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Washington Golf Pass

Championship Policies

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For any clarification on the Championship Policies below, please contact the WSGA Championship Department at (206) 526-8605 ext. 2.



Reduction of Course Handicap

Reduction of Course Handicap PDF

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The WSGA Championship Committee reserves the right to adjust the course handicap of any competitor in the WSGA Men's or Senior Men's Best-Ball Championship. A reduction of a competitor's course handicap will be based on the following criteria:

High finishers in the NET portion of the above named WSGA Championships during the past two-year period will be awarded points accordingly as per the table below. Points may also be given to include a team that collects a gross division prize as the points are not limited to the 5 highest net finishers, but the 5 best net scores in the field.

For the 2018 WSGA Men's Best-Ball Championship, reductions will be based on points accumulated from the 2016 and 2017 WSGA Men's Best-Ball Championships.

For the 2018 WSGA Senior Men's Best-Ball Championship, reductions will be based on points accumulated from the 2016 and 2017 WSGA Senior Men's Best-Ball Championships.

Any contestant, who accumulates 7 points over the two-year period, will have their course handicap reduced by 2 strokes for use during the championship. Any contestant who accumulates more than 7 points during the two-year period, will have their course handicap reduced an additional 1 stroke for each additional two points accumulated.

In the case of a tie for one of the first 5 places, each of the team members would earn the full number of points for that placing. For example: Two teams tie for 2nd place. Each team member would earn 4 points under this system. You would not give out 3rd place points (or add 2nd & 3rd place points together and divide by 2) under this scenario. The next finisher in line after the two teams that tied would earn 2 points for the 4th place. No fractions of points are awarded.


Total Players in the Field


Up to 20




First Place





Second Place





Third Place





Fourth Place





Fifth Place







Dress Code

Dress Code PDF

Download the Dress Code (PDF, 244KB)

The WSGA expects all contestants and their caddies to wear suitable attire on the host club property throughout the duration of the championship, including practice rounds. Suitable attire does not include cutoffs, short shorts, tank tops, halters, jeans or denim of any kind or color, tee shirts, sweat pants, bare midriff, spandex or unkempt clothing of any kind. Hats and visors must not be worn in the clubhouse. Shoes and socks must be worn at all times. Sandals of any kind are not allowed on the golf course at any time (including practice areas), even sandals with soft spikes.

Male contestants: must wear neat and clean slacks, bermuda or walking shorts. Shorts must be of an appropriate length and meet the policy of the host club. Golf shirts with collars or golf mocks are mandatory.

Female contestants: must wear tailored blouses or golf shirts (if a shirt is sleeveless, it must have a collar). Contestants must wear slacks, golf skirts or shorts. Skirts and shorts must be of an appropriate length and meet the policy of the host club.

If additional measures are required by the host club, they will be communicated to all contestants prior to the championship and must be adhered to. Gallery must adhere to the host club dress code policy. Failure to adhere to the dress code may result in disqualification and removal from the course.

Infractions of the dress code will be dealt with by the PNGA Staff. If not immediately corrected, such infractions may result in disqualification. The dress code for each championship is listed on the website, entry form, player confirmation, and the championship program players receive at registration.



Hard Card (Supplemental Rules)


Hard Card PDF

Washington State Golf Association tournament play is governed by the Rules of Golf effective January 1, 2016 and the 2016-2017 Decisions on the Rules of Golf and, where applicable, the following Local Rules and Conditions, along with additional Local Rules, may be supplied. Complete text of Rules and Appendix I may be found in the current edition of the Rules of Golf...

Download Full Hard Card (Local Rules and Conditions) (PDF, 110KB)



WSGA Pace of Play Policy

Pace of Play PDF

Download the WSGA Pace of Play Policy (PDF, 343k)


STROKE PLAY - Revised 2018

Rule 6-7. Undue Delay; Slow Play states: "The player must play without undue delay and in accordance with any pace of play guidelines that the Committee may establish. Between completion of a hole and playing from the next teeing ground, the player must not unduly delay play."

When a group is out of position at any check-point, the players in the group are subject to penalty under these guidelines.

