Golf Winter Rules

Aerial view of Donnington Valley Golf Club

Winter Rules

During the winter months most golf clubs bring in ‘Winter Rules’ for golf for two main reasons:

    1. The ground conditions are much wetter either through rain or by dew.
    2. The ground due to its softer texture, may cause the ball collect mud and dirt.

Therefore the ‘winter rules’ are in place to help you rather than penalize you as a golfer, so that you can play your best golf when there is a much wetter playing surface.

The two main benefits to these rules are as follows:

A ball lying on a closely-mown area through the green (fairway, approach or collar to the green) may, without penalty, be marked, moved or lifted, cleaned and placed within six inches of where it originally lay, but not nearer to the hole and not in a hazard or on a putting green.

A player may move or place his ball once and after the ball has been moved or placed, it is in play.

Relief from an embedded ball

‘Through the green’, (not just closely-mown areas) a ball that is embedded in its own pitch-mark in the ground, other than sand, may be marked, lifted without penalty, cleaned and dropped as near as possible to where it lay but not nearer the hole. The ball when dropped must strike a part of the course through the green.

Other considerations for golf in the winter months

In the autumn period, many leaves fall on the golf course, which can make finding your ball quite difficult at times, therefore if you hit your golf ball to an area where it may not be found, play a ‘provisional’ ball. If you do not find your first ball but you find the second ‘the provisional ball’ you can then play that ball, but you must add on an extra two shot for that hole.
I.e. tee off (1 shot), play a provisional ball and that is then your third shot.

Make sure you ‘mark’ your golf ball, to make it easier to identify and prevents hitting somebody else’s golf ball my mistake. You can mark your ball in many ways, put coloured spots in a few dimples, adding your initials etc.

If you are playing when the course is frosty or frozen and everything appears white, then it is often a good idea to play a coloured ball, rather than the usual white, to make it easier to find. Many people play with yellow or orange golf balls in these conditions.


For details on membership of Donnington Valley Golf Club, take a look on our membership pages or contact us by telephone 01635 568144 or by email

Peter Smith
Director of Golf