.1). You may take relief from holes dug by birds or animals and may hand “brush” sand or soil ONLY if they are on the green.

You must not test or practice on the greens before or during a stroke play comp- Disqualification (R7.1) But, after you have finished the hole you may practice on that green and on/near next tee box (excluding bunkers) PROVIDED it doesn’t cause any delay behind you- breach 2 Strokes/ Loss of Hole.(R7.2)

The flag stick may be removed or tended, whether or not the ball is on the green. If you putt from on the green and hit the flag stick – 2 Strokes penalty and play as the ball lies/ Loss of Hole (R17.3), UNLESS the person tending is at fault, in which case they incur the penalty (R17.2). If ball at rest on the green is hit by moving ball struck from off the green, there is no penalty. Replace the moved ball to where it was last at rest. If both balls were on the green prior to putting, and the ball putt hits a ball at rest, the player of the putt incurs 2 Stroke penalty.

Mark, Lift, Clean, Place. Lifting without marking – 1 Stroke penalty (R20.1). Playing from wrong place – 2 Strokes/Loss of Hole (R20.7). If you lie off the green and are asked to mark your ball by another player, you must mark, then lift, but must not clean your ball – breach, 1 Stroke penalty (R21)

Don’t play out of turn. If you putt on the green while another ball on green is moving, 2 Strokes/Loss of Hole UNLESS the other player putted out of turn. If someone offers to putt out of turn to show you the line, and you agree, Both are Disqualified.


If ever there was a rule so misunderstood yet most likely to bring penalties, it is this one.

You must not give to or, ask for advice from anyone. Every time you ask for or give advice – 2 Stroke penalty (which can also be added to next hole if asked/given between holes)/ Loss of hole (R8.1)

Advice is “any counsel or suggestion that could influence a player in determining his play, the choice of club or the method of making a stroke”.
So, for example …………….

        “what are you hitting?”        “that’s a 2 club wind”      “ am I swinging too fast?”

 “I’d take a drop”     “take your normal stance”     “take your time with that putt”  etc etc
each carry a 2 Stroke penalty/Loss of Hole.

Questions about the Rules of Golf , distances and general course issues (where the bunkers/flagsticks are) are not “advice”. You may also indicate line of play up to (but not beyond) the flagstick, provided you are not on the green (R8.2) – Breach 2 strokes/Loss of hole.

If you really want to find out what club someone hit -look in their bag (without touching anything).
If you need help with technique- practice on a non-competition day.

If you are playing in a pairs or team event you may take/give advice to your playing partner, their caddy or (provided competition allows) the designated team captain. But, if your partner touches the green to indicate the line of putt to play – 2 Stroke penalty/ Loss of hole (R8.2b)

Don’t forget, if 2 or more players (ie your 4 ball) agree not to apply the rule or penalty, then all are disqualified.

It is just about getting out of bad habits. Competition day is for competitive golf; not coaching.


If the course is set up as “Preferred Lies” then, through the green, you may Mark, Lift, Clean & Place your ball within 6 inches, not closer to the hole. Otherwise, Play the ball as it lies.

That means, until you are on the green you may not remove mud or leaves sticking to the ball or, lift your ball out of some selfish player’s unrepaired divot. On the fairway or rough (NOT BUNKERS !!) you may move “loose impediments” from around but not attached to the ball. Penalty for cleaning ball – 1 stroke (R21). If the ball “accidentally” moves while removing loose impediments- 1 stroke penalty & replace the ball (R18.2) If you don’t replace– playing from wrong place -2 strokes and if you play the next hole without fixing your mistake –Disqualification.

You must not improve the lie of the ball or the path of your swing by pressing anything down, bending away or breaking branches or hedges or replacing divots (even someone else’s) until after you play your stroke. Penalty 2 strokes/loss of hole (R 13.2) The penalty applies if you break a branch or knock down leaves such as would improve your swing, while taking a practice swing.

If your ball is embedded in its own plug mark ON THE FAIRWAY you may lift, clean & DROP, without penalty. (Check local rules – Relief available at HBGC  if ball embedded in own plug in rough.)

