NCGA Playing it Safe Procedures During COVID-19 Pandemic (updated 4/1/2021)
The following policies will be in effect for all NCGA events and are subject to change based on current county and state guidelines. Realizing each golf course has different capabilities of service, NCGA staff will work with the golf courses to create safe playing opportunities for participants. Players or spectators failing to adhere to the following policies will be removed from the event and asked to leave the premises.
Specific policies for various NCGA programming are available here and for each event with the Player Information:
In addition to the following protocols that will be enforced by the NCGA, we ask that you use the following precautions:
- If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home. (Any player with noticeable symptoms will be asked to go home).
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, lips and eyes.
- Wash your hands frequently. If you are unable to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer.
- Please familiarize yourself with and follow the best practices published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and California state and county ordinances.
General Sanitation Guidelines for Participation in NCGA Events
- Players are to maintain at least a 6-foot distance minimum from other people (except for household members) while on property whenever possible.
- Mask/facial coverings must be worn when 6-foot minimum distance cannot be met, when indoors (if available) or otherwise in accordance with government ordinance.
- When permitted, there will be a socially distanced awards ceremony. See specific event Player Information for tie-breaking procedures.
- Staff or volunteers will not be allowed on-site with symptoms or fever.
- When permitted, caddies must adhere to the recommended safety protocols within this document.
- When permitted, spectators must maintain at least 6-foot distance minimum from people while on property. See individual event Player Information for additional guidelines.
- We request players to limit spectators to one person, preferably a household member, whenever possible. Spectators are expected to maintain a reasonable distance from players during the round as they are not caddies.
Practice/Warm-Up (When available)
- Availability of practice facilities, including driving range and putting green, will be subject to individual facility/county policies and may not be available. Specific information regarding availability will be listed in the event Player Information.
- When available, practice range set up for safe distancing and request players arrive no earlier than 30 minutes prior to starting time and limit range time to 10 minutes to allow others the opportunity.
- When available, the practice putting green is only available to players 10 minutes prior to their starting time.
Starter Interaction and Material Distribution
- Pace of Play / Hard Card and Hole Locations / Notice to Players and Scorecard will be provided online with the Player Information.
- In most cases, scorecards will not be distributed. See below for specific scoring procedures.
- Hand sanitizer will be made available at the starter table.
- A clock will be at the Starter Table displaying the Official Time.
- Starter directions given while spread 6 feet apart.
Cart sanitation policies are subject to county ordinance and will be maintained by host facilities. Other cart policies may vary based on county ordinance and cart availability. See event Player Information for specific cart policies.
- Fully Vaccinated (2 weeks after last shot) players may ride together in a golf cart without masks.
- Unless otherwise determined by the facility, groups will be limited to two carts per group.
- Players may share carts and should wear masks when unable to maintain social distance.
Scorecard and Scoring Procedures
NCGA Championships will utilize mobile scoring and electronic scoring procedures.
- In order to mobile score, players must download the GolfGenius or USGA TM app.
- Players are expected to arrive at their first tee with the latest version of the GolfGenius or USGA Tournament Management App. The player GGID is available on the scorecard PDF available in advance and will be given to players on the first tee by the starter. When logging in, players MUST login using the provided Player GGID or they will not get access to the digital scorecard portion of the app.
DURING THE ROUND – Within the group, players will be marking for one other player (just as you would with a paper scorecard). The electronic scorecard has a section for “Marker’s Notes”. This is the equivalent to the tear strip at the top of a scorecard where the marker may keep his or her own scores.
WHEN ROUND IS COMPLETED – At the end of the round, all players in the group must report any rules issues to the committee and confirm hole-by-hole scores are correct. If there are any discrepancies between the “Marker’s Notes” and the scores the marker entered, they will be highlighted in yellow.
CERTIFYING SCORES – Once all scores are correct players will be prompted to “Certify as Marker” and then will move to “My Scores”, located at the top of your screen, and then be prompted to “Certify as Player”. This is the equivalent of signing a paper scorecard and satisfies the requirements of Rule 3.3b. Scores will be considered to be official and returned once the player has left the defined scoring area, the scoring area will be defined within The Notice to Players.
- Staff contact information is available in the Notice to Players linked above if there are questions after the round.
- All ties will be determined by the USGA recommended method of matching scorecards, unless otherwise stated.
Flagstick and Hole
The following Code of Conduct provision is in effect for NCGA events when county or course guidelines do not allow players to touch the flagstick:
- The flagstick must not be removed or deliberately touched by hand during the round, including with a gloved hand or a towel wrapped around the flagstick. Any player who deliberately ignores this code of conduct policy will be considered guilty of Serious Misconduct (see Rule 1.2b), the penalty for which is disqualification.
- Working in concert with each individual facility, A foam insert allowing the ball to fall only part way into the hole a device will be used to ensure players can retrieve the ball from the hole without touching the flagstick or hole.
- When a device that does not allow the ball to fall fully into the hole is used, the device is treated as being attached to the flagstick and thus is part of the flagstick. Per Rule 13.2c and the Definition of Holed, if any part of the ball is below the surface of the putting green and is leaning/resting on that device the ball is treated as holed. A ball that hits the device and does not come to rest with any part of the ball within the hole is not holed.
When bunker rakes have been removed from a course:
- Players are encouraged to smooth the surface of the bunker with their foot or club before exiting the bunker.
When it is not possible to provide consistent conditions to all players, the staff-in-charge will implement the following Local Rule:
- Preferred Lies in Bunker: When a player’s ball lies in a bunker, the player may take free relief once by placing the original ball or another ball in and playing it from this relief area:
- Reference Point: Spot of the original ball
- Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: SIX inches from the reference point, but with these limits:
Limits on Location of Relief Area:
- Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
- Must be in the same bunker.
- In proceeding under this Local Rule, the player must choose a spot to place the ball and use the procedures for replacing a ball under Rule 14.2b(2) and 14.2e.
Food and Beverage
NCGA staff will work with facilities to ensure as much food and beverage is available in accordance with county ordinance and facility capabilities.
- When available, food will be issued in accordance with county guidelines which includes consideration for touch points and social distancing guidelines.
- In some cases, food and beverage options may be eliminated and players should be prepared to bring their own snacks and water.
- Specific availability of food and beverage amenities will be detailed in the event Player Information.