2019 Tournament Regulation Appendix

Appendix A – Definitions

  1. AGA EVENTS – The season-long schedule of AGA tournaments.
  2. AGA Headquarters – 7600 E. Redfield Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85260. AzGolf.org / 800-458-8484; 602-944-3035
  3. Member – A member of the AGA in good standing for the current year.
  4. Alternate – A Player who is not yet in the tournament field and is listed on the Wait List.
  5. Wait List – The ranking/order in which Players are selected for entry into the Tournament field, based on the specific eligibility requirements for each such tournament.
  6. Co-Hosted Tournament – A Co-Hosted Tournament is a tournament which is conducted by the AGA or contracted for by the AGA, in conjunction with a tournament host site.
  7. Sanctioned Tournament – A Sanctioned Tournament is a tournament which is endorsed or supported by the AGA, but for which these may be no contract between the AGA and/or the tournament site. Points may be given for performance in Sanctioned Tournaments which meet the appropriate criteria.
  8. Players Cup Points List – The ordering of Members based on performance points allocated for tournament play for the calendar year.
  9. Team Players Cup Points List – The annual ordering of TPA members for the Players Cup awards and eligible to qualify for the Goldwater Cup and Shootout teams.
  10. United States Golf Association – USGA is the United States Golf Association, which represents in the State of Arizona on matters of Qualifying for National Championships, Amateur Status, Handicapping, Course Rating, and other amateur association issues.

AGA events designed to stand alone financially. In the case of new events, a subsidy may be provided in accordance with the Rules for Amateur Status. Teams representing the AGA or Arizona are covered by the AGA’s General Fund, separate from tournament activities, as they serve the vision and purposes of the Association. Tournament Budget Entry fees are established with the Host Site for events and are negotiated individually.

Site Selection

Entry fees for each event are negotiated with the Host Site individually, and depend on time of year and costs incurred.

Sites for AGA events are selected by the following process:

  1. Solicitations for interest in hosting events are sent each summer to a wide variety of courses with the event particulars: dates, fees, and negotiable items;
  2. When negotiating with potential sites, the directive is to consider the following: First – Date availability; Second – Course quality; Third – Cost; Fourth – Variety in location and type of course; Fifth – Conditioning

Sample Tournament Budget

  • 40-50% – Course Fees (may include food and beverage and carts
  • 15-25% – Awards, Merchandise Payouts
  • 25% – Administration (Staffing, credit card fees, supplies, travel, equipment, etc)
  • 5% – End of year Players Cup
  • 5% – Volunteer Expenses

Determining Yardages & Hole Placements, Course Markings

Arizona Amateur – Qualifying Rounds

Course yardages and hole placements will be chosen to facilitate the selection of the best 64 players for match play. Difficulty will be at the highest reasonable level, with the goal to have each player use every club in the bag.

  • Par 5’s may be converted to Par 4’s for the sake of pace and to demand long iron play.
  • Par 3’s will be set to offer variety and challenge. The target difficulty is the middle range of skill of those who qualify for match play.

Holes will generally be cut in the middle to rear portions of greens near edges (4-6 paces). Front locations will be employed on occasion when a penalty area or other feature adds significant challenge. The goal is to reward great shots with makeable putts. Difficult putting areas are avoided if possible in the stroke play qualifying. This is best achieved with a selection of 6 difficult placements and 12 moderate placements.

Arizona Amateur – Match Play Rounds

Yardages and hole placements will vary to maximize risk-reward choices, to maximize the benefit for positioning shots, and to reward excellent play. The goal is to identify the best player, which may prove too difficult for many. This is best achieved with a selection of 12 difficult placements and 6 moderate placements.

Arizona Stroke Play

Full field rounds: The longest reasonable course will be chosen that reflects good shot-making with generally moderate hole placements. The goal is to set the playability of the course for the middle of those who will make the cut to 60 & ties, which may prove very difficult for the weaker players in the field. This is best achieved with a selection of 9 easy and 9 moderate placements.

Final rounds: The goal is to set a stern test at near maximum length, given the option of shortening a par 5 to a par 4, and varying the lengths of par 3’s depending on the difficulty of the daily hole placement. This is best achieved with the selection of 9 moderate and 9 difficult placements.

Arizona Mid-Amateur/AGA Championship

Course presentation will mirror Arizona Amateur qualifying rounds and the full field rounds of the Stroke Play. The one exception is that for the Mid-Amateur.

Non-Major Tour Events

The goal is to set yardages and hole placements to match the abilities of the average player in the field, which generally will more reflect the largest landing areas for the greatest number of players, and moderate hole placements. Most front placements will be avoided as that generally favors players who have left the ball short of the green.

