Club Rules and Policies
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Unless explicitly published otherwise, all club tournament play must follow the current golf standards and rules published by the USGA: https://rules.usga.org/product/rules-101/
Measuring Devices (updated 3/8/22): You may use devices (commonly known as range finders) that inform you of the distance you are from the hole or from other objects on the golf course. These devices may not provide information regarding elevation changes (slope), directional information (such as using a device to get a recommended line of play), weather conditions including wind, or contour of the green and may not advise on club selection. Such features must be deactivated during club events. Using these prohibited features will result in a penalty of 2 strokes (medal play) or loss of hole (match play) for each hole the device was inappropriately used in such a manner. See USGA 4.3a.
Tournament Scorecards (updated 2/1/22): All tournament golf scores are recorded on Golf Genius. To participate in a tournament round, you or someone in your foursome must have the Golf Genius app on their mobile device. Scores must be entered during the tournament via the Golf Genius mobile app and are your official scores. At the beginning of each round a person is chosen by the group to enter scores after each hole. Another member of the group should keep score on a paper scorecard. After round completion, all members of the group should verify hole-by-hole scores to ensure that their score in Golf Genius is correct. If you find errors you may make electronic corrections but be aware that Golf Genius software tracks the time of each update. After a reasonable amount of time (about 15 minutes) to make corrections, scores will be considered final. Any score changes or additions or technical issues encountered after that time must be reported to the Tournament Coordinator. Any attempt to add or change scores after that time may result in tournament disqualification (this exact rule was used when we used printed scorecards). Players with incomplete scorecards will be disqualified. The timestamp on the first Golf Genius results email is your official finish time and will be used to track your group’s pace of play.
Do Not Post Your Tournament Scores: Tournament scores are posted by Golf Genius software within 1-2 days after event completion.
Maintain Pace of Play: It is extremely important in each tournament. Failure to do so will result in penalties outlined in our Club’s Pace-of-Play Policy.
Board Tournaments. Board tournaments differ from regular tournaments as they result in higher awards and are posted as competition rounds. The Club Championship, Senior Championship, SCGA event qualifiers and the Turkey Shoot are board tournaments.
Balls Lost Out of Bounds: USGA rule E-5 applies. You have a maximum of 3 minutes to search for a lost ball. If you are unable to locate it, use this local rule. Estimate the distance from the hole you believe your ball was lost or went out of bounds. You may then drop your ball equal distance to the hole to the fairway edge, then drop within two club lengths into the fairway and add two strokes. For balls out of bounds, use the point where the ball last crossed the course boundary. For example, if your drive is lost, locate where you believe the ball to be, then drop equal distance from the pin on the fairway. now hitting your 4th shot. For details:
- Please note that once a provisional ball is played this rule does not apply.
- For a one-minute video illustrating this rule, go to this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY2QNyFaqNs
- NOTE: When the rough is high at Torrey Pines GC, TPMGC used to have a special rule allowing players to drop the ball within a club length of where they believed their ball was lost and add one stroke. This option is no longer available.
- On some occasions the golf course publicizes certain local rules, i.e., lift clean and place. You may only do that if so stipulated by the tournament committee before play commences.
Preferred Lies When Playing from a Bunker:
- When warranted by special conditions such as no rakes provided in bunkers, players may improve their lie in a bunker.
- Players may place their ball elsewhere in a bunker without penalty within one club length of where the ball came to rest.
- Procedure under local rule: Declare to playing partners that you are using the preferred lie option. Measure one club length no closer to the hole. Place the ball in a spot in the bunker of your choosing. You may not clean your ball. There is no penalty. In consideration of other players please smooth out, with your foot or club, the area from where you played and walked in the bunker.
- COVID Bunker Rules: As we transition from COVID to some normalcy, there will be some adjustments to our golf rules. When we play a course with rakes in the bunkers, play the ball as it lies. If there are no rakes in the bunkers then you may pick up and place your ball in the bunker within one club length no closer to the hole without cleaning the ball.
It is important that each golfer read all emails from the Tournament Coordinators as they can contain important information about the tournament you are about to play in including items such as lift, clean and place (or lack thereof).
If you receive a tournament email, that means you signed up for the tournament. If you did not intend to sign up or if someone else signed you, up don’t ignore these emails. Cancel your entry.
Pace of Play
Golf Genius allows us to track the pace of play for each foursome. We will no longer be using time clocks. Once enough data is captured, the club will introduce a new pace of play policy. Sometimes you do not have control over how long it takes to complete your round if the course is playing slow. You can control the gap between you and the group ahead of you. Some things you can do to minimize the gap include continuous putting and proceeding to the next tee while your playing partners finishing putting. That metric will be the key data point used to identify pace of play violators. Always keep up with the group in front of you!
