The Bradford Golf Club
Policy for Golf Course Play in Fog
To ensure safe golf playing conditions when fairways and rough are obscured by fog in order to reduce the chance of injury from golf balls in flight to players of golf, staff and the general public.
The Bradford Golf Club (TBGC) can experience all types of fog, but mainly Ground, Upslope or Hill Fog and Valley Fog. Given the nature of our Club’s location we have a policy to cover these situations.
1. Competition play:
a. In designated club competitions play must always start from the 1st tee. If the Red/White marker behind the back of the green on the 1st is not fully visible play will be suspended. The Red/White marker must be clearly visible from the 1st Yellow tee marker.
2. Non-competition play:
a. If the Red/White marker behind the back of the green on the 1st is not fully visible play will not be allowed from the 1st tee. The Red/White marker must be clearly visible from the 1st Yellow tee marker.
3. Suspension of play
a. If no one is playing on the course when the decision is made to suspend play an ‘A’ board notice will be placed on the 1st tee.
b. If visibility becomes limited on any part of the course where Red/White marker is not established it is the individual responsibility of all golfers to cease play and report the condition as soon as practical to a Club Official
c. When players are on the course and conditions deteriorate such that in the opinion of an authorised club official play should be suspended we will adopt the signals as recommended within the Rules of Golf Appendix I-4 “Suspension of Play due to a Dangerous Situation” which are:
• Discontinue play immediately: One prolonged note of the klaxon
• Discontinue play: Three consecutive notes of klaxon, repeated
• Resume play: Two short notes of klaxon, repeated.
d. All golfers must not commence or continue play when the decision to cease play has been made by the Club.
4. Decision Maker
An authorised Club Official must have information regarding the level of visibility at the 1st tee.
The authorised Club Official’s decision will be determined by the visual clarity the Red/White marker post from the 1st Yellow tee marker. The colours and outline of the Red/White marker post at the back of the 1st green must be fully visible from the 1st Yellow tee marker for the cessation or continuance of play. The authorised Club Official must decide on whether visibility is suitable for the commencement or cessation of play.
Should an authorised Club Official from the prioritised list below not be immediately available an assessment of the level of visibility should be obtained from a reliable club member representative.
The decision of the authorised Club Official is final regarding the suitability of weather conditions for playing golf.
Authorised Club Officials priority list
Golf Course Director, Head Green Keeper or Deputy, Golf Club Manager, Handicap and Competition Secretary, Board Member.
5. The commencement or resumption of play
a. In conditions of swirling fog visibility to the Red/White marker must be consistent over a continuous minimum period of 15 minutes.
b. An authorised Club Official will be the final arbiter of when conditions improve and play can be restarted safely.
c. Play will commence or resume at booked tee-times. Members who have missed their tee-time because of a fog suspension will need to book a different time.
Appendix to the fog policy
Background to the policy
The Bradford Golf Club clubhouse is almost 700 feet above sea level. The golf course itself falls away from this point into a heathland featuring high viewing points towards the city of Bradford some 7 miles distant. The prevailing wind is westerly bringing moist air from the Pennine area.
In autumn and winter months the golf course is often shrouded in mist, fog or what even can be classed as low cloud. However, such weather conditions can also occur throughout all seasons of the year. We need to ensure that we do not expose people to undue risk at times that can be described as hazardous conditions.
Hazardous conditions on a golf course in this context can be considered as when golfers and the public are in danger of being hit by a golf ball in flight in poor visibility weather conditions. The trajectory of a golf ball can be considered hazardous if it be towards the fairway, rough or undergrowth where golfers, the public and animals could be present.
This is highlighted by the two following quotations:
Extract from article by Michael Shaw, Secretary to the National Golf Clubs’ Advisory Association – July 2003
“Golf is a game which is extremely difficult to play in fog. If a golfer hits a shot ‘blind’ into fog and hits a player or member of the public they could well be found negligent and held personally liable for the injuries afflicted. The complainant would be contributory negligent on the same basis. In addition the club could theoretically be sued, but only if it had knowingly allowed play in hazardous conditions, but once again the same rules regarding contributory negligence would be present.
An equally serious problem exists if an employee of the club is injured in such circumstances. He could not be said to be guilty of contributory negligence and could claim against the club for negligently allowing play.
Therefore, when visibility is limited in fog to the point at least where players cannot see where their driven golf ball is likely to end, they should not be permitted on the course.”
Comments on behalf of the Club’s Insurer:
“Suspension of play during poor visibility should be made compulsory, and players not given the option to continue.”