Check-points will be on completion (flagstick in the hole) of either the 4th, 9th, 13th and 18th holes, or the 5th, 9th, 14th and 18th holes. Exact checkpoint locations will be determined prior to the start of each event. Players will be notified of checkpoint locations on the starting tee.

Allotted Time: Flagstick in the Hole
Maximum times to play will be determined for each day of the championship by the on-site Championship Committee. Maximum times to complete each hole will be printed on each competitor's scorecard. Competitors will be advised, prior to starting, of that day's maximum time to complete the round. It is the group's responsibility to finish each check-point within the times outlined on the scorecard or within position of the group directly in front of them. When a group falls behind - regardless of the reason - it must regain its position. Time for ball searches, rulings, and walking time between holes is included in the allotted time.

Definition "Out of Position" - Stroke Play

First Group Only: The first group is out of position if it takes more than the allotted time to complete a check-point hole (see check-point time on scorecard).

All Following Groups:
A following group is out of position if it:

(a) Takes more than the allotted time to complete a check-point hole and

(b) Completes play of a check-point hole more than 14 minutes after the preceding group completed play of that hole.

Group Out of Position
The first time a group is out of position at a check-point hole they will be issued a warning. When a group has been notified of its first breach, that group is expected to regain its position before reaching the next check-point. If that group is out of position at the next or any subsequent
check-point, the group may incur the following penalties:

  • 1st breach* - warning
  • 2nd breach - one stroke penalty
  • 3rd breach - two stroke penalty
  • 4th breach - disqualification

* If a group clears the 3rd check-point without any breaches, but is out of position at the 4th check-point, the potential penalty for each player in the group is one stroke.

Any group that is out of position is subject to being monitored by a Rules Rover.

Player's Rights
Any player may appeal the penalty at scoring.

A player concerned about a non-responsive fellow-competitor in his/her group should request a Rules Rover to monitor the group in case the group is/or becomes subject to penalty under these guidelines.

Final Determination Regarding Breach / Review Process
All breaches will be reviewed at scoring by the Pace of Play Committee. If the player/group appeals the penalty, the Pace of Play Committee will consider only the following in an appeal:

(a) The player was delayed by the Committee; or

(b) The player was delayed by a circumstance beyond the control of the player or the group; or

(c) The player was delayed by another player in the group.

A player who was out of position during his/her round and who elects not to consult with the Pace of Play Committee to determine whether he/she was in breach of these guidelines is considered to have been in breach of these guidelines and to have incurred a penalty or penalties according to the above schedule of penalties. If a group is subject to penalty, all penalties will be applied to the check-point hole where the breach occurred.



WSGA Preferred Lies Recommendation

Preferred Lies PDF

Download the WSGA Preferred Lies Recommendation (PDF, 292k)

As the governing body of amateur golf in Washington State and Northern Idaho, the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) strongly recommends that when establishing conditions of play, golf clubs and tournament organizers adhere to the Rules of Golf as established by the United States Golf Association.

One of the primary principles of the Rules of Golf is to "play the ball as it lies," which the WSGA also strongly recommends in most instances. However, when extreme weather or lack of golf course maintenance for long periods make it necessary for golf clubs and tournament organizers to consider adopting a Preferred Lies and/or Winter Rules local rule for use, the WSGA recommends Option #1 or Option #2 or a combination thereof, listed below, which are recommended by the USGA in Appendix I of the Rules of Golf booklet (page 143-144).

Because conditions differ depending on the season and situation, the WSGA's Rules & Competition Department stands ready to extend assistance and make recommendations with regard to adopting a Preferred Lies and/or Winter Rules local rule.

It is important to note that any Preferred Lies or Winter Rules local rule other than Option #1, Option #2 or a combination thereof, especially one that advocates improving the lie of the ball in the rough, is contrary to the Rules of Golf and we are unable to recommend, endorse or interpret its use.

Option #1 - "Preferred Lies" and "Winter Rules"

(Found on page 143-144 of 2016 USGA Rules of Golf Booklet in Appendix I, Part A/3b)

A ball lying on a closely mown area through the green (or specify a more restricted area, e.g., at the 6th hole) may be lifted without penalty and cleaned. Before lifting the ball, the player must mark its position. Having lifted the ball, he must place it on a spot within (specify area, e.g., six inches, one club-length, etc.) of and not nearer the hole than where it originally lay, that is not in a hazard and not on a putting green.

