Updated 9 May 2023
The emphasis of our VGC events is Fun, Fun and more Fun.
However, we need some guidelines to make the events fair.
Competitions are generally played to the USGA Rules of Golf with a few "Local Rules" added to maintain a sensible pace of play.
It is important that we all play by the same rules. Our handicap system utilizes the GHIN Handicap System from the USGA. For members without a GHIN Handicap, VGC will utilize the international Callaway Scoring System. All members will have a specific handicap index which is converted to a course handicap for the course and tees that each golfer is playing. We attempt to run our tournaments so that everyone plays on an equal playing field.
View Rules Below
Pace of Play
The goal for event participants is to play "ready golf" to keep the pace of play moving. If you cannot see the group in front of you, you need to pick up the pace. If a golfer is ready and not interfering with others in your group, the golfer should go ahead and hit their shot. If one golf cart is hunting for a ball, the other cart should play their shots before helping to look.
Golfers should park their golf cart near the back of the green before stopping at the green to “clear" the green faster. Parking in front of the greens blocks play. Even if you have a Disabled Golfer status, park your golf cart on the side of the green, not in front!
To encourage speed of play: Players will be provided with instructions regarding the game being played. If it is a team event, and not all scores count, you may be able to pick up if you are having a bad hole. Some tips for making the game fun in less than 5 hours:
Do not spend long minutes looking for lost golf balls- the USGA allows only 3 minutes. Often VGC plays courses with thick rough or tight out-of-bounds markers. Just do a quick "walk-about" to look for your ball and then take the appropriate penalties.
Enter the scores on the scorecard at the next tee box. By "clearing" the green quickly, the next group can approach. On the next tee box, the scores can be entered while others are driving.
Plan your shot before you get to your ball. Each trip back-and-forth to your golf cart is time on the clock. Anticipate the distance, anticipate your club for that distance, confirm your distance with your range finder, get your club and swing away!
All balls must be played as you find them or a penalty drop taken under the rules of golf.
The only exceptions to this are under VGC "local rules" as follows:
If a ball rests on a tree or bush root or other permanent obstruction such that leaving the ball in that position presents a safety obstacle to the golf swing, the ball may be moved (without penalty) no more than 2 club lengths from the root or other obstruction but no closer to the hole.
A ball in a divot on the fairway may be lifted, cleaned and placed within 1 club length no closer to the hole.
A ball in a footprint within a sand trap may be moved to a spot out of the footprint (no closer to the hole) then the golfer should hit the shot and rake the area.
Remember that a drop is from knee height only.
To help maintain pace of play, putts can be conceded during VGC events if the distance to the hole is less than the distance of the player's foot.
If you are having a bad hole, the maximum score for any hole is "Double Par" which means:
On a Par 5, 10 is the maximum score
On a Par 4, 8 is the maximum score
On a Par 3, 6 is the maximum score
If you pick up your ball on a hole, just put the maximum score on the scorecard. A player will not be disqualified or excluded from the game if they pick up.
Lost Ball or Ball Hit Out-of-Bounds
In both instances, there are stroke and distance penalties involved. If you think you have hit the ball out of bounds or into an area where you might not find it, announce that you are hitting a provisional ball, and then hit a second ball from the same location.
The provisional ball can only be played if you cannot find your original ball or if you find it out of bounds. Add a 1-stroke penalty to your score for the hole and play the provisional ball.
However, if you find your original ball in-bounds, there is no penalty; you just play the hole out with that ball.
The USGA has introduced a "local rule" to maintain pace of play as follows:
If a ball is lost or out-of-bounds and no provisional has been played, drop a ball 1 club length into the fairway (yes, on the fairway) nearest to the point of loss or where the ball last crossed the out-of-bounds line and no nearer the hole and add two penalty shots to your score for the hole. This is the "best guess" of your fellow players. Don't waste time trying to figure out exactly where you lost your ball.