Advance Information for Players

2016 MSGA Men's Championships

The Committee hopes that the following review, which is adapted in part from the USGA’s “Rules Information for Competitors,” is helpful and we wish all players success in the 2016 Men’s Championships.

Practice Rounds: The practice round policy for any event is determined by the host club. During any practice round, the player should not play additional practice shots except on the putting green if such practice does not delay play.

Rejection of Entries: Entries may be refused by the Maryland State Golf Association or the host club at any time, including during the Championship.  The reason for rejection may include unbecoming conduct, such as violation of host club policies, or the failure to comply with the requirements of the handicap system. 

Rules of Golf: Each MSGA Championship is governed by the USGA Rules of Golf, “Local Rules and Conditions of Competition for MSGA Championships,” and “General Conditions and Regulations for MSGA Men’s Events,” both of which are displayed on the MSGA web site ( The Entry Application, Notice to Players and Pace of Play Policy for the event also govern play.

Walking Required: At the Open Championship as well as the Amateur Championship, players shall walk at all times durng a stipulated round. During qualifiers carts will be permitted for players and caddies. 

"One-Ball Rule" (No) and List of Conforming Golf Balls Condition (Yes): The so-called “One Ball Rule” is NOT in effect at MSGA Championships. However, the USGA List of Conforming Golf Balls condition is in effect at all championships.

Rulings - Stroke Play: When in doubt about a rules situation, the competitor should seek a Rules Committee member. Also, Rule 3-3 authorizes play of a second ball when doubtful of one’s rights or procedure. After the situation which caused the doubt has arisen and before taking any further action, the player must announce to his marker or a fellow-competitor the player’s decision to play two balls and the ball with which he will score if the Rules permit. On completing the round, the competitor must report the facts to the Committee before returning his scorecard even if he scored the same with both balls. The penalty for failing to do so is disqualification.

Rulings - Match Play: Since in match play a second ball is not permitted, if a rules dispute or doubt as to procedure occurs and a referee or Committee member is not present within a reasonable time, the player and opponent should attempt to determine how best to proceed. If the players cannot agree on a course of action, then the player whose ball is involved must proceed as he thinks best. If the opponent disagrees with the action taken, he should lodge a claim under Rule 2-5. The Committee may subsequently make a decision under Rule 34-3. (See Decision 18-1/4.)

Maximum of Fourteen Clubs/Identifying Golf Ball (Rules 4-4 and 12-2): Immediately prior to starting play, the player should (1) check the number of clubs in his bag to be certain the number does not exceed fourteen and (2) put an identifying mark on his golf ball.

Ball Unfit for Play (Rule 5-3): A ball is unfit for play if it is visibly cut, cracked or out of shape. It is not unfit for play simply because mud or other materials adhere to the ball, its surface is scratched or scraped, or its paint is damaged or discolored. Furthermore, in order for a player to proceed under this rule, the ball must have become unfit for play during the play of the hole being played. After marking the position of the ball, the player may lift the ball to determine its fitness but before doing so, he must announce his intention to a fellow-competitor or marker (in stroke play) or opponent (in match play), and give that person an opportunity to examine the ball and observe the lifting and replacement.

Scoring in Stroke Play (Rule 6-6): Generally each competitor serves as a marker for a fellow-competitor. After each hole, the marker should check the score with the competitor. On completion of the round, all cards are to be brought immediately to the scoring location as determined by the Committee. Each marker must sign the card of the competitor for whom he is scoring and give it to the competitor. The competitor should carefully check his score hole by hole and settle any doubtful points with the Committee. If during the round, more than one marker records the scores, each must sign for the part for which he has scored. The competitor is solely responsible for returning his correct score for each hole, while the Committee is responsible for the addition of scores. The competitor must ensure that the marker(s) has signed the card, countersign it and return it to the Committee promptly. The scorecard is considered returned when the player has left the scoring area. (Consult Decision 6-6c/1.)

Pace of Play (Rule 6-7): The player shall play without undue delay and in accordance with any pace of play guidelines which may be laid down by the Committee. Generally each group should stay within one starting time interval of the group ahead. A player should be prepared to play – not merely prepared to start preparing – when it is his turn to play. See 2016 Pace of Play Policy on this website under Tournaments drop down menu for details.

Advice (Rule 8-1): During a stipulated round, a player must not give advice to anyone in the competition except his partner in four-ball play and must not ask for advice from anyone other than his partner or either of their caddies in four-ball play.

Ball in Hazard (Rule 13-4): Except as provided in the Rules, before making a stroke at a ball which lies in a hazard, or which, having been lifted from a hazard, may be dropped or placed in the hazard, the player must not (a) test the condition of the hazard or any similar hazard; (b) touch the ground in the hazard or the water in the water hazard with his hand or a club; or (c) touch or move a loose impediment which lies in or touches the hazard. For exceptions to these prohibitions, see Rule 13-4.

