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  • Writer's pictureDamien Connolly

Revised Guidelines on Flagsticks and Rakes in the Republic of Ireland from 23rd July.

Changes to Golf Ireland Protocol effective July 23rd

Golf Ireland has confirmed that revised protocols will come into effect from Friday, July 23rd onwards. These will revise the use of flagsticks and bunker rakes. Full details are outlined below, along with the latest available Protocol and FAQ downloads:

Subject to the continuing public health situation in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the following changes to Golf Ireland’s Protocol will be introduced.


  • Golf Clubs may reintroduce standard flagsticks and hole depths, removing modifications previously introduced.

  • Where a golf club removes modifications, the standard rules of golf for the flagstick should be reintroduced (see Rules 13.2 and 13.3 in particular).

  • Where a golf club reintroduces conventional flagsticks, a strong and renewed emphasis on hand-washing both before and after play must be reinforced. Hand sanitisers should be available at entry and exit points to the course.

  • Only one player should handle the flagstick on each hole.

  • Should a Golf Club wish to continue to persist with COVID-related modifications, this would be permissible as The R&A are continuing at this time to make the COVID-19 Rules of Golf available

Bunker Rakes

  • Bunker rakes may be reintroduced to the course.

  • Where golf clubs reintroduce bunker rakes, the application of a local rule permitted placing within a bunker should no longer be operated.

  • Should a Golf Club wish to continue with bunker rakes removed, they may do so and may continue to apply such a local rule for handicapping purposes.

  • Only one player should handle the rake where more than one player’s ball is played from a bunker.

Hand Sanitiser

  • Golfers are strongly advised to bring their own pocket hand sanitiser and to sanitise hands after each hole following handling of the flagstick and/or rake.

The reintroduction of these normal practices should not be taken as a sign of the end of the pandemic. Golf Clubs and golfers must remain vigilant in face of the continued threat COVID-19 possesses, particularly in the form of variants. Players should travel to the club alone, or only with a member of the same household. Where Golf Clubs rescind the modifications to the game in the manner outlined above, they are encouraged to keep these measures in reserve. Should the public health situation deteriorate again, Golf Ireland may once again recommend their introduction in line with public health advice at the time.

Notwithstanding these continued warnings, the fact that we are at a stage where these measures can be gradually unwound is an important moment for the sport and a hopeful sign that the playing of the game can proceed in a safe manner without such modifications.

The protocol will be reviewed dependent on the prevailing public health situation in line with the Irish Government's COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery: The Path Ahead plan.



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