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Starting ProceduresRules Notebook: Amateur Championships

 
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DUTIES OF STARTING OFFICIALS

Officials assisting with starting are responsible for ensuring that players start at the time specified by the Committee and that scorecards and special notices are distributed to the players.

Officials should:

A.  Wear USGA jacket unless Chairman has indicated otherwise.

B.  Arrive at the appropriate starting tee 20-30 minutes prior to the first tee time.

C.  Ensure that the starter’s box contains all the necessary materials and paperwork.

D.  Starter’s box should contain:

  • Atomic Clock
  • Course Evacuation Procedure
  • Golf Course Scorecards
  • Hole Location Sheets
  • Notice to Players and USGA “Hard Card”
  • Pace of Play Policy
  • Pairings and Tee Times
  • Pencils and Permanent Markers
  • The Rules of Golf and Official Guide to the Rules of Golf
  • Scorecards (Official) and extra scorecards
  • Tees

 

Other items that may be needed in the starting area include:

  • PA System
  • Trash Box

 

E.  Make sure all equipment is set up. Please call the USGA Office if something is not set up when you arrive.

F.  If play is delayed while tee times are in progress, maintain time records on the pairings sheet. Additionally, please notify the Championship Director, Pace of Play (POP) Administrator, POP Checkpoints, and Scoring of any delays.

G.  Inform Championship Director and POP Administrator when the last group has teed off.

H.  Procedures to follow for starting:

  • Review the Notice to Players. If you have any questions, please call the Championship Director prior to starting players.
  • The atomic clock is the official time. Start each group exactly at the time indicated on the pairings. Do not start any group prior to the scheduled time. Begin announcing a group so that the first player will go forward to play his or her ball at the group’s tee time.
  • Do not delay a group because a player is late in appearing for his or her tee time. All players in a group must be present and ready to play at the time specified by the Committee. The order of play is irrelevant.
  • Four-Ball Stroke Play:
    • A side may be represented by either partner for all or any part of a round.
  • If a player(s) has not arrived at the tee before his or her scheduled time, please refer to the document “Late to the Tee” Procedure.
  • In stroke play, introduce yourself and the Referee
  • (if applicable). In match play, introduce yourself, the Referee, Observer, walking scorer and the standard bearer to the players.
  • Give each player a Hole Location Sheet for the day and the Notice to Players and point out the location of the Evacuation Policy and USGA Hard Card. Notify players of any new items on an updated Notice to Players.
  • Remind each player to mark and identify his or her golf ball to opponent(s) or other players in the group in stroke play.
  • Remind each player to count his or her clubs before they start.
  • In stroke play, give an overview (briefly) of the Pace of Play Policy to the players as you hand out the scorecards:
    • Point out the time on the scorecards.
    • Point out the checkpoint holes (they are shaded on the card).
    • Encourage players to play ‘ready golf’ in a safe and responsible way (Rule 6.4).
    • Explain the need to be at a checkpoint by the designated time or no later than 14 minutes behind the group in front of them (i.e., keep up with the group in front).
    • They may ask to have their group monitored at any time.
    • The hole completion time is when the flagstick is put into the hole or the last player has lifted his or her ball from the hole. 
    • The review process wil take place in scoring.
  • Give the players/caddies the official time so they may synchronize their watches.
  • In stroke play, the player does not receive his or her own scorecard. Player 1 keeps Player 2, Player 2 keeps Player 3 and Player 3 keeps Player 1. This is the procedure we would like followed.
  • Communicate to the Championship Director, POP Administrator, POP Checkpoints, and Scoring any de- lays in tee times. If delays are expected for multiple, consecutive groups, delay times can be announced every 2 to 3 groups. Delays should be communicated in a “+ minutes” manner. Example: “Group No. 7, the 9 a.m. tee time started +2.”
  • Four-Ball Stroke Play:
    • Each side will keep a scorecard for the other. One scorecard is kept per side.
    • Review the requirement of individually identifiable scores.
  • In match play, give the match scorecard to the Referee.