Play the Ball as it Lies: Always play the ball as it lies unless otherwise instructed by the Tournament Chair.
Completing the Hole: In stroke play tournaments, a hole is not completed until your ball is in the hole. Failure to do so will result in DQ if you do not hole out prior to teeing off on the next hole. If you pick up and realize the error prior to teeing off on the next hole, place your ball where it was and once your ball is holed out, add two strokes to your score. In match play, unless your ball is conceded, penalty is loss of hole.
In better ball tournaments, in order to speed up play, you may pick up your ball without completing the hole. Record a score that you estimate to the most likely score on that hole if you had putted out. If neither partner holes out the team is DQ’d.
Free drops: You are entitled to a free drop only if the area is officially marked as ground under repair or if the tournament chair has notified players of certain areas qualifying for free drops.
NOTE: The dirt triangle surrounded by Holes 3, 4 and 5 on Torrey North is NOT a free drop area. Play the ball as it lies always. If a drop is necessary, add one stroke to your score. The dirt area left of Torrey North #2 is considered part of the canyon area.
Torrey Pines North #12: If your tee shot from the green or black tees does not carry the canyon, you may retee or play from the drop area. The drop area is defined as the area between the white tee markers.
Torrey Pines South #9: Professional tournaments use a gravel area along the far-left side of the fairway for their trailers, equipment, etc. It is in play, but you are allowed a free drop if your ball comes to rest on the gravel. Note: often it is difficult to tell overgrown grassy area from the gravel area. If you cannot see the gravel you may “test” your lie by touching the suspect area. Also, once the gravel area begins it extends to the perimeter fence.
Sprinkler Heads (updated 8/2/21): You may take a free drop if your ball is on a sprinkler head or if a sprinkler head interferes with your stance. You are not entitled to relief from a sprinkler head that is on the line of chip or putt from off the green unless the following conditions exist:
YOU ARE ENTITLED TO RELIEF IF: the sprinkler head is within 2 club lengths of the green, your ball is within 2 club lengths of the sprinkler head, and – most importantly – the sprinkler head intervenes in your intended line of play. If these conditions are met, you may drop at the nearest point of relief where the sprinkler head is not interfering with your line of play.
Canyon Areas: Many parts of the golf courses we play have natural unkept areas, such as canyons, and contain chaparral or wild trees. The edge between the maintained golf course and the unmaintained natural areas is often unmarked. If unmarked, consider the edge between maintained and unmaintained as the penalty area line. Balls entering the penalty area are then played per USGA rule 17.
NOTE: the unmaintained area on the hillside to the right of Torrey North #16 is not considered a Canyon Area. Balls entering this area that are not found are considered lost and are then played per Local Rule a).
Play from the Proper Tees: The tee color you are assigned to always appears on your scorecard. Be sure to play from the correct tee. If you tee off from the wrong tee and do not tee off again from the correct tee before completing the hole, you are DQ’d. If you correct the mistake before completing the hole, you must take a general penalty of 2 strokes. See USGA Rule 6. On an unfamiliar course, pay special attention to the tees
your are supposed to play. For example, check on the course scorecard to confirm
where your tee falls in the sequence.
Diagrams of Putting Greens: publications or apps that inform golfers of the slope of greens are allowed during club events if they comply to USGA 4.3 for scale limits. Green reading books sold in the golf course pro shop normally comply. Those found on the web may not.
Penalty Areas are one of the five defined areas of the course and can be marked as either red or yellow. When your ball lies in a penalty area, you can play it as it lies or take relief outside the penalty area for one penalty stroke. For either red or yellow penalty areas, you can play from where your last stroke was made (stroke and distance) or take back-on-the-line relief by going back as far as you’d like on the line between the hole and where your ball last crossed the edge of the penalty area. In a red penalty area, you have one additional relief option, which is to take lateral relief within two club-lengths of where your ball crossed into the penalty area. These options are specified in detail by Rule 17 of the USGA Rules of Golf: https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rule-17.html.
Torrey South #18: the pond fronting the green is a Yellow penalty area. If your approach shot clears the pond but rolls back in, you must go back to the other side of the pond and play a second ball using the two options described above in Penalty Areas. You may not drop the ball greenside.
Unsure About Golf Rule: if you are unsure about a rule during a round of golf, play two balls on that particular hole. Play one without taking relief. Take what you believe to be proper relief with the second ball. Hole out both balls and then contact the tournament chair for a ruling.