A player may place his ball only once, and it is in play when it has been placed (Rule 20-4). If the ball fails to come to rest on the spot on which it was placed, Rule 20-3d applies. If the ball when placed comes to rest on the spot on which it is placed and it subsequently moves, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies, unless the provisions of any other Rule apply.

If a player fails to mark the position of the ball before lifting it or moves the ball in any other manner, such as rolling it with a club, he incurs a penalty of one stroke.

Note: "Closely-mown area" means any area of the course, including paths through the rough, cut to fairway height or less

Option #2 - Cleaning Ball

(Found on page 144 of 2016 USGA Rules of Golf Booklet in Appendix I, Part A/3c)

(Specify area, e.g., at the 6th hole, on a closely-mown area, anywhere through the green, etc) a ball may be lifted and cleaned without penalty. The ball must be replaced.

Note: The position of the ball must be marked before it is lifted under this Local Rule - see Rule 20-1..

In addition, the WSGA offers the following recommendations, considerations, and clarifications when considering whether or not to adopt a Preferred Lies or Winter Rule local rule:

Recommendations - The WSGA considers the following when deciding whether or not to invoke a Preferred Lies or Winter Rules local rule for our championships or making a recommendation:

  • Preferred Lies or Winter Rules should NOT be invoked if an abnormal ground condition is confined to a small area(s) on the course. Such areas should be deemed ground under repair.
  • Adverse conditions such as the aftermath of heavy snows and spring thaws, prolonged rains or extreme heat can make fairway conditions unsatisfactory or prevent heavy mowing equipment from being used to maintain the course. When such conditions are prevalent throughout the course, Option #1 may be used to lift, clean, and improve the lie of the ball in closely mown areas.
  • If course conditions are such that an inordinate amount of mud is collecting on the golf ball, then Option #2 may be used to lift, clean and REPLACE the ball. Some have expressed doubts about using this procedure because of concerns about golfers replacing the ball exactly from where it was lifted. However, this is not much different than replacing the ball on the putting green after it has been marked, which is a universally accepted part of the game. More importantly, the game of golf and the rules by which it is played rest upon the honorable actions of the players.
  • Some have requested we recommend one single standard of measurement when improving the lie of the ball in Option #1 (e.g., six inches, one club length, etc.). However, it is important this discretion be left to the golf club or tournament organizer, as conditions differ from day to day and course to course. While six inches may work one day, a full club length may be needed another.
  • Under some circumstances, Option #1 and Option #2 may be adopted for use at the same time. This will allow the marking, lifting, cleaning and improving the lie of a ball in closely mown areas (Option #1), while also allowing the marking, lifting, and replacing of a muddy ball through the green (in the rough) (Option #2).
  • The use of Option #1 and/or Option #2 may be confined to a specific area of the course (e.g., at the sixth hole only, etc.). There is no requirement they be used throughout the entire course.
  • The WSGA strongly discourages improving the lie of the ball through the green (in the rough). It is a fact that when the lie of a ball is improved from a poor lie in the rough to one which is "teed up" only serves to provide an unfair advantage to a golfer who has hit a poor shot, artificially lowers handicaps, and places golfers at a disadvantage when competing elsewhere.
  • Additional local rules are also available (Appendix I, Part A, 3 on page 142-145) that help deal with poor course conditions or course protection including, Relief for Embedded Ball (through the green), Aeration Holes, and Seams of Cut Turf.

Considerations - Preferred Lies and/or Winter Rules should only be invoked after careful consideration and only when warranted. It is important to consider that anytime a Preferred Lies or Winter Rules local rule is adopted the following effects may result:

  • Lowers scores and handicaps, thus penalizing players in competition with players whose scores and handicaps are derived without improving the lie of the ball, especially through the green.
  • Results in golfers being at a disadvantage and less competitive when playing at a course that does not improve the lie of the ball, especially through the green.
  • It can create the perception that the Course and SLOPE Rating is inaccurate as the USGA Course Rating System mandates that courses be rated under the Rules of Golf and without using a Preferred Lies or Winter Rules local rule.