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“LATE TO THE TEE” PROCEDURE

The following is the procedure that is to be followed by a starter who is missing a player(s) on the starting tee:

  • At a point three minutes prior to the group’s tee time, the starter will get on the radio and announce, “Group No. 7, the 9 a.m. tee time on hole No. 1, we have three minutes to go and I’m missing Kevin Smith.”
  • Four-Ball Competition: “… I’m missing Kevin Smith but his partner is present.”
  • At a point one minute prior to the group’s tee time, this message is repeated over the radio and the starter should ask that the radio be kept “clear” of all traffic for the next 60 seconds. At this point, the starter should also inform the other players or opponent(s) that 60 seconds remain.
  • At a point 30 seconds prior to the group’s tee time, this message is repeated over the radio. At this point, the starter should also inform the other players) or opponent(s) that 30 seconds remain.
  • At a point 10 seconds prior to the group’s tee time, the starter counts down each second over the radio and to the other players or opponent(s), then says over the radio and to the other players, “Kevin Smith is late to the tee. Gentlemen, play away please.”

 

When the initial radio transmission is broadcast by the starter, a Rover should proceed to that starting hole. It is the USGA’s policy to “look” for players who are missing. However, the starter must not leave the tee to do so.

If a player is “found” by another member of the Committee, that should be communicated on the radio. Please use good radio etqiuette and keep the radio clear of all other communications.

The player must be directed to get to his or her starting tee as soon as possible to avoid a penalty. The player may be transported by anyone and in any type of vehicle.

If a player arrives to the tee prior to the group’s tee time, the starter must communicate that fact on the radio as follows: “Group No. 7, the 9 a.m. tee time on hole No. 1, is now complete.” If the player arrives at the tee after the group’s tee time, the Rover – not the starter – will handle the application of the penalty, including communicating with the player’s marker. If the group starts late as a result of this issue, the starter must communicate this on the radio to all Rovers and Checkpoint officials.

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STARTER’S SCRIPT FOR STROKE PLAY AND MATCH PLAY

Note: Begin announcing a group so that the first player will go forward to play his or her ball at the group’s tee time (not earlier). The full name of the player should be used each time, without titles (i.e., Mr. or Ms.).

Past Champions: If a player is a past champion from that championship, then he or she should be announced as such for all rounds.

Stroke Play Script:                                                        

Before First Group of Each Wave:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to stroke play round

  (1 or 2)   of the   (Number)  (Championship Name)   , conducted by the United States Golf Association and host- ed by (Host Club) .”

For the First Group of Each Wave and Following Groups (Note that the Referee or Observer is not announced):

“This is the   (Time)   tee time; please welcome

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)   if the player does not begin, please add “play away please.” from   (City, State, or Country)      (Player Name)   , from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)  .”

Match Play Script:                                                      

Before First Match of Each Round (Rounds 1 - Semifinals):

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Match Play

 (Round of 64,Round of 32 or Round of 16 , Quarterfinals, or Semifinals) of the (Number) (Championship Name) , conducted by the United States Golf Association and hosted by (Host Club) .”

For the First Match of Each Round and all Following Matches:

“This is the (Time) match; please welcome from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)  , (pause) and

from  (City, State, or Country)  (Player Name) .” “The Referee for this match is  (Name of Referee)  .”

Note – Only the Referee is to be announced (i.e., the Observer is not announced).

  (First Player)   has the honor. Play away, please.”

Before Final Match:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Championship Match of the   (Number)  (Championship Name)   , conducted by the United States Golf Association and hosted by   (Host Club)  .

  (Total # entered in Championship)   players entered this year’s Championship, with

  (Total # in Championship Proper)   players competing in the championship proper.

After 36 holes of Stroke Play, the low 64 players began match play,  and each player competing in today’s   (18-  or 36-)   hole Championship Match has won five matches in order to advance to this point.

