Boys Golf - Rules & Regulations

Rules and Regulations

Returning an Incorrect Score (Rule 6-6d): Remember the incident involving Craig Stadler and the towel? In the third round of the PGA Tour’s San Diego tourna- ment in 1987, Stadler knelt on a towel to play a ball lying under a tree. Having no idea that such an act constituted building a stance (see Decision 13-3/2), Stadler did not include the required two penalty strokes for his score for that hole and therefore returned an incorrect score card for that round. When the Tour officials learned of his breach during the fourth round, they had no choice but to disqualify him for having returned a score for that hole lower than actually taken. In 2016 and beyond, a player in Stadler’s situation would be spared disqualification but would add the two penalty strokes he incurred for building a stance and two more penalty strokes (for a total of four) for not having included this penalty in his score for that hole. The new provision for scoring in stroke play provides that if a player returns a score card with a lower score than he made because he was unaware of a penalty he had incurred, he is no longer disqualified and instead incurs the penalty for the Rule he breached (in Stadler’s case, for building a stance) plus two more penalty strokes for returning that incorrect score. This more generous position is consistent with the longstanding provision of Rule 34-1b that saves a player from penalty after the close of competition if he had returned a score card with a hole score that was lower than actually taken because of a penalty he did not know he had incurred. 

As everyone except for those who have been stubbornly searching for their stray gutta percha balls for the past 120 years knows, effective Jan. 1, 2016, a player will no longer be allowed to anchor the club or gripping hand to his body or to use an “anchor point” during the stroke. It’s important to note that this change is a ban on a type of stroke and not on a type of club (i.e., a player may still use a long putter; he just can’t anchor during the stroke). 

Ball Moving After Address (Rule 18-2): In 2015, if a player’s ball moved after he addressed it (grounded his club), he was considered to have moved (and in- curred one penalty stroke and must replace the ball), unless it was clear that something else (e.g., wind) had caused the ball to move). Starting in 2016, there will be no automatic assumption that the player’s act of grounding the club near the ball caused the ball to move; referees will have to weigh all the facts and determine whether the player’s actions did in fact cause the ball to move. The result: fewer penalties for players and more tough judgment calls for referees. 

Local Rule for Use of Distance-Measuring Devices (Appendix IV): Starting in 2016, when the Local Rule allowing the use of a distance-measuring device is in effect, a player may use a distance-measuring device containing a function not allowed by the Local Rule (e.g., the ability to measure the gradient or temperature) provided he does not use that non-conforming function. Previously, the mere presence of that non-conforming function resulted in disqualification for the player. This change will open up the use of smartphones with distance-measuring apps. 


As the winter months continue on and snow prevents golf courses throughout Wisconsin from opening, golf coaches are reminded of the WIAA Home Course /practice regulation. This regulation allows WIAA high school golf programs to use three identified courses as practice sites where a WIAA golf team may be competing during the regular season and/or WIAA tournament series.

If other courses open prior to any of a school’s “home courses,” school golf programs can practice at these courses so long as the following criteria are met:

1.  The course will not be the site of a regular season or tournament series meet.

2.  The course is 25 miles or less from school or the school’s administration approves of the team traveling to this practice site.

3.  No WIAA golf teams can practice at University Ridge.

4.  The WIAA does not endorse loss of school time for golf practice.  

School administrators and coaches are reminded that golfers can go to any course on their own (with their father, mother, brother, sister, relative, friend, etc.) at any time without a coach being present and this practice does not count towards a team’s 15 meet maximum. 

WIAA Spring Season Regulations for Boy’s Golf indicates:  Page 14, 9., “A school which practices on a course (except a home course(s)) where later in the season (regular season and WIAA tournament series) it will be competing must count such practice in its maximum allowed meets.  Each school golf team may designate up to three courses in their area as their “home course.”  Exceptions:  One practice round will be allowed at the sectional site outside the 15 meet maximum.  Teams participating in the State Tournament will be allowed one designated practice round on the State Tournament site outside the 15 meet maximum.  University Ridge Golf Course may not be designated as a “home course” for any school golf program.”

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Wisconsin Interscholastic
Athletic Association
5516 Vern Holmes Drive
Stevens Point, WI 54482-8833
Phone (715) 344-8580
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