Definition of Mist & Fog
The only difference between mist and fog is visibility. This phenomenon is called fog if the visibility is one kilometre (1,100 yards) or less (in the UK for driving purposes the definition of fog is visibility less than 200 metres. Otherwise it is known as mist. Seen from a distance, mist is bluish, while haze is more brownish.
Fog is distinguished from mist only by its density, as expressed in the resulting decrease in visibility: Fog reduces visibility to less than 1 km, whereas mist reduces visibility to no less than 1 km but less than 2 km.
Mist is a phenomenon of small droplets suspended in air. It can occur as part of natural weather or volcanic activity, and is common in cold air above warmer water.
Fog is a collection of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. While fog is a type of a cloud, the term "fog" is typically distinguished from the more generic term "cloud" in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated locally (such as from a nearby body of water, like a lake or the ocean, or from nearby moist ground or marshes).
Fog forms when the difference between temperature and dew point is generally less than 2.5 °C or 4 °F.
Fog begins to form when water vapour condenses into tiny liquid water droplets in the air. Conversely, water vapour is formed by the evaporation of liquid water or by the sublimation of ice. Since water vapour is colourless, it is actually the small liquid water droplets that are condensed from it that make water suspended in the atmosphere visible in the form of fog or any other type of cloud.
Fog formation requires all of the elements that normal cloud formation requires, the most important being condensation nuclei, in the form of dust, aerosols, pollutants, etc., for the water to condense upon. When there are exceptional amounts of condensation nuclei present, especially hygroscopic particles such as salt, then the water vapour may condense below 100% relative humidity.
Fog can form suddenly, and can dissipate just as rapidly, depending what side of the dew point the temperature is on. This phenomenon is known as flash fog.
Fog occasionally produces precipitation in the form of drizzle or very light snow. Drizzle occurs when the humidity of fog attains 100% and the minute cloud droplets begin to coalesce into larger droplets. This can occur when the fog layer is lifted and cooled sufficiently, or when it is forcibly compressed from above. Drizzle becomes freezing drizzle when the temperature at the surface drops below the freezing point.
The thickness of fog is largely determined by the altitude of the inversion boundary, which in coastal or oceanic locales is also the top of the marine layer, above which the air mass is warmer and drier. The inversion boundary varies its altitude primarily in response to the weight of the air above it which is measured in terms of atmospheric pressure. The marine layer and any fogbank it may contain will be "squashed" when the pressure is high, and conversely, may expand upwards when the pressure above it is lowering.
Fog as a visibility hazard Dense Tule fog. Visibility in this photo is less than 500 feet (150 metres).
Typical 1st tee view at TBGC
The Bradford Golf Club on a foggy day.
Light fog reducing visibility on a suburban street.
The cyclist is very hazy at about 200m (219 yards). The limit of visibility is about 400m (437 yards), which is before the end of the street. This would be a similar effect if the cyclist was a golfer on a fairway 219 yards from the tee.
Types of Fog
Fog can form in a number of ways, depending on how the cooling that caused the condensation occurred:
Radiation fog is formed by the cooling of land after sunset by thermal radiation in calm conditions with clear sky. The cool ground produces condensation in the nearby air by heat conduction. In perfect calm the fog layer can be less than a meter deep but turbulence can promote a thicker layer. Radiation fogs occur at night, and usually do not last long after sunrise. Radiation fog is common in autumn and early winter.
Ground fog is fog that obscures less than 60% of the sky and does not extend to the base of any overhead clouds. However, the term is sometimes used to refer to radiation fog.
Upslope fog or hill fog forms when winds blow air up a slope (called orographic lift), adiabatically cooling it as it rises, and causing the moisture in it to condense. This often causes freezing fog on mountaintops, where the cloud ceiling would not otherwise be low enough.
Valley fog forms in mountain valleys, often during winter. It is the result of a temperature inversion caused by heavier cold air settling into a valley, with warmer air passing over the mountains above. It is essentially radiation fog confined by local topography.
Freezing fog occurs when liquid fog droplets freeze to surfaces, forming white soft or hard rime. This is very common on mountain tops which are exposed to low clouds. It is equivalent to freezing rain, and essentially the same as the ice that forms inside a freezer which is not of the "frostless" or "frost-free" type. The term "freezing fog" may also refer to fog where water vapour is super-cooled filling the air with small ice crystals similar to very light snow.
Typical Golf Club Driving Distances
The distance that a golf ball can be hit by each club in the bag depends on ability, physical build and age. These are the main factors although there are others which include style, golf mechanics and training.
Typically a Driver is considered as we are looking at the commencement of play from the tee and as it is possible that the 1st can be driven, only the marker behind the green is considered appropriate for decision making purposes.