Out of Bounds

  1. Out of Bounds is the area beyond the boundaries of the course on which play is prohibited. It is best for all involved when out of bounds markings are as far from playing areas as possible. The boundaries of the course must be completely defined if there are any contiguous areas where play should not be permitted.
  2. Acceptable markings include: white stakes, white lines, fence-posts, walls and masonry bases for walls, or any continuous physical structure. Since out of bounds is determined at ground level, in the absence of a continuous border, there must be clear visual lines of sight between the bases of marking elements, such as stakes.
  3. When stakes are used, there should be no more than 25 yards between them where balls may likely come to rest, and no more than 40 yards elsewhere. It is acceptable to include other objects with stakes, such as large tree trunks or rock outcroppings, so long as the boundary line is continuous. Arrows as extensions of boundaries are not an acceptable marking. Tie-offs that offer distinct sightlines, however, may be employed where it is unlikely that balls will come to rest beyond them. It’s best to employ such markings when a ball coming to rest in such an area would likely be played under stroke and distance whether as lost, out of bounds, or unplayable.
  4. The entire area of play should be identified such that the player never has any doubt as to his rights or options. When parking lots, clubhouse areas, maintenance areas, public walkways, adjacent holes where a “shortcut” would endanger other players, or large nurseries are near play, out of bounds is a reasonable marking. The definition(s) of out of bounds must be indicated in the local Rules. When white states are used, we recommend that a white paint spot be placed at the base of each stake in case one is moved during play.

Penalty Areas

  1. As in boundaries, it is best if penalty areas are completely marked when within the boundaries of a course. They also can act as a boundary when considered to go to infinity such that play on the other side of the penalty area is impractical of impossible.
  2. Penalty areas may be marked by stakes or lines or other designations such as “edge of turfed areas”. Stakes merely identify the location of lines, and do not define the margin of the penalty area unless other designations are not employed.
  3. The default color for penalty areas is red. Yellow markings are used only when the negotiation of the area is significant in the character of playing the hole.
  4. When a penalty area is adjacent to a green and it is difficult for the player to see from a distance where a ball might cross into the penalty area because of angles or curves in the line, it may be best to place a dropping zone along the line of sight point to the edge of the penalty area.
  5. The Local Rule for additional relief for a red penalty area using the “opposite margin” should be employed only when the other available options may create undue difficulties



If stakes alone are used, sighting base to base is the definition, so they must be placed so that in all circumstances the margin is easily identifiable. In most cases with clean turf, the stakes should be no more than five yards apart, less when there are severe curves or topography. When the margin of the penalty area is not visible from the primary playing areas, then larger (4’) stakes should be employed to define the maximum extent of the penalty areas for players. This also assists them in determining point of entry.


Yellow – mark as near the fall line into the penalty area as possible, making sure the line is visible from behind the penalty area, using stakes where necessary to identify the location of the line.

Red – mark near the fall line into the penalty area, but far enough from it that both right-handed and left-handed players will have an equitable stance and ball position after dropping. This is easily accomplished by walking a line along the break point of the slope into the penalty area with the paint gun on the outside. In all cases, lines should be painted while walking with the paint gun on the outside. That separation provides adequate space for all players. When severe slopes or intervening vegetation makes it difficult to keep a simple line or the line may not be visible, it is reasonable to include high vegetation inside the penalty area. The consideration is giving a player taking relief a reasonable next shot, avoiding a “double” penalty by creating a very difficult lie after a drop.

Changes of color – Often a penalty area will affect shots from different directions or provide different challenges requiring a yellow marking in one area, transiting to a red marking in another. This is completely reasonable. When deciding where to change colors, consider all possible hole locations for the play of the hole, and make the change from yellow to red accordingly. Where this provides an inconsistent, or difficult to determine result, then expanding the yellow marking and employing a dropping zone is appropriate.

When the play of two holes is affected, and the primary effect on one hole leads to a yellow marking, but red is more equitable on the second hole, use the yellow marking and note on the Rules of play that in the play of that second hole, the penalty area may be treated as a lateral penalty area.A consistent, smoothly shaped line is best so that players can better judge where a ball may have crosses. Intervening vegetation and obstructions can create difficulty keeping a line smooth. Include vegetation and exclude obstructions where possible. In all cases, think about the shot a player would have to make from a given position just outside the line, and attempt to avoid creating a secondary penalty.

If a penalty area affects play differently on two adjacent holes, a local rule may be used to define one area as a certain color in the play of a single hole only.

Dropping Zones

Dropping Zones solve issues in many circumstances when the design of a penalty area does not fit the hole being played. Yellow markings with dropping zones often solve color-change issues, allowing continuance of yellow lines where dropping behind the penalty area is not feasible. This is the preferred marking when the approach shot to a green must contend with a penalty area that somewhat surrounds the surface and is too large for a simple marking.

Although a painted circle with some demarcation indication a drop zone is regularly used, the preferred AGA method is the use of two tee markers of a different color from teeing grounds, which can be moved from day to day to keep a clean dropping area available. The conditions of competition or local Rules should define the DZ as a teeing ground is defined, “a rectangle, two club-lengths deep”.

Drop Zones should provide a reasonable shot to the target. The use of short teeing grounds as zones is effective, requiring no additional markings. In this case, the zone is defined by the “cut of the grass”.It is not necessary, though desirable, to have zones farther from the hole than where a ball crossed into the penalty area.

