As a general rule, players and their caddies must walk the course at USGA championships and at most qualifying rounds. Consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a disabled player or caddie may be permitted to use a golf cart as an accommodation to his or her disability for those events where golf carts are not allowed. As required by the ADA, the USGA will evaluate such requests on a case-by-case basis.
In order for the USGA to properly evaluate the merits of such requests, while maintaining the fundamental fairness of the golf competition, it is necessary for players requesting this accommodation to submit medical documentation to facilitate that analysis. The documentation provided must demonstrate: (1) a player’s (or caddie’s) disability as defined by the ADA (temporary conditions may not be covered); (2) the medical need for the golf cart that results from that disability; and (3) that by providing a golf cart to a player or caddie in that particular circumstances, the USGA would not be fundamentally altering the fairness of the competition by providing a player with an advantage over other players. The required form entitled Golf Cart Request Form (as well as additional important information for first-time and subsequent requests for a cart), is available through the USGA website in the section identified as Championships/Apply to Play/Additional Entry Requirements.
In order to permit the USGA to undertake the necessary analysis and make arrangements for golf cart usage where approved, all in time for the relevant event, players must strictly comply with each of the following procedures. Any failure to comply with any of these procedures may result in a denial of the requested accommodation.
- Requests for golf carts must be supported by complete documentation, including the fully-completed Cart Request Form and the required accompanying medical documentation specified in that form for all first time requests. A request will not be deemed complete until all required information and documentation has been provided.
- If the player/caddie has previously executed a stipulation governing the use of a golf cart during a USGA championship, the player (either for the player or on behalf of the player’s caddie) is not required to submit the Cart Request Form and medical documentation again. The previously executed stipulation may govern the use of the golf cart if the intended use is in the same capacity (e.g. if a stipulation was provided to a player who now seeks to serve as a caddie, the player in that case must submit the request for that caddie and a separate stipulation relating to use of a cart in a different capacity must be executed-however, the medical documentation will not be required).
- In some instances, even with an executed Stipulation from a prior championship season, that stipulation may have been effective only for the specific season. In all cases relating to a previously executed stipulation, the player (not the caddie) MUST contact the USGA Championship Administration Department (firstname.lastname@example.org or by Facsimile at 908-234-2889) and provide a copy of the fully executed stipulation with a list of the qualifying and championships where a cart will be requested each championship season within five (5) days of the electronic submission of the entry application (whether for the player or the player’s caddie). The player must receive confirmation of receipt of such request from the USGA Championship Administration Department to ensure that a cart will be available at the specific qualifying site or championship proper for each separate qualifying or championship. It is the responsibility of the player to follow up with the Championship Administration Department to obtain the acknowledged receipt. The list of qualifying and championships provided along with the executed stipulation may be updated throughout the season as needed, as long as it is received within five (5) days of the electronic submission of a specific entry submission.
- Except for minors, all requests for golf carts must be made by the player, including those that the player will make on behalf of a caddie. Direct requests from caddies will not be accepted. For minors, only parents or legally-appointed guardians may submit a request for a golf cart.
- In the event of a change of medical condition for the player or caddie after the submission of the entry or after the initial submission of the required documentation, medical documentation of all relevant changes must be received no later than seven (7) days in advance of local qualifying, sectional qualifying or championship proper for which the golf cart is requested. Telephone requests as submissions will not be accepted under any circumstances at any time.
- All information submitted in connection with the golf cart request should be sent to comply with the timing deadline above, either by overnight courier to the attention of the USGA Chief Legal Officer, 77 Liberty Corner Road, Far Hills, New Jersey 07931 or by facsimile to the attention of the USGA’s Chief Legal Officer on a secure facsimile line at (908) 234-2889.
- In the USGA senior championships (where players are allowed to use carts), a caddie must walk the course unless the player has requested a waiver for the caddie and the caddie has executed a stipulation governing use of the golf cart for the relevant U.S. Senior Amateur Championship or U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship. In each such case, the caddie must ride in their own golf cart, and the player may not ride in the same cart as the caddie.
- If any player or caddie needs assistance with any part of the process for requesting a golf cart, including any reasonable accommodation, contact the USGA’s Senior Director, Championship Administration or the USGA’s Chief Legal Officer at (908) 234-2300.