If your ball enters an area of Ground Under Repair and definitely didn’t go OB but can’t be found, it is not a “lost” ball. Drop without penalty within 1 club length of the point where the ball entered the area of GUR. (R25.1)

Any player can decide their ball is “unplayable” – add 1 stroke penalty then- go back to where the previous stroke was played or, drop within 2 club lengths (not closer to hole) from where the ball lies or, drop behind the unplayable ball position in line with the flagstick. The ball may be cleaned before dropping, but once dropped the ball must not be touched again (unless it rolls more than 2 club lengths, rolls into a hazard or on green, rolls OB etc).-2 Strokes/Loss of Hole (R20)

If you declare that a ball in a bunker is “unplayable” then you may also take relief with 1 stroke penalty but you must drop the ball inside the same bunker.(penalty 2 strokes/loss of hole R28)

REMEMBER don’t use your putter to scoop a ball out of the hole; don’t lean on your putter; repair your divots; fix your pitch marks & rake bunkers. If you refuse to care for the course you will face club sanction and may well be ruining someone else’s game.


Golf  is a game with Rules – if you don’t play by the Rules, you are not really playing Golf.
Maximum 14 clubs including putter
Faster players have priority – Call them through
Don’t Practice on course before or during stroke competitions
Play the Ball as it Lies
Don’t move anything in a bunker (except stones – if permitted)
“Declare” before playing a Provisional – then go looking
Don’t press down anything on the green except pitch marks or ball marker before putting
Mark your ball before lifting
Take proper care of the course – Rake Bunkers, Fix Pitch Marks,  Repair Divots & Don’t Scoop out of the hole with your putter
Don’t give or ask for any advice. Competitions are competitive. – 2 stroke penalty each time!!

REMEMBER – ALL players that agree to waive any penalty stroke or to not apply the Rules of Golf properly are Disqualified.


Please download the R&A Rules App for your smartphone or computer – it is free and available from our “Links” page. The App is much easier to understand than the Rule Book & really is an essential piece of every golfers’ kit.



No matter how bad your card, it must be put into the system. The CONGU handicap computer calculates handicap changes by analysis of the Competition Scratch Score, which is calculated weekly and is totally dependent upon the % of players in each category that finish within their “buffer zone” that day. So, your bad score, or non-finish really can/would change the % and alter everybody else’s handicap. That is why you MUST ensure that everyone in your group puts their card in, even if they had their worst round ever or retired after 3 holes. Everybody competing is affected by your card.

If a player starts but doesn’t put in a card, (for whatever reason), their handicap will be moved up 0.1 by the club’s Handicap Convenor anyway, so you can’t protect your handicap !

Any player that fails to put in their card on any 2 occasions in the season will have their handicap suspended for 2 weeks as well as being moved 0.2.


Enjoy your golf & Play fair.





WEEKLY UPDATE – 11 August 2017


Good afternoon, good luck to everyone playing in the Mark Evans Mixed Competition this afternoon,


Tomorrow’s competition is the President’s Stableford.  Please note that this is a shotgun start at 8.45am and 1pm.  You should arrive in good time to be allocated your starting tee; and to pay your entrance fee (at the pro shop) before making your way to your allocated tee.  Prizes will be presented as soon as possible after both shotguns are completed. Wishing the President an enjoyable (and dry) day.


AIG Summer Series 6

5th August 2017


1st        Robert Coey             40 pts bb9

2nd      Raymond Shannon 40 pts bb9

3rd       Gareth Magee          40 pts

4th       Alan Shannon          39 pts bb9

Prizes will be presented on Saturday 19th August 2017 at 6 pm in the back bar.


We had the first session of our ‘gardening club’ on Tuesday night. The paths at the front & side of the clubhouse were cleared of weeds etc along with the corresponding stone beds. Many thanks to the Captain, Tom, Gordy & Thomo for your hard work. I think we all enjoyed the experience and the results of our labour, Also thanks to Alan McGregor for his work on the rose bed at the 8th tee. He was also responsible for weeding the bed at the 15th tee.

We hope to carry this on a weekly basis (weather permitting) with all volunteers welcome. Please give your name & mobile number to the office if interested.


Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?  After a lengthy losing run we managed to draw at home against Cliftonville. Let’s see if we can gain a miracle win away from home next week.  Keep trying men!


On Monday 7th August Liz Jackson and Ruth Croft represented Helen’s Bay in the Final of the Daisy Ferguson Trophy at Royal County Down Golf Club and played well.

The Charity Competition for the RNLI was played on Tuesday 8th August Division 1 was won by Anne Adamson with 35 points and the runner up was Deirdre Forde with 34 points. Division 2 was won by Christine Shannon with 36 points and the runner up was Edna Briggs with 33 points.

On Tuesday 15th Liz Jackson will play in the Final of the Ulster Sports Trust at Masserene. We wish her good golf and fair weather.

On Friday afternoon we look forward to the Mark Evans Memorial Competition followed by a meal and Presentation. We hope to prove the forecast wrong so we can enjoy this event and also to the Friendly League team who will play Mahee home and away on Friday and the following Wednesday.

