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To all Golfweek Amateur Tour Members,


On behalf of the entire Golfweek organization, I want to thank you for your membership of the Golfweek Amateur Tour.  We are incredibly proud of our relationship with what we feel is the best option for organized amateur competition for folks like you and me. 


I am writing to inform you of some changes to our magazine frequency and format for 2021. Our plan is to publish four issues in 2021 including our annual Golfweek’s Best in April and Ultimate Guide in December. In addition to these two issues, we will publish a new issue called Get Equipped in February that will highlight everything new in the game for 2021 including equipment, gear, places to visit and more. The second new issue is titled Golf Life in July and will feature in-depth stories and interviews with the movers, shakers and personalities that drive the business and sport of golf. We are excited about the new schedule and plan to bring the same style of expert, in-depth journalism that you expect from Golfweek..


I hope that you also enjoying www.golfweek.usatoday.com as well as our weekly digital newsletter products including: Monday Rewind, Get Equipped, Get Primed, Golf Life and Get Better. You can sign up for these here.


Thank you again for being a Golfweek Amateur Tour Member. 



Patrick Leahy
VP of Revenue - USA TODAY Golf
Publisher – Golfweek









USGA Rules are always in effect unless modified below. 
*** LOCAL COURSE RULES not listed on Tournament Notices are not to be used.

MAXIMUM SCORE PER HOLE – Per Rule 21.2, we will be using a Triple Bogey Max Score for all flights EXCEPT Champ flight. After you've reached Double Bogey and have not holed out, pick up and record Triple Bogey for the hole. Champ flight will record however many strokes required until the ball is in the hole.

Optional Cash Games: 
  • Closest to Pins for all flights: $10
  • Flight Skins: $10
  • Super Skins for all flights: $10
  • 50/50 Raffle to benefit Stand-Up-2-Cancer: $10

Playing Conditions – Playing the ball as it lies or lift clean and place will be determined and announced prior to each round. However, the general rule is if it is cart path only we will play lift clean and place (within 1 SCORECARD length) keeping the ball in the same condition. If it is NOT cart path only we will be playing the ball down.

Golf Cart Rules - Golf Cart transportation is mandatory unless otherwise noted. Cart path and/or course restrictions for golf carts will be determined and announced prior to each round.

TEES TO PLAY – Announced prior to the start of the round. The tees to play are listed on the official tournament scorecard, rules sheet, and tee times/pairings page.

DISTANCE MEASURING DEVICES – Rule 4.3 allows the use of devices that measure or gauge distance only is in effect. Slope, temperature, wind speed must be turned off. 

ONE-BALL RULE IS IN EFFECT - The ball the player plays must be named on the current List of Conforming Golf Balls issued by the United States Golf Association. Players must have a marking on the ball they place in play.
Note: The GWAT National Championship is played with the One-Ball Rule in effect. (Model Local Rule 8:G-4) - Starting in 2022 the Tidewater Tour will play the One Ball Rule.

SUSPENSION OF PLAY – If by the course (signaled by three consecutive air horn blasts) or by the Live Score system, players in the process of playing a hole may complete the hole. Players in between the play of two holes must stop play immediately.

SUSPENSION OF PLAY FOR DANGEROUS SITUATION - All play must cease immediately. A suspension of play for a dangerous situation will be signaled by one long air horn blast. All players will also be informed of the suspension via the scoring system. All practice areas will be closed during a suspension of play.

RESOLVING RULES ISSUES DURING ROUND - If a competitor is doubtful of his rights or procedure, he may, without penalty, complete the hole with two balls.

OUT OF BOUNDS - Out of bounds is defined by the inside points of white stakes at ground level, by the inside points of fence posts at ground level, and by the inside edge of paved roads and beyond.

PENALTY AREAS - Defined by red stakes and/or lines or yellow stakes and/or lines and includes unmarked drainage ditches and other open water areas. Treat all penalty areas as lateral water hazards unless otherwise marked.

GROUND UNDER REPAIR - Defined by white lines. White-lined areas tying into cart paths are part of those obstructions. Fire anthills and french drains are ground under repair.

STONES IN BUNKERS - Rules 12.2a and 12.2b allow for players to touch and move loose impediments in bunkers. Stones, leaves, food wrappers are examples of loose impediments.

EMBEDDED BALL - Rule 16.3 allows relief for a ball embedded anywhere in the “general area”, except when embedded in the sand.

