Tournament Rules

General Guidelines
1) Do not post your own score. The tournament committee posts each player’s score after each tournament.
2) Maintaining a proper pace of play is important in each tournament. Failure to do so will result in penalties outlined in the Club’s Pace of Play Policy.
3) 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. On the website schedule these are designated with an “MT.”

Local rule: If your ball is lost or 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:

Local rule: Scorecards and Golf Genius: The scores entered on Golf Genius are official once you leave the golf course.  Do not leave the course until each member of the foursome has confirmed their Golf Genius score is accurate.

  • Preprinted scorecards are often provided by the Club and should be used for individual recording. Enter scores for each hole as required for the game. Retain the scorecard for one-week post tournament should the tournament committee require clarification.
  • All players/teams/groups must also enter scores electronically in the Golf Genius Mobile App after completion of each hole. Usually, one person in the group is designated for this task. The score in Golf Genius is your official score. Do not leave the post round staging area until you, the player, are in agreement with your score in Golf Genius.

Local rule: 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.

Other Rules

Important News For Tournament Players

Your board works hard to put on tournaments and to ensure they are run fairly.  In addition to being familiar with USGA rules of golf, it is important for you to understand rules and processes specific to our club.


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.

Scorekeeping on Golf Genius (GG)

Golf Genius replaces scorecards as the official record of your score.  When we used scorecards, once you signed it and left the golf course, you could not change it.  Your score was final.  The same is true with GG.  After completing your round, all members of the foursome should immediately verify their scores on each hole and total scores are correct.  The time you enter your final scores is your official finish time and is used to track pace of play. If you find errors in your Golf Genius scores after initially entering them, you may take time to correct the scores.  This should take no more than 15 minutes. Once you have left the golf course, your score cannot be changed.  If you failed to enter your score for one or more holes, you will be DQ’d.  If you run into any technical problems with entering your scores, you must immediately contact the Tournament Coordinator or another Board Member and explain the problem.

Tournament E-mails

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 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.  If your tee shot from the white tees does not carry the canyon, you may drop or retee your ball 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: 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.

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.

Measuring Devices: You may use devices that inform you of the distance you are from the hole or other objects on the golf course.  These devices may not adjust the distance for elevation changes (slope), weather conditions, green reading, club selection, etc.  Those 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 used in such a manner. See USGA 4.3A.

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: when a ball enters a penalty area, there are two options for relief.  You may play another ball from the original spot of the previous shot.  Or you may take back-on-the-line relief on a line starting at the hole and crossing the point where your ball entered the penalty area. There is no limit as to how far back you may drop the ball.

Torrey South #18: the pond fronting the green is a 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.