What to expect at a GSGA Event in 2020

The highest priority for the Georgia State Golf Association (GSGA) is the health, safety and well-being of all players, spectators, GSGA staff, GSGA volunteers, as well as everyone at our host facilities that generously offer their golf course for our events. The intent of the following policies and procedures is to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19 by utilizing publicly available guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but the GSGA cannot guarantee a risk-free environment. It is everyone's responsibility to follow these guidelines and do your part to help make our events as safe as possible. We thank you in advance for familiarizing yourself and following all policies and procedures the GSGA has implemented. Until further notice, the following policies and procedures will be in effect:

General Information

  • We will be in regular contact with host facilities prior to and throughout each competition to discuss sanitizing practices for common touchpoints such as carts, practice balls, bathrooms, etc. While we aim to be consistent across the entire schedule with policies and procedures, there may be certain instances where a host club’s policies take precedence. Any modifications will be communicated to players through the event portal, e-mail and/or text message.

  • Before arriving on-site for a competition, if you feel sick or show any symptoms of COVID-19, or if within the last fourteen (14) days you have felt sick, shown any symptoms of COVID-19, been diagnosed with COVID-19 or been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, we request that you stay home and notify us before your starting time. Note: This year we are providing full refunds of entry fees regardless of reason until a player’s starting time (only for the first day of competition for multi-day events).

  • We ask that social (physical) distancing is always practiced by keeping a minimum of six (6) feet from others. Players and caddies found violating social distancing practices may be subject to a Code of Conduct violation.

  • There are no restrictions on spectators attending competitions. Spectators are advised to remain on cart paths and to maintain social distancing from players and other spectators.

  • Please ensure all contact information in Golf Genius is updated to receive text messages and e-mails about important event updates and weather delays. General competition announcements will be made prior to the practice round and each competitive round. If you have previously unsubscribed from text message notifications, we ask you to re-subscribe once again so you do not miss any essential information. Please contact Miller McCachern in our Rules & Competitions Department at mmccachern@gsga.org with any contact information updates. To re-subscribe to Golf Genius text messages from GSGA please text START to (888) 599-7983.

  • Before arriving on-site, please be certain that you have signed and returned the GSGA’s COVID-19 Participant Release and Waiver that was sent to you electronically prior to the competition. If you have not signed the waiver in advance, you will not be permitted to participate in the competition.

  • Player gifts, when applicable, will be safely packaged using PPE and sanitized by GSGA staff at least 72 hours prior to arriving on-site for the competition. Registration times, when applicable, will be lengthened and GSGA staff will have proper plans for safe distribution. This may include, but is not limited to, eliminating registration at championships and the distribution of player gifts taking place at the scoring area at the end of your round.

  • Buffet lunches have been eliminated until further notice. Food & Beverage offerings will vary from club to club and we will update Player Information pages on the event portal with all pertinent information.

  • Our Spectator Cart Policy will remain in effect. However, due to our current policy stipulating only one player per cart and cart needs related to course evacuations for dangerous situations, spectator cart availability will be extremely limited and cannot be guaranteed. Spectators must present valid ADA certification at the time of the cart request on-site. Spectators requesting a cart should do so in advance of the competition by contacting our Rules & Competitions Department.

Before Your Starting Time

  • We request that players not arrive at the golf course MORE THAN 60 MINUTES prior to your starting time so that potential large gatherings of players at practice facilities can be avoided.

  • Practice range stations will be spaced accordingly to promote social distancing. Practice balls will be set out without bags or baskets and hole flags will be removed from practice putting greens. Please note that it may be necessary for us to limit the amount of time, or number of persons allowed, to practice at a specific location (e.g., range, putting green, short game) in order to provide an opportunity for all players to have time to warm-up. 

  • A competition bulletin board/signage will be available near the starting tee so players may take a picture of all relevant documents including Modified Policies and Procedures, Notice to Players, Hole Location sheet, GSGA Rules of Play, Spectator policy and current GSGA cart policies. Paper copies of these documents will also be available on the starting tee. Additionally, all of these documents will be available for download on the respective competition’s Golf Genius event portal no later than 8:00 p.m. on the day preceding each competition round.

  • Players are asked to refrain from the traditional handshake or hug prior to the round.

  • Please be aware of all signage on and around the golf course that communicates important safety and competition instructions.

During Your Round

  • We will utilize single tee starts ONLY and will increase starting time intervals to 12 minutes between groups. In some cases, this modification has caused a reduction to our normal field sizes.

  • Use of motorized carts will be required for all qualifying rounds and championships excluding the Junior Championship, Girls’ Championship and Amateur Championship (championship proper only), and when used, motorized carts will be restricted to one player (Exception: Caddies and Four-Ball/Team events – in which case players will be permitted to share carts).

  • Caddies are permitted (except for the Junior and Girls’ Championships) and will be required to sign the GSGA’s COVID-19 Participant Release and Waiver in advance of a competition in which they will serve as a caddie. When motorized carts are used, caddies will be permitted to ride in a cart with their player at any time during the round.

  • For walking only championships, motorized carts will be positioned on the golf course to assist with a course evacuation for dangerous situations. During emergencies and course evacuations, players may abandon social distancing in an effort to safely seek shelter. Please review the Evacuation Plan prepared for each competition which will be provided to players.

