Play Safe Stay Safe - golf guidelines

Play Safe Golf

The PGA, Golf Club Managers Association, British Golf Industry Association, BIGGA and UK Golf Federation worked in partnership to give operational guidance for the re-opening of golf courses, and we will continue to adopt these guidelines.

The South Buckinghamshire Golf Course will remain open as we move into Tier 3 from Saturday 19 December, with the first tee time at 8.10am.We vwill continue to operate with groups of up to four players with a 10 minute gap

We still have to follow the instructions from the Government in relation to COVID-19, as do all golfers, and we will regularly review our protocols, so as to keep golfers and staff safe

Advice and Information before returning to Golf

To enable you to play golf at The South Buckinghamshire Golf Course we would like to pass on some tips and advice to our golfers:

  • Do not play golf if you feel sick, or are within the 7 or 14-day period of self-isolation due to COVID-19
  • Please ensure you follow government rules on self-isolation if returning from a Country that is not within the Common Travel Area - please see the following website for up to date information:Coronavirus (COVID-19): travel corridors
  • All staff can ask a golfer to leave the site if that person is known to have ignored the isolation rules, therefore please follow the guidelines and do not put others at risk
  • It is recommended that you do not play golf if you have received notification from the NHS strongly advising that you should be self-isolating due to your age and/or health conditions
  • If you have received this letter from the NHS and wish to ignore this advice, then a letter to the General Manager stating this will be required, before you can play
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before you leave home, and bring sanitizer with you, and use it before you start playing and at the end of the game
  • If you are driving to the course, please park sensibly within a parking bay
  • Please DO NOT congregate in the car park before or after play, and arrive no more than 20 minutes before your booked tee time
  • Avoid handshakes on meeting your playing partner and at the end of the game
  • The practice green, is now available, and you can practice for 10 minutes before your tee time, with up to four people allowed on the area at any one time.
  • Please report into the club shop and pay for your round - contactless payment is preferred, and cash will not be accepted
  • A limited selection of soft drinks is available from the golf shop, or you can bring your own. The bar is now closed, and we will only be offering a takeaway service for tea, coffee, hot chocolate, soup and cold drinks.
  • The bins on the course are now available, however, the ball washers remain covered up, as per Golf England guidelines, as does the bell on the 18th

Terms and Conditions of Play

  • We are now in Tier 4, and will only allow two balls to play, and will not allow a couple from one household to play with someone from another household
  • 18-hole Tee Times will be available at set times on the 1st tee, with a 10-minute gap
  • Tee times are ONLY available from 8.10am Monday to Sunday, as this allows the greenkeepers time on the course before play begins
  •  Presently, Members may book up to 7 days in advance online or over the phone, visitors can only book online up to 4 days in advance with a 50% non-refundable deposit for any 18-hole booking
  • The playing of nine holes of golf only is available every afternoon between 12 noon and 1.50am - please check online or call golf shop for times available, and between 8.40am and 9.40am (bookable via the golf shop only)
  • All tee times are now TWO BALLS ONLY, and you can play with ONE other person from outside your household
  • Tee Times must be booked in advance, online or over the phone, and should be cancelled with at least 24 hours' notice if unable to play
  • Certain Tee Times starting from Saturday 5 December are now pre booked for the two clubs based here, and no new society bookings are being accepted in December and January
  • Golf Now or Tee Off Time bookings are presently not available
  • Golfers are limited to ONE round of up to EIGHTEEN holes per day, except where extra holes in a competition are required, but please ensure our staff are aware of this before proceeding to the next tee
  • Golfers may only play ONE ball, even when playing on their own, therefore it is one ball per green fee
  • Social distancing MUST be adhered to at all times whilst playing, so please adhere to the TWO metre rule, as this is possible when on a golf course
  • Only one golfer is allowed in the golf shop at any one time, and payment must be made by card, ideally CONTACTLESS. Cash will not be accepted
  • Toilets are open, but the changing rooms will remain closed
  • Golfers must NOT come down to the golf course without having pre-booked a tee time, so as to avoid unnecessary congregation
  • Club competitions are now permitted, however, we ask all golfers to avoid congregation of groups before and after play
  • A good speed of play is required and it is vital that 18 holes is completed within 4 hours, allowing 10 minutes to pack your clubs away and leave the site
  • Do NOT join up with another group to make a group of more than 2 UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, as if you do you will all be asked to leave the course
  • Please play a provisional ball from the tee if there is a chance that you have lost the first ball
  • Do NOT pick up your partner's ball, or any found stray ball
  • Players are advised not to exchange cards but verbally communicate scores
  • Do NOT touch or remove flagsticks. This is to minimise exposure to COVID-19. We now have new flagsticks in place, which allow you to lift the flag with your putter, which will raise your ball out of the hole. (Please see Local Rules at end of this document)
  • Rakes have been removed from all bunkers, and we would encourage golfers to try and smooth the disturbed area with their foot or a golf club. Please see local rules with regard to playing out of a bunker
  • Ball washers have been covered up, therefore, please do not attempt to use them
  • The Air blowers have been switched off, so please do not attempt to use them
  • Please be aware of walkers on the Public Footpath - there may be more than usual as they have been used to walking the whole course during the second lockdown
  • Buggies are presently not available for hire due to course conditions
  • Personal one seater buggies are presently NOT allowed due to course conditions being very slippery
  • Should there be bad weather, with thunder and lightning, staff will sound the Klaxon and all players must make their way back to the clubhouse, however, due to COVID-19 restrictions, please wait to be seated if possible, or wait outside, or in your car, until the staff state that it is safe to return to the course
  • All golfers MUST adhere to the 'Rule of Two' that was brought into law by the government from Sunday 20 December. This law applies throughout the clubhouse, car park, patio area and on the golf course.
  • Following the latest COVID-19 guidance issues on Saturday 19 December, Buckinghamshire is now in Tier 4. As a result we have decided not to offer a Takeaway service so as to restrict use of the clubhouse to a minimum

