The emphasis of our 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
The ball must be played as it lies
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:
A ball in a divot on the fairway may be lifted, cleaned and placed within 1 club length no nearer the hole.
A ball in a footprint within a sand trap may be lifted, area raked and ball dropped at the same spot.
Remember that a drop is from knee height only.
There are no gimmies (not even hovering over the edge of the hole). Balls must be holed out. If you are thinking about holing a missed putt by swiping at it, think again, because if that swipe misses, it costs you and your team a stroke.
If you are having a bad hole, the maximum score for any hole is "Double Par." That means that on a Par 5, 10 is the maximum score; on a Par 4, the maximum score is 8; on a Par 3, the maximum score is 6. If you pick up, just put the maximum score on the scorecard. You will not be disqualified if you pick up!!!
Speed of Play: Know the game that is 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: (1) 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 get a quick "walk-about" and then take the appropriate penalties. (2) Put 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. (3) 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!
Pace of play is the single most aggravating part of the game! Angry golf makes for the most unhappy game. Please be conscious of how your play affects others.
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. Take 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.
Note: By hitting a provisional ball when you were unsure where your first ball landed, you save time. It is never approved procedure to just drop another ball in the vicinity of the lost or out of bounds ball. The provisional shot must be taken where the previous shot was made (i.e tee box for tee shots- called "Stroke and Distance," meaning that you lose the distance of the shot and you get a 1 stroke penalty). On tee shots, it is often better to take a provisional ball because you may get a better lie. On the other hand, if you do not know your ball is lost or out-of-bounds, please use the USGA "local rule."
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 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. Endeavor to not waste time trying to figure out exactly where you lost your ball.
Pace of Play
It is important for us to remember to play “ready golf” and keep the pace of play going. If you cannot see the group in front of you, you need to pick up the pace. It does not matter who is farthest from the hole, either on the fairway or on the green. If you are ready and not interfering with others in your group – go ahead and hit your shot. If one cart is hunting for a ball, the other cart should play their shots before helping to look. Park your golf cart near the back of the green before you stop at the green. This will help your team "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!