Tournaments Rules

MAVGA Handicap Policy & Tournament Rules [pdf]

2023 Golf Rule Changes

Key changes include:
  • Modifications for Players with Disabilities: The modifications to the Rules for players with disabilities have been made part of the Rules and are in effect for all players who are classified in the categories covered in Rule 25.
  • Handicap Usage in Stroke Play: With the continued growth of score-posting technology following the adoption of the World Handicap System™, players are no longer penalized for failing to put their handicap on their scorecard in stroke play. The committee will be responsible for ensuring the accuracy of each player’s handicap.

  • Club Damaged During Round: The Rule has been amended to allow a player to replace a club that is damaged during a round, provided the player did not damage it through abuse.

  • Ball Moved by Natural Forces: A new exception provides that a ball at rest must be replaced if it moves to another area of the course or comes to rest out of bounds after being dropped, placed or replaced.

  • Back-on-the-Line Relief Procedure: The back-on-the-line relief procedure, often used for penalty area and unplayable ball relief, has been simplified so that the player now drops their ball on the line, and the ball must come to rest within one club-length of where it is dropped.

MAVGA Golf Rules for Tournaments and Weekend Outings

  1. MAVGA follows USGA golf rules. Members and guests can always apply USGA rules to keep scores
  2. Local (club) rules supersede USGA rules.
  3. For practicality and accommodation to higher handicap players, MAVGA applies the following exceptions:
    • Maximum on any hole is par-par + 2
    • Maximum strokes (par-par+2) is counted on failure to legitimately complete a hole
  4. Winter or wet condition rule (to be announced at the beginning of an event):
    • Move (place) ball in the bunker, except when plugged.
    • Free relief from a plugged ball in the general area.
    • Lift clean and place the ball in the fairway.

Common Rules Explanation

  1. A player cannot improve the condition (or lie) of the ball while it is in play
    • A player cannot break, bend, or twist living entities or depress on grounds around the ball.
    • Loose impediments around the ball can be removed, without moving the ball.
  2. In the process of looking for the ball or taking a practice stroke on the putting green, the ball was accidentally moved, the ball must be replaced to its original position without any penalty.
  3. A player does not have options to choose which ball to play – If the original ball is located, any provisional ball hit is no longer in play.
  4. If the ball is lost or out of bound (OB):
    • A player may drop the ball in the area between the point of entry to 2 club lengths onto the fairway, not nearer to the hole and incur a 2 strokes penalty.
    • the provisional ball may be played from original ball location unless it landed in a hazard.
  5. Lost ball – Player is allowed 3 minutes to search for his lost ball starting from when he begins the search. Past 3 minutes, the ball is deemed lost.
  6. Unplayable ball – The player may deem his ball unplayable at any place on the course, except when the ball is in the Water Hazard with 1 stroke penalty and apply one of the following options:
    • Go back to the original spot.
    • Drop 2 club lengths not nearer to the hole.
    • Drop “straight” back as far as desired directly between the flag and the ball.
  7. Red and Yellow Hazard:
    • The player with the ball in a red hazard area (lateral hazard) gets an additional option compared to Yellow Hazard: Player can drop ball within 2 club lengths at of POINT OF ENTRY not nearer to the hole and incur a 1 stroke penalty.
    • Yellow stake water hazard. See USGA rule or this attached video
  8. Ball on the green:
    • A Player can fix divots, spikes marks and other damages on the green – but patting down your line of putt on the green is not allowed.
    • Mark your ball to replace it exactly where it was.
    • Mark your ball, then move your mark away from another player’s line of putt.
    • Cannot test the condition of the green prior to completing the hole.
  9. A player must complete the hole with the same ball he started with – a player cannot hit a ball to the green and putt with a different ball; unless the player is taking a relief then a new ball may be played.
  10. Play the wrong ball – Player is allowed to lift or move the ball for identification prior to playing. Penalty for playing the wrong ball is 2 strokes and he must drop the ball closest to where the wrong ball was played to complete the hole.
  11. Man Made Object – If the ball is not in the hazard and is interfered by yardage marker, cart path, sprinkler head, electrical box or any man-made object, a ball can be dropped within 1 club lengths not nearer to the hole with no penalty.
  12. Ball at Rest Moved by another Ball – There is no penalty to either player as long as this the procedure is followed: The person whose shot struck the ball at rest plays his ball as it lies; the person whose ball was moved returns the ball to its original position.

Golf Etiquettes

  1. Gimme Putt – standard putter length from putter head to where the grip begins.
  2. Mark your ball – Clearly mark your ball so others can easily identify and verify your ball.
  3. Ask your playing partner to verify your actions under unusual circumstances. Examples:
    • When you need to pick up your ball to identify it.
    • When you found your ball in the woods, have your partner confirm the identity of your ball.
    • When you take a legitimate, free drop from man-made obstruction.
  4. Play Ready Golf – do not fall 1 hole behind the group in front
  5. Do not stand directly or in front of a player while he is putting or hitting a ball.