BALL AT REST MOVED ON PUTTING GREEN - Rule 13.1d When a player’s ball lies on the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved by the player, his partner, his opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment. The moved ball or ball-marker must be replaced. This Rule applies only when the player’s ball or ball-marker lies on the putting green and any movement is accidental.

Note: If it is determined that a player’s ball on the putting green was moved as a result of wind, water, or some other natural cause such as the effects of gravity:
  • If the ball had been lifted and replaced on its original spot before it moved, the ball must always be replaced on its original spot, regardless of what caused it to move.
  • The ball must be played from its new spot only if the ball had not been lifted and replaced before it moved.

WOOD CHIPS AND MULCH – Are loose impediments

DROP ZONES - Players will be informed of Drop Zones, if any, prior to the start of play. If drop zones are not covered in announcements prior to the round, there are no drop zones for the round.

PACE OF PLAY (Model Local Rule 8:K-2) - Each group is expected to keep pace with the group ahead. The GWAT Tour Director and/or his designee will decide any necessary pace of play penalties. PLAY READY GOLF!

Temporary Lines, Cables and power equipment (Model Local Rule 8:F-22) - Temporary lines, cables, and equipment for power used by the course (Includes mats covering or poles supporting them) are obstructions:
  • If they are readily movable, they are movable obstructions and a player may remove them without penalty under Rule 15.2.
  •  Otherwise they are immovable obstructions from which the player may take relief

TEMPORARY IMMOVABLE OBSTRUCTIONS (Model Local Rule 8:F-23)  – Include greenside fans, starting/scoring tents & temporary GWAT signage, and/or flags. Interference under this Local Rule means that the player has Physical interference and/or Line of sight interference. In such situations, line of sight relief is allowed.

SODDED AREAS (Model Local Rule 8:F-7) - A ball coming to rest in a newly sodded seam or edge may be lifted, cleaned, and dropped at the nearest point to where the ball lay which is not in either condition. Relief is granted for the ball only and not the stance. The nearest point of relief may be on the sod itself. All seams and edges are considered the same condition.

AERATION HOLES (Model Local Rule 8:E-4) - Through the green, a ball that comes to rest in or on an aeration hole may be lifted, without penalty, cleaned and dropped, as near as possible to the spot where it lay but not nearer the hole. On the putting green, a ball that comes to rest in or on an aeration hole may be placed at the nearest spot, not nearer the hole that avoids the situation.

Extensive Damage Due to Heavy Rain and Traffic (Model Local Rule 8:F4) - Ground under repair may include areas of unusual damage, including areas where spectators or other traffic (Carts and maintenance equipment) have combined with wet conditions to alter the ground surface materially, but only when so declared by agreement of the group.

ELEVATED POWER LINES (Model Local Rule 8:E11) - If a ball strikes an elevated power line or cable, the stroke must be canceled and replayed, without penalty. If the ball is not immediately recoverable, another ball may be substituted.

“If a player does not know whether his or her ball is in the penalty area [identify location], the player may play a provisional ball under Rule 18.3, which is modified in this way.

In playing the provisional ball, the player may use the stroke-and-distance relief option (see Rule 17.1d(1), the back-on-the-line relief option (see Rule 17.1d(2)) or, if it is a red penalty area, the lateral relief option (see Rule 17.1d(3)). If a dropping zone (see Model Local Rule E-1) is available for this penalty area, the player may also use that relief option.

Once the player has played a provisional ball under this Rule, he or she may not use any further options under Rule 17.1 in relation to the original ball.

In deciding when that provisional ball becomes the player’s ball in play or if it must or maybe abandoned, Rule 18.3c(2) and 18.3c(3) apply except that:

  • When Original Ball Is Found in Penalty Area Within Three-Minute Search Time. The player may choose either to:
  • Continue to play the original ball as it lies in the penalty area, in which case the provisional ball must not be played. All strokes with that provisional ball before it was abandoned (including strokes made and any penalty strokes solely from playing that ball) do not count, or
  • Continue to play the provisional ball in which case the original ball must not be played.
  • When Original Ball Is Not Found Within Three-Minute Search Time or Is Known or Virtually Certain to Be in Penalty Area. The provisional ball becomes the player’s ball in play.