The refurbishment of the Ladies Locker Room continues and next week new carpet will be laid. This may be a problem on Wednesday 16th but access can be gained by the rear of the building.

The Lists are posted for Captain’s Prize on Tuesday 29th August so sign up, choose your meal and pay as usual.

A quantity of lost property has accumulated in the Ladies Locker Room and is now on display until the end of August.  Please view and claim. Clubs donated for the GiG programme can also be purchased or reclaimed.

Wednesday 16th August sees the start of the Ladies Evening Roll Up. Mary Field will be available from 5.30pm to do the draw and please inform her if you will be eating afterwards so we can give the caterers approximate numbers.

The slots are filling up for the Open Competition on September 12th so do remember to book soon.

We are looking for Ladies who would like to assist with flowers week by week and for special occasions. If interested please let any of the Committee or the Office know as we would be delighted to have your help.

Next week is the Irene Wallace Eclectic. A competition we all enjoy as we endeavour to play the same nine better the second time round!


Results of the Alan Kinnaird Cup Friday August 4th 2017:

18 holes

1st                           Ben McCord                       54pts

2nd                          Seany McMahon              53pts

3rd                           George Hughes                43pts

9 holes

1st                           Josh Megarry                     19pts BB9

2nd                          Jodi Wilson                         19pts

3rd                           Niamh Hanna                     17pts

Short 9 holes

1st                           Conor Branigan                  22pts

2nd                          Joe Wilson                           21pts

Short 4 holes    

1st                           Sophie Milhench                  10pts

2ND                          Isaac van Houten &

Reuben hall                        5pts

Next competition: Friday August 18th : Captain’s Prize to Juniors – one of the highlights of our season.  Entries to Junior Committee on by 6pm on Wednesday August 16th 2017. The timesheet will be posted as usual on the Junior Noticeboard from lunchtime on Thursday and a copy also left behind the bar.


NB: Remember the timesheets are in the hall for the

  1. Family Fun Scramble Day on Sunday August 13th starting at 1pm approx followed by a BBQ, . Entries for this event close at lunchtime today, Friday August 11th  after Junior golf.   An email will be sent on Saturday August 12th to participants setting out the plans for the day so please watch your Inbox!

BBQ Menu:  burgers, sausages, chicken drumsticks, salads, burger rolls and wheaten bread.  Cost: £7 for Juniors, £10 for adults. Non-golfers very, very welcome but caterers MUST know how many are coming so bookings for the BBQ directly to Howlett’s Catering on 91852516 please.

Robert will be cooking outside the Longmore Room and Juniors and Adults are free to eat both in the lounge and Longmore Room – emphasis this Sunday is on casual eating and informality. Enjoy.

All players other than those taking part in the Family Fun Scramble must be off the course by 12.15pm. Thank you

  1. Olive Shields Junior Adult/Foursomes on Sunday August 20th. Tee closed for this competition from 1- 4pm followed by High Tea in the Dining-Room.  Partners will be found for any Junior who does not have a family member who plays golf.  Entries will close after Junior golf next Friday August 18th.  Bookings for High Tea are to be made directly with the caterer.

Inter-Club Matches:

Annual Hermitage v. HBGC fixture, July 31st: Helen’s Bay lost the Peter Clarke Trophy 6-0 but this was the youngest team we have ever sent to Hermitage and they did incredibly well against stiff opposition with two matches going to the 18th and several others very tight indeed.  Very well done boys.

The Alan Foster Putter, Wednesday August 9th:   Juniors v. Council: result  4½ : 4½  – Juniors retain the Alan Foster Putter as per Ryder Cup rules.  Well done again boys!

Helen’s Bay Girls v. RBGC, Friday August 11th: seven of our girls go to RBGC tomorrow afternoon to play a return friendly foursomes match.

Helen’s Bay Boys v. RBGC Boys, Saturday afternoon August 19th 4pm: a match has been arranged for some of the younger boys in Helen’s Bay.

August is a busy month!!


Book a table with the Restaurant (02891 852816) – Delicious menu attached.

The Summer draw will take place on this evening at 9.30 pm.

Only a few numbers left for the Summer draw cost £10 each.


5-A-SIDE & BBQ – Sat 26 August

Five A Side £25 per team.  BBQ £14.  BBQ served 8.30 pm – 10 pm.  Entertainment from 10 pm.

Timesheet up in the Club foyer

Please note the BBQ is open to all members and guests and not just those playing in the Five A Side.

Have a good week!

Helens Bay Golf Club

Tel: 02891852815