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 – 16 Feb 2018


The 2018/19 subscription invoices are now in the hall for collection.

If these are not picked up they will be posted week commencing 19th Feb.

Remember your yearly subscription now runs from April 2018 to March 2019 – but early payment is very much appreciated as this helps with our cashflow.


The next Quiz will table place on Wed 28th February at 8 pm.  Everyone welcome.  Please put your table name on the list in the hall.


Neill Wine Winter League end of season dinner and prize giving – Saturday 3rd March

Menu choices for the winter league dinner are now on the notice board in the men’s locker room. To assit the caterer with numbers please signal your intent to attend by putting your name and menu choice. Cost is £21 or no cost if you are a winter league season ticket holder. All players are encouraged to attend, in particular weekly and order of merit winners.


After a week or so of not playing golf we finally managed to get out on the course which was, as only can be expected, was very wet but still it was good to get out.

Eighteen people teed off, but we are still waiting for Jimmy Wilsons card to arrive, but it was still good to see so many people go out to support our sponsor Dennis Logan and hopefully in the weeks to come many more of our players will come out to support Dennis.

A welcome was given to Sam Gallagher for his first outing with us and hopefully Sam enjoyed himself and will be keen to come out and be a regular with us. Anyway to the results of the day. No 2’s recorded and the winner with a great score for the conditions was Edwin James with a nett 33 which included a superb birded at the 6th, second was Gerry Murray with a nett 35 beating Alan Coyle on the last 6. Edwin also had the best improvement of the day with 7 shots better.

Overall Tom Wilson still leads with a 27 but both Robert Coey and George Stothers improved by 1 shot and are sitting close behind on 29. A clatter (this is a golfing term) of players are on 30 – Ronnie Walker, Graham Fraser, Gerry Murray and Jimmy Alford, with another clatter on 31 – Gordie Williamson, Billy Pollock, Dennis Logan and Edwin James.

With 7 weeks still to go things are close at the top and anything can happen.


A new season is almost upon us with our first match against Balmoral GC at Balmoral on Monday 26 March.

This year Grahame Fraser is our co-ordinator with Tony Gregg and Gordon Williamson Team selectors. As we are Host Club Michael Rea will be managing the league results.

The fixture list is posted in the locker room along with contact details of those who played last year and an invitation to new players to join. The main criterion is that players should be aged 60 or over and not in full time employment.

We, as host club, have nominated the Charity to be Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, a charity which carries out great work and very worthwhile of our support. Each participant is asked to donate a minimum of £30 towards this charity. Donations will be collected by Tony Gregg.

Helen’s Bay members can be very proud that in the past they have been among the most generous contributors per head of all the teams in the league. Let’s at least maintain or even improve on this in 2018!


Tuesday 13th February was another beautiful day but the Course had seen too much rain and was closed. However as usual a good group of Ladies came for lunch and savoury and sweet pancakes were an option to celebrate Pancake Tuesday. There is still time to lower your scores in the Winter Eclectic Competition which finishes next week.

The Annual Charity Drive takes place on Tuesday 20th February. We will continue to support Parkinson’s Disease Research at Queen’s University and plan to have a presentation to them on Friday 2nd March. As ladies arrive for Bridge on Tuesday around 12 30pm lunch will not be served as usual. Any Ladies who plan to play golf who are involved with bridge and would like to play at 9.30am please contact Jenny Ferguson for an earlier draw.

Once again with a severe weather forecast the Winter Friendly League game with Donaghadee was cancelled. We hope captain Jean Wood and the ladies have good weather and good golf for their Finals day at Kirkistown Castle on Wednesday February 28th.

The Winter Four ball team will entertain Carnalea on Thursday 22nd February and again the weather will be in control but hope for a good result.

Our Annual General meeting will be held on Tuesday 27th February at 7.30pm. Catering will commence at 5.30pm so if you plan to dine book a table.


February Competition

The next Junior Competition will be on Sunday February 25th at 1pm.  Please ensure the Junior Committee is contacted before Thursday 22nd  with names of Juniors wishing to play.

Visit of Maria Dunne

The Junior Committee is looking forward to welcoming Maria Dunne to Helen’s Bay GC on Monday February 19th.  Maria, who hails from Skerries, Co Dublin and plays her golf there, has had a glittering career in women’s golf.

She first represented  Ireland at the  European Young Masters in Italy in 1998 at the age of 15 and won her first full international cap in the Women’s Home Internationals in Scotland at the age of 21. She has gone on to win several more international caps in the European Team Championships, the World Amateur Team and the Home Internationals. Maria cites the  victory of the Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup Team in Dun laoghaire in 2016 as one of the highlights of her golfing career. That and being part of the Irish Team which won the Home Internationals in Birmingham in 2017, a year in which she also won the Irish Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship in Baltray, Co Louth – home course of the famous Philomena Garvey.

Maria has now become a Programme Ambassador for Golf4Girls4Life (G4G4L). The aim of the Ambassadors is to inspire young girls to aim for success other than just International achievements. Maria says: “What I think is great about the programme is that it doesn’t aim to find the next Leona (Maguire) or the most talented person in the group, it’s about giving girls the opportunity to see what golf is and getting everyone to take part – that’s what matters”.  Clubs where boys and girls play together as we do in Helen’s Bay are adapting the programme to suit all players and this is something the Junior Committee is really interested in.

Maria is very interested to hear how the Junior Committee in HBGC has brought the Section from 13 Juniors in 2013 to 82 now (including 19 girls), especially without a resident Club Professional.

Hope everyone attending the Jazz Lunch on Sunday enjoys their afternoon.

Have a great week!

Helens Bay Golf Club

Tel: 02891852815