Ground Under Repair

Ground markings are to be employed only when necessary. They are not used to replace poor conditioning, but rather to ensure “similar playing conditions” in landing areas and green surrounds. It is not to create good lies for players throughout the course. On a course where conditioning is excellent, a bare area in a fairway landing area may be marked. That same condition would not be marked on a course where such areas were prevalent. Remember the adage of “Play the course as you find it!” from Richard Tufts.

If certain conditions are so widespread that individual markings are not feasible such that all players can be treated with equity, either the condition will be ignored or a local Rule may be established at the discretion of the Committee (“Play the Course as you Find It” philosophy).

In deciding what to mark, consider where the condition exists. Rutted areas in fairway landing areas deserve attention, where the same areas in deep roughs or inside tree lines do not. In general, create a benefit for good shots, when the player has hit the ball where it’s supposed to go, not when a marking will give relief for a bad shot. If the player can play a stroke to the back of the ball without difficulty, relief should not be available. Uncomfortable lies exist throughout the course, like divots, where no relief is available. There should be no attempt to create options where they are not necessary. On the other hand, if a player’s only option because of an unusual condition is to play away from a desired target while another player a few yards away would not have to do so, then the first player deserves something better.

That begins with an assessment of the quality of play of the majority of the field. Markings should target the middle 50% of the field in driving distance and skill level. The first establishes where markings begin, using a 2/3 of anticipated driving distance as the starting point on Par 4’s and 5’s. The second establishes how far from the center of the target area or the edge of greens to carry markings. Normally markings around greens should include five yards beyond the bottom of slopes.

Before beginning, tour the course, driving the centerlines of holes, to determine the general conditioning throughout the course. Beginning markings before a tour leads to inconsistency. Once the tour is complete, consider what issues might be better addressed in the supplementary Rules Notice to Players. General conditions belong on the Notice; marking for exceptions to prevailing conditions. Never mark an area covered by another Rule with one exception – a wet area that will likely be dry for a significant portion of the field where large areas of mud may exist.

If it is unlikely that more than one or two players would encounter the area, do not mark it.

It’s best to define GUR no more than three days prior to an event to ensure the areas marked won’t change in character.

Other Dropping Zones for Unplayable Balls, Obstructions, G.U.R.

Use of dropping zones as additional options for relief is the easiest way to avoid singular relief options in difficult circumstances, such as large areas where nearest point is not easily determined, or when the relief would effectively penalize the player because of intervening obstacles. In all cases, such areas should be well-away from primary playing areas, generally in the rough adjacent to the problem being addressed. These are also useful in providing a clear option when several adjacent relief areas intersect to simplify the problem for players. Nothing should be done, though, to minimize difficulty that would exist if the relief area was not present (such as casual water behind intervening trees).

Dropping zones may be placed nearer the hole than where the ball may lie. Place the dropping zone where it will be used, and in such an area that neither provides a significant penalty nor advantage.

Local Rules & Conditions

  • Out of Bounds – Defined by the course-side edges at ground level of boundary walls, perimeter fence posts, paved roads, white stakes, and white connecting lines. A ball that comes to rest beyond the boundary of the hole being played is out of bounds, even though it may lie on another part of the course.
  • Abnormal Ground Conditions:
    • Aeration Holes on the Putting Green – Relief without penalty. The player must place the ball at the nearest point not nearer the hole than its original position avoiding interference from only that aeration hole.
    • Burrowing Animal Holes – In desert areas (non-turfed areas) relief is for lie of ball and area of intended swing only, not for stance.
    • Ground Under Repair is an area enclosed by white lines.
    • Sod Seams – Except in a penalty area, if a seam of cut turf (not the turf itself) interferes with the lie of the ball or the area of intended swing, the player may take relief without penalty by dropping the ball within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, no nearer the hole. All seams within the cut turf area are considered the same seam.
  • Integral Parts of the Course – Includes stakes, rods, wires, cables or wrappings in close contact with a tree, as opposed to other supports, which are obstructions.
  • Obstructions
    • Status of Paths – All paths other than concrete or asphalt are integral parts of the course unless otherwise indicated on the event local Rules.
    • Prepared Rock – All areas of rock closely arranged for a functional purpose such as for drainage or erosion control are obstructions. All other rock, stones, and boulders are integral parts of the course.
    • Adjacent Obstructions – Obstructions adjacent to another obstruction are part of that same obstruction.
    • White lined areas tied into obstructions share the same status as the obstruction.* The Notice to Players at any event may supersede these Local Rules.

Conditions of the Competition

List of Conforming Driver Heads – Only driver heads approved by the USGA may be used. Penalty for breach – Disqualification.

Conduct Policy – See AGA Conduct Policy at azgolf.org

List of Conforming Golf Balls – Only golf balls conforming with the Rules of Golf and on the list of approved balls may be used. Penalty for breach – Disqualification.

Pace of Play – See the AGA Pace of Play Policy at AzGolf.org.

Close of Competition – The competition is closed when all scores have been posted on the official scoreboard and the results have been announced.