The above conditions are to ensure that everyone has a fair chance of playing the course and we are adhering to the government rules, and governing body guidelines

Temporary Local Rules

Covid 19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic

Score Cards:

Rule 3.3b is amended thus:

  • Players may enter their own scores on the scorecard (it is not necessary for a marker to do it)
  • It is not necessary to have a marker physically certify the player's scores, but some form of verbal certification should take place

Returning Cards to The Committee: [The method for doing this will be advised by each club via their competitions organiser(s)


When a player's ball lies in a bunker the player may take free relief by placing the original ball or using another ball and playing it from this relief area. Once the ball has been placed it cannot be replaced as it is now deemed to be in play:

  • Reference Point: Spot of the original ball.
  • Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: 6 inches from the reference point, but with these limits:
    • Limits on Location of Relief Area
    • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
    • Must be in the general area.

In proceeding under this Local Rule, the player must choose a spot to place the ball and use the procedures for replacing a ball under Rules 14.2b(2) and 14.2e.
The area where the ball is to be placed must not be smoothed before placing.
If a player fails to get out of the bunker then they are entitled to free relief again, provided the ball is in a poor lie due to the bunker not being raked.


The flags are being left in the hole purely to identify the position of the hole on the putting green. Golfers must always leave the flagstick in the hole and not touch it deliberately.

Ball Holed:

The hole liners will be set in such a way that means that all of the ball may not fall below the surface of the putting green. The ball is considered "holed" if any part of it is below the surface of the putting green, even if not lodged against the flagstick.

Immovable Obstructions (Rule 16):

Stakes that define either an area of the course (such as penalty areas) or distances (such as distance markers) are Immovable Obstructions and as such must not be removed.
Penalty for breach of Temporary Local Rule: General Penalty


Smoothing of bunkers with feet or a club is permitted under Rule12.2b(2)

Thank you for co-operating and enjoy your golf!
South Buckinghamshire management.

Drink Safe Stay Safe

Following the latest COVID-19 guidance from the Government, issued on Monday 23 November, a 3 Tier system will be in place from Wednesday 2 December. As a result, we will be adhering to these rules and how whether the bar is open will depend on whether the area of Buckinghamshire is deemed to be in Tier 1 or not.

If we are designated as a Tier 1 Area, then the following protocols will be in place:

  • The bar and catering facilities will only be open to those people who have played golf on the day, so please ensure that you read and follow the PLAY SAFE STAY SAFE guidelines
  • Our bar catering facilities will be open 10.00am to 4.00pm daily.
  • We will be operating from The Oak Room only
  • Please wait at the 'welcome' table to be seated
  • Tables will be set up to seat up to 4 people, and therefore a group of up to 4 golfers will be seated together, however, please ask if you wish to make up a group of six people, and we will accommodate this where possible
  • Should any golfer live in a designated COVID-19 Tier 2 area, please let this be known to our staff as unfortunately you will have to be seated at a table of one, or with persons from the same household or bubble. We will do our best to seat you within 2 metres of your playing partner(s)
  • Should any golfer live in a designated COVID-19 Tier 3 area, please DO NOT attempt to socialise with others indoors, which includes the bar area
  • Due to social distancing rules, we ask that you do not move to another table or move chairs once you have been allocated a table
  • Because of the number of tables and space being limited, each table will be allocated a maximum of 45 minutes, after which they may be asked to leave, so that the table can be prepared for the next group
  • You will be given a menu, and your order will be taken at your table, and payment will be by card only - with contactless payment up to £45.00
  • Because there is a limited amount of time available per table, we will only be offering a limited selection of drinks, sandwiches, chips and cake
  • Your drinks and food will be brought to your table, so there is no need to queue at the bar
  • Please speak to a member of staff should you wish to place a second order of drinks
  • Please note we will also be offering a Takeaway service up to 2pm - please use the bins on the course to dispose of any packaging

All members of staff, have full authority and responsibility to ensure that the consumption of food and drinks is carried out within the acceptable COVID-19 Guidelines from the Government, and in line with the terms above. If you do not follow the guidelines you may be asked to leave the facility. A full set of guidelines and terms of play are available on our website.

If we are designated as a Tier 2 or Tier 3 Area, then the bar will unfortunately be closed

Thank You for your co-operation.

Tier 4 guidelines

Following the Prime Ministers' announcement on Saturday 19 December, Buckinghamshire was placed into Tier 4, as from Sunday 20 December.

Therefore, the following rules will apply with regard to playing golf at The South Buckinghamshire Golf Course:

• If you live in a COVID-19 Tier 4 area, you must continue to follow Tier 4 rules when you travel to a Tier 1, 2, 3 or Tier 4 area.

• You must not meet socially indoors with any other person, therefore, we ask that only one person is in the golf reception area at any one time, and we will not be serving take away hot drinks

• You can only meet up with one other person outside of your household or bubble when outdoors, therefore, we will only allow two balls on the course - please do not join up with another group or player when out on the course

• Please follow our PLAY SAFE STAY SAFE guidelines when playing

• Please leave the golf course as soon as you have finished playing golf 

• You must not travel if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms, are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms, or have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.