Clarifications - We would like to take this opportunity to clarify some common misconceptions:

  • It is a REQUIREMENT of the USGA Handicap System that scores MUST be posted for handicap purposes when ANY Preferred Lies or Winter Rules local rule is in effect, whether or not it conforms to the Rules of Golf.
  • There is no such thing as "SUMMER RULES." There are the Rules of Golf, which rest on the primary principle of playing the ball as it lies. Then, there are local rule options recommended by the USGA for Preferred Lies or Winter Rules when abnormal ground conditions prevail.
  • There are no sanctions or penalties that will be levied by the WSGA against golf clubs or tournament organizers who choose to use an alternative Preferred Lies or Winter Rules local rule. However, it is important to note there are downsides in doing so as mentioned above (e.g., lowering handicaps, being less competitive elsewhere, skewing the course rating, creating confusion, etc.).

Consultation - The WSGA encourages golf clubs and tournament organizers to contact the WSGA Rules & Competition staff at the WSGA offices in Federal Way, Washington for further assistance with a specific recommendation.

Washington State Golf Association
Telephone: 206-526-1238 or
toll-free 1-800-643-6410



WSGA Withdrawal Policy

Withdrawal PDF

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All refunds prior to the entry deadline are subject to a $10 administrative fee. Refunds are not available after the closing deadline except for documented and approved medical reasons. Refunds approved after the closing deadline, and up until round one pairings are released, are subject to a $25 administrative fee. NO REFUNDS WILL BE ISSUED AFTER ROUND ONE PAIRINGS HAVE BEEN RELEASED.

During play of the championship, a competitor must notify WSGA staff and state his/her need to withdraw. Entrants who unofficially withdraw (by not notifying the WSGA staff or without having sufficient reason to withdraw) will not be granted entry into any future WSGA championship for a minimum of two years.



WSGA Spectator Cart Policy

Spectator Cart Policy PDF

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Spectator Cart Policy

To provide an equal championship platform for all competitors, the use of carts by spectators is not permitted at any time by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA).

Championship Accommodations for Disabled Spectators

The WSGA is committed to providing an enjoyable spectator experience for people with disabilities at WSGA championships. Requests from spectators seeking transportation onto the golf course due to a permanent disability, as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), must be submitted to a WSGA staff member on site. While spectator carts are not allowed, the WSGA will make every effort to accommodate these requests by assigning a WSGA volunteer driver based on availability. The driver will transport the spectator to viewing locations throughout the golf course, not shot by shot or hole by hole.

Spectators with transportation needs should contact the WSGA Championship Department at (206) 526-8605 prior to the championship so that arrangements can be made to have a driver on site.

Requests due to temporary injuries or impairments will not be granted.

Only spectators who have complied with the above procedures and met the requirements will be permitted to ride. Every possible effort will be made to ensure that spectators with permanent disabilities are able to view the competition.



Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct PDF

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The WSGA expects all contestants, caddies, gallery, and guests to exhibit proper conduct and behavior on the golf course and anywhere on club property during a WSGA championship. Unbecoming conduct or behavior may be grounds for immediate disqualification, at any time, from any WSGA event. The following are some examples of unbecoming conduct or behavior:

  • Loud, abusive, and/or profane language
  • Intentionally throwing and/or breaking equipment or the like (club, ball, etc.) in anger or frustration
  • Intentionally damaging host club, WSGA, and/or fellow contestant property
  • Abuse of any kind of host club officials, volunteers or staff, and/or WSGA volunteers, staff or fellow contestants
  • Public criticism of host club, officials, volunteers or staff, and/or WSGA volunteers, staff or fellow contestants
  • Intentionally engaging in a criminal act
  • Engaging in activities that result in the potential endangerment of others
  • Intentionally violating the Rules of Golf
  • Intentionally violating stated club policy
  • Violation of WSGA Dress Code
  • Violation of WSGA Footwear Policy

The Committee in charge of the competition shall be the sole judge of determining Conduct Code violations.

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