Wrong Ball (Rules 15-2 and 15-3): If a competitor plays a stroke with a wrong ball, he incurs a penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play. In stroke play, the competitor must correct his mistake before he plays a stroke from the next teeing ground or, in the case of the last hole of the round, fails to declare his intention to correct his mistake before leaving the putting green. Otherwise, he is disqualified.

Repair of Putting Green Damage (Rule 16-2): Whether or not the ball lies on the putting green, the player may repair old hole plugs and ball marks on the putting green. Any other damage to the putting green must not be repaired if such repair might assist the player in his subsequent play of the hole.

Ball Overhanging Hole (Rule 16-2): When any part of the ball overhangs the lip of the hole, the player is allowed enough time to reach the hole without unreasonable delay and an additional 10 seconds to determine whether the ball is at rest. If by then the ball has not fallen into the hole, it is deemed to be at rest. If the ball subsequently falls into the hole, the competitor is deemed to have holed out with his last stroke, and he shall add a penalty stroke to his score for the hole.

Flagstick (Rule 17-3): A player’s ball must not strike (a) the flagstick when it is attended or held up, (b) the person attending or holding up the flagstick, or (3) the flagstick in the hole, unattended, when the stroke has been made on the putting green. (There is no penalty on the player when the flagstick is attended, removed or held up without the player’s authority.)

Ball Moved by Another Ball (Rules 18-5 and 19-5): If a ball in play and at rest is moved by another ball in motion after a stroke, the moved ball must be replaced and the ball which was deflected or stopped must be played as it lies.

Lifting a Ball (Rule 20-1): A ball to be lifted under the Rules may be lifted only by the player, his partner or a person authorized by the player. If a ball to be lifted under a Rule is required to be replaced, the position of the ball must be marked before the ball is lifted. As a general guideline, unless a rule expressly permits the action, the player must not touch or move his ball.

Dropping a Ball (Rule 20-2a): In dropping a ball under the Rules, a player must stand erect, hold the ball at shoulder height and at arm’s length and drop it. If a player drops a ball in any other manner, but has not played it, the error may be corrected without penalty as provided in Rule 20-6. For the cases in which a dropped ball must be re-dropped or placed and the procedures involved, see Rules 20-2a & 2c.

Cleaning a Ball (Rule 21): A ball lifted under the Rules may be cleaned in some cases but not in others – see Rule 21 and Decisions 25/21 and 25-2/7.

Ball Interfering with or Assisting Play (Rule 22): Any player may lift his ball if he considers that it might assist the play of any other player or have any other ball lifted if he considers that it might interfere with his play or assist the play of any other player. In stroke play, a player required to lift his ball may play first rather than lift.

Water Hazards and Lateral Water Hazards (Rule 26-1): For the differences in relief for a water hazard (defined by yellow lines or stakes) and a lateral water hazard (defined by red lines or stakes), see Rule 26-1. If the ball lies in a water hazard, the Rules permit relief for interference by a movable obstruction but do not permit relief for interference by an immovable obstruction.

Provisional Ball (Rule 27-2): Play of a provisional ball is permitted only if the original ball may be lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds. The competitor must announce in advance that he intends to play a provisional ball and must play the ball before he goes forward to search for the original ball. If he fails to do so and plays another ball, that ball becomes the ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance. If the original ball is lost or out of bounds or if the player plays a stroke with the provisional ball at a point where the original ball is likely to be or at a point nearer the hole than that place, then the provisional ball becomes the ball in play. If the original ball is in a water hazard or is deemed unplayable, then the provisional ball must be abandoned and the player must proceed under the applicable rule.

Unplayable Ball (Rule 28): The player should be aware of the three options available under this rule.

Dropping Zones - In MSGA events, the use of a permitted Dropping Zone in connection with immovable obstructions, abnormal ground conditions, wrong putting green, water hazards or an unplayable ball is always optional and the player may utilize any other procedure available under the Rules. Please review the Notice to Competitors.

Stan Klinefelter, President
Jan Miller, Competition Chairman
William Smith, Executive Director
Kelly Newland, Director of Rules & Competitions

Like Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter

MSGA partners with GEICO to bring our members discounts on insurance:  GEICO

MSGA is on Flickr! CLICK HERE to follow us and view photos from past events!

Are you looking to publish a charity event, or find an event in your area?  Check out our Charity Corner




Maryland State Golf Association - 1777 Reisterstown Rd., Suite 145 - Baltimore, MD 21208 - P.(410) 653-5300

Designed and Hosted by
Cybergolf - Contact Us - Site Map