  • Except for caddies and team events, the only time players may be in a cart with another person is during an evacuation for a dangerous situation. We will make every effort to have designated evacuation locations where players can socially distance. Information will be sent via text message in addition to verbal announcements prior to the suspension of play.

  • Shuttle carts will NOT be available at ANY GSGA competitions, including walking only competitions.

  • Tees, pencils, permanent markers, sunscreen, bug spray, etc., will NOT be provided at the starting tee and players should come prepared.

  • Hole Locations and Notice to Players will be posted online to the Golf Genius event portal. A link to access these documents will be texted and e-mailed to the field. These documents will still be available in paper form at the starting tee.

  • Digital scoring will be used for all qualifying rounds and championships and no paper scorecards will be collected by the GSGA. Players are encouraged to use the Golf Genius application (available on iOS and Android) for Live Scoring. Instructions on how to download and use the app can be found here. Players will be able to print a blank scorecard on the event portal to bring with them for their round. More information on the GSGA’s Modified Scoring Procedure can be found here.

  • Players are encouraged to leave the flagstick in the hole at all times. However, prior to the start of the round, it is recommended one player or caddie in each group should be designated by the group to be responsible for holding, attending, removing and replacing the flagstick on each hole throughout the round. Whomever touches a flagstick during a round, they are encouraged to use sanitizing wipes or hand sanitizer before and after touching a flagstick. There will not be any items (e.g., PVC, foam, etc.) placed in the bottom of holes so golf balls will come to rest in the bottom of the hole. 

  • All bunker rakes will be removed from the golf course. In competitions where players are required to ride in carts, a rake may be assigned to each player for use throughout the round, and if so, players will be asked to maintain bunkers to care for the course. For walking only competitions, bunkers will either be played as the ball lies and players may use their foot or a club to smooth footprints when exiting the bunker, or a volunteer will be assigned to rake a bunker after a player has played from it.

  • Bottled water may be available at limited locations on the golf course. Snacks and fruit will not be provided. The GSGA Hydration Awareness Plan for 2020 can be found here

  • GSGA staff and volunteers will wear face masks when engaging with players and unable to maintain social distancing.

  • Players should call or e-mail the Official in Charge (contact information can be found online) with any questions and should refrain from physically visiting Tournament Headquarters. A phone number may be provided to players to call in the event rules assistance is needed.

After Your Round Is Complete

  • Players are asked to refrain from the traditional handshake or hug following the round.

  • When your round is complete, please proceed immediately to the scoring area, keep strict social distancing when in the scoring area and follow the instructions of the scoring official as the scoring process will have modified procedures in effect that could include, but is not limited to video and/or audio verification processes.

  • Upon completion of the scoring process, players are encouraged to depart the golf course property (exceptions include potential playoff participants or event winners).

  • Practice facilities will NOT be available to players after your round.

  • For the rest of the year, traditional paper scoreboards have been eliminated to reduce areas of player and spectator congestion. In most instances, digital versions of a scoreboard will also be eliminated, and players must rely on their personal devices and the Golf Genius mobile application for competition scoring.

  • Traditional trophy and awards ceremonies will have a different look and feel. Paper gift certificates will not be distributed. The golf shop will receive a prize distribution and players will be notified of their winnings. Gift certificate amounts will be displayed with the final results on the Golf Genius event portal and mobile app.

  • A simplified version of a trophy presentation will take place with pictures and video of the winner only. Players should not congregate at this time. Added sanitization measures will take place to ensure the trophy is clean and safe for touching by the winner. Take home trophies, when applicable, will remain as originally boxed and distributed to those winners or will be mailed to the player shortly thereafter.  

Player Responsibilities

  • If within the last fourteen (14) days, you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, been in close contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, have had a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19, you must stay home and notify the GSGA to withdraw from an event.

  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, lips, and eyes.

  • Wash your hands frequently. If you are unable to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer (Note: We will be providing hand sanitizer to players at events). 

  • Please familiarize yourself and follow publicly available best practices as published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and state / local governments.

  • PLEASE BE PATIENT. Allow more time for things such as waiting your turn for use of practice facilities, starting and scoring procedures, awards distribution, etc.

  • Respect all direction and instruction provided by GSGA staff, volunteers and/or the host club regarding safety measures in place.

  • Respect your fellow players and understand everyone also has their own personal comfort level regarding safety practices. However, everyone must abide by the policies and procedures put in place by GSGA and the host club. Failure to abide by such policies and procedures may result in disqualification due to a Code of Conduct violation and result in suspension from future competitions. 

Join GSGA

The Georgia State Golf Association (GSGA) is the governing body of golf in Georgia and serves as an Allied Golf Association to the United States Golf Association (USGA). Membership in the GSGA is open to all golfers, facilities and golf clubs throughout the state. Golfers that join the GSGA have access to invaluable resources that allow them to advance their knowledge of the game and numerous opportunities to play in both competitive and fun, casual events. By becoming a member of the GSGA, you will be joining a community that includes more than 350 clubs and 75,000 golfers who all have one thing in common: a passion for the game of golf.