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Evacuation, Suspending and Resuming PlayRules Notebook: Amateur Championships

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The USGA will have meteorology staff on-site monitoring the possibility of inclement weather. Play will continue until the air horns are sounded indicating play is suspended:

  • ONE PROLONGED NOTE, for an immediate suspension (imminent danger, such as lightning).
  • THREE CONSECUTIVE NOTES, for a normal suspension (such as for darkness or when the course is unplayable).
  • TWO SHORT NOTES, signal resumption of play.

1.  Suspension of Play

A.  Referees will be alerted via radio by the USGA staff prior to any suspension of play. Please use good radio etiquette and keep the radio clear of all other communications.

B.  The USGA staff will instruct the Rovers to sound the air horns. During the countdown, Referees may notify players that the air horn is about to sound (to prevent the horn going off during the player’s backswing).

C.  Referees should inform players as to the type of suspension. For an immediate suspension do not allow any player to play a stroke (see Rule 5.7b(1)).

D.  In the case of a normal suspension, players may elect to stop play or finish the hole they are playing (Rule 5.7b(2)).

E.  Upon a stoppage of play, Referees are to assist by directing players, caddie and volunteers to the appropriate course evacuation site. Referees must note the location of players’ golf balls on the digital Suspension of Play form. Referees are to keep players advised of the situation.

F.  The following people are allowed in the Course Evacuation vehicles:

  • Players
  • Caddies
  • USGA Referees
  • Walking Scorer
  • Standard Bearer with standard


G. Referees will oversee the evacuation vans. Referees should identify themselves to the evacuation driver.

H.  Evacuation vehicles will remain at the course evacuation site until directed by USGA staff to move and evacuate the passengers to the clubhouse area.

I.  Standard bearers should leave the standard equipment in the vehicle.

J.  Monitor your radio for further instructions. Updates will be announced periodically, as required.


2.   Resumption of Play

A.  Once the suspension of play is declared over and play is to resume, return to the appropriate evacuation vehicle parked at the designated clubhouse area.

B.  The group will return to their course position and wait for instructions over the radio. Assist players in getting their balls back in play, if necessary (see Suspension/ Resumption of Play - Rules Reminders).

C.  A USGA staff member will ask for an accounting of players in position by doing a roll call and calling out a “ready for play” report. Referees should answer by replying “YES / READY” or “NO / NOT YET.” Please avoid extended replies.

D.  After all players are in position, the Rovers will be directed to sound the air horns.

E.  TWO SHORT NOTES of the air horns will signal a resumption of play.

F.  These suspension procedures may be modified only by the USGA.


3.  Suspension of Play and Resumption of Play Procedures for the Following Day  

In the event that play is suspended for the day prior to the completion of a round and will be resumed on a following day (such as when play during Monday is suspended Monday evening and will be resumed Tuesday morning), please proceed as follows:

A.  DO NOT collect the players’ scorecards (if in stroke play).

B.  Make note of location of players’ balls on digital Suspension of Play form found on the Committee website (Player A’s ball is in the front left bunker; Player B’s ball is on the right fringe; Player C’s ball is on the putting green 20 feet to the right of the hole) and how they are marked.

C.  Inform players when play will resume, when practice facilities will be open and where they need to report for transportation back onto the golf course (if necessary) the next morning. If this information is not yet ready, remind them that they will receive further updates via cellphone text messages.

D.   Return the match play scorecard (if in match play) and ensure you digitally submitted the Suspension of Play form.

E.   Check with the person responsible for assignments if you will not be able to resume with the group/match the next morning, or if you have a conflict with the following day’s assignment.

F.   Return to the USGA Office the following morning to retrieve the match play scorecard (if in match play). Return to course evacuation vehicle or site on course for resumption of play.

G.  Bring extra scorecards for players.

H.  USGA staff will do a roll call and ask for a “ready to play” report for each Referee before resuming play.

I.    After all players are reported in place, the Rovers will signal the resumption: two short air-horn blasts.

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1.  Practice

A.   When play is immediately suspended for a dangerous situation:

  • All practice areas are closed until the Committee has declared them open. Players who practice on closed practice areas will be asked to cease doing so; failure to stop practicing might result in disqualification.
  • After the Committee orders the practice areas opened, a player may practice on any designated practice area. [Rule 5.5c]
  • After the Committee orders the practice areas opened, if a player is between the play of two holes, they may practice putting or chipping on or near the putting green of the last hole played, any practice putting green or the teeing area of the next hole to be played. [Rule 5.5c]


B.  When the Committee suspended play for normal reasons:

  • A player may practice on the practice range. [Rule 5.5c]
  • If a player is between the play of two holes, they may practice putting or chipping on or near the putting green of the hole last played, any practice putting green or the teeing area of the next hole to be played. [Rule 5.5c]
  • The Committee may order practice areas closed during a suspension, but a player’s practice on a closed practice area is not a breach of Rule 5.5.


C.  While waiting to resume play of a hole not yet completed, either during the stoppage or after resumption has been ordered, a practice stroke may not be played on the course, unless allowed by the Committee. [Rule 5.5c]

D.  When the Committee orders play resumed at a specific time and that time has occurred, all practice on practice facilities (except any practice putting green) by players who stopped play must cease and those players are limited to practicing in accordance with Rule 5.5c (See Clarification 5.5c/1).

2.  Clubs

A.  When the player resumes play, they are limited to the clubs selected for the round that was suspended except that, if they started with fewer than 14 clubs, they may add any number provided their total number does not exceed 14. [Rule 4.1b]

B.  If a player damages their club during the round or while play is stopped, it may be repaired but not replaced, unless replacement is allowed under Model Local Rule G-9 [Rule 4.1a(2)]

3.  Ball

A.  If the ball was not lifted, the player may play the ball as it lies, or may mark the spot of the ball, lift the ball and replace the ball or another ball on the original spot. The player or their partner may replace the ball regardless of who lifted it.

B.  If the ball was lifted, the player may replace the original ball or another ball on the original spot.

C.  If the spot where a ball is to be replaced is not known, the original spot must be estimated and the original ball or another ball replaced on that estimated spot. The ball may be replaced by the player or by their partner.

4.  Altered Lies

A.  If the lie of the ball is altered as a result of lifting the ball, the player must replace the original ball or another ball as required by Rule 14.2d.

B.  If the lie of the ball is altered after the ball was lifted and before being replaced, Rule 8.1d applies.

C.  In all cases, the ball is replaced (i.e., it is never dropped). (See Rule 14.2)



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