Please welcome the players;

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)   , (pause) and

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)  . The Referee for the match is   (Name of Referee)  .

Note – Only the Referee is to be announced (i.e., the Observer is not announced).

  (First Player)   has the honor. Play away, please.”

Before Second 18 Holes of 36-Hole Championship Match:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the continuation of the 36-hole Championship Match of the   (Number)  (Championship Name)   , conducted by the United States Golf Association and hosted by   (Host Club)   . Please welcome the players;

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)  . (pause) and

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)  . The Referee for the match is   (Name of Referee)  ”.

Note – Only the Referee is to be announced (i.e., the Observer is not announced).

“At the conclusion of the first 18 holes,

(a)    (Player Name)   is   (so many)   up.” OR

(b)  “The match is tied.”

  (Player Name)   has the honor. Play away please.”

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FOUR-BALL: STARTER’S SCRIPT FOR STROKE PLAY AND MATCH PLAY

Note: Begin announcing a group so that the first player will go forward to play his or her ball at the group’s tee time (not earlier). The full name of the player should be used each time, without titles (i.e., Mr. or Ms.).

Past Champions: If a player is a past champion from that championship, then he or she should be announced as such for all rounds.

Stroke Play Script:                                                        

Before First Group of Each Wave:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the stroke play round   (1 or 2)    of the   (Number)    (Championship Name) , conducted by the United States Golf Association and host- ed by   (Host Club)  .”

For the First Group of Each Wave and Following Groups

(Note that the Referee or Observer is not announced):

“This is the (Time) tee time; please welcome

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)   , and his or her partner

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)   , play away please.

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)   ,

and his or her partner,

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)   .

 

Match Play Script:                                                        

Before First Match of Each Round (Rounds 1-Semifinals):

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Match Play (Round of 32 or Round of 16 , Quarterfinals, or Semifinals) , of the

   (Number)    (Championship Name)   , conducted by

the United States Golf Association and hosted by   (Host Club)  .”

 

For the First Match of Each Round and all Following Matches:

“This is the   (Time)   match; please welcome from    (City, State, or Country)       (Player Name)    , and his or her partner

from   (City, State, or Country)   ,  (Player Name)  , (pause) and

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)   , and his or her partner

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)   . The Referee for the match is   (Name of Referee)  .

Note – Only the Referee is to be announced (i.e., the Observer is not announced).

  (Last Name Player 1)   and   (Last Name Player 2)   ,

has the honor. Play away, please.”

 

Before Final Match:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Championship Match of the   (Number)    (Championship Name)   , conducted by the United States Golf Association and hosted by   (Host Club)  .”

  (Total # entered in Championship)   , sides entered this year’s championship, with

  (Total # in Championship Proper)   , sides competing in the championship proper.”

After 36 holes of stroke play, the low 32 sides began match play, and each side competing in today’s 18-hole Championship Match has won four matches in order to advance to this point.

“Please welcome the players;

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)   , and his or her partner

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)  , (pause) and

from   (City, State, or Country)      (Player Name)   ,

and his or her partner

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)   , The Referee for the match is   (Name of Referee)   .

Note – Only the Referee is to be announced (i.e., the Observer is not announced).

  (Last Name Player 1)   and   (Last Name Player 2)   ,

has the honor. Play away, please.”

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PROCEDURE FOR ANNOUNCING GROUPS AFTER DELAYS

When play resumes after a suspension, the starter will announce the following:

Stroke Play:

“This is the originally scheduled      (Time)       tee time; please welcome

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)  ,

play away please

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player  Name)   , from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)   .”

 

Match Play:

“This is the originally scheduled   (Time)   match; please welcome

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)   , (pause) and

from   (City, State, or Country)     (Player Name)   .”

Note  –  This only applies when there has been an official suspension or delay due to weather, fog, darkness, etc. This procedure does not apply when play is delayed due to another reason such as a ruling on the starting hole or a match going to extra holes.

Only if new pairings and tee times have been printed will the starter announce the new tee time.