SCORING - There is only one official scorecard per group. Live scoring is mandatory, and scores must be entered accurately upon completion of each hole.
  • At the end of play, the paper scorecard needs to be validated against the live scoring. Completing this step only takes a few minutes and will alleviate any scoring discrepancies when we are validating scores in the clubhouse.
  • All players within the group must be sign the paper scorecard.
  • Always return your card to the scoring area first before putting your clubs in your car.

SCORECARD – A player’s scorecard is deemed returned (no changes allowed to scorecard) once the score is posted/confirmed in the scoring system.

WHEN SCORECARD AND LIVE SCORE DO NOT MATCH – In the event the scores on the scorecard and live score do not match, an attempt will be made to have the player clarify the issue (mistakes happen), if the player is not able to be located, the higher score of the two scores will be used. It is the players' responsibility to verify scores on both the scorecard and live score before turning in the card.

MODIFICATION OF SCORECARD PENALTY EXCEPTION - Exception: If a competitor returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken due to failure to include one or more penalty strokes that, before returning his scorecard, he did not know he had incurred, he is not disqualified. In such circumstances, the competitor incurs the penalty prescribed by the applicable Rule.

TIES, PLAYOFFS & PRIZE DISTRIBUTION - Any playoff necessary to determine 1st will be determined on the course starting on hole 18 unless otherwise instructed. The playoff will continue until the tie is broken or darkness stops play. If something prohibits us from doing a playoff, then we will do a scorecard playoff starting with the #1 handicap hole.

  • Players are responsible for making themselves available at the scoring table in order to start the playoff in reasonable time frame.
  • If a player is not available to participate in the playoff, that player forfeits and assumes the Directors finishing position without objections.
  • All other ties in a flight will be resolved on the score card using the hole handicap method starting with the number one handicap hole.
  • GWAT will not replace any lost gift cards after a tournament is played.


  •  The time limit for looking for a lost ball is 3 minutes (down from 5)
  •  There are no such things as water hazards any longer, these are penalty areas. When playing out of a penalty area, you are allowed to move loose impediments and ground your club.
LOOSE IMPEDIMENTS IN A BUNKER: Rules 12.2a and 12.2b
  • Allow for players to touch and move loose impediments in bunkers.
  • Grounding your club in a bunker is prohibited.
  • Practice swings which touch the sand are prohibited.

Leaving flagstick in Hole: Rule 13.2a(2)
  • You may keep the Flag Stick in the hole when putting on the green.

Alternative to Stroke and Distance for Lost Ball or Ball Out of Bounds:
  • There will be NO Local Rule (Model Local Rule 8:E-5) in place for Lost Ball or a Ball Out of Bounds. If you think your ball may be Out of Bounds or Lost, PLEASE, hit a provisional ball before you go and look. For Pace of play and the enjoyment of all players, you do not want to DRIVE back to the area where you hit your previous shot if the ball is indeed lost or OB.

  • A club-length is defined as the length of the longest club in the player’s bag, except that this cannot be his or her putter.

  • Will be taken from KNEE height, not shoulder height. If you do this or see someone do this, please have the person re-drop. The is no penalty for an improper drop.

Damage on the putting green – Rule 13.1c(2)
  • Includes all types of damage (such as ball-marks, shoe damage, indentations from a club or flagstick, animal damage, etc.), except aeration holes, natural surface imperfections or natural wear of the hole.

Standards of player conduct: Rule 1.2

Conduct Expected of All Players: Rule 1.2a
  • It declares that players are expected to play in the spirit of the game by:
  • Acting with integrity: For example, by following the Rules, applying all penalties, and being honest in all aspects of play.
  • Showing consideration to others: For example, by playing at a prompt pace, looking out for the safety of others, and not distracting the play of another player.
  • Taking good care of the course: For example, by replacing divots, smoothing bunkers, repairing ball-marks, and not causing unnecessary damage to the course. This includes carts, rakes, flags and any other items deemed part of the course by the Director.

  • Rules 1-24 and the Definitions in these Rules of Golf, and
  • Any “Local Rules” the Committee adopts for the competition or the course.

  • Player Responsibility for Applying the Rules. Players are responsible for applying the Rules to themselves:
  • Players are expected to recognize when they have breached a Rule and to be honest in applying their own penalties.
  • If a player knows that he or she has breached a Rule that involves a penalty and deliberately fails to apply the penalty, the player is disqualified.
  • If two or more players deliberately agree to ignore any Rule or penalty they know applies and any of those players have started the round, they are disqualified (even if they have not yet acted on the agreement).

Cheating during the stipulated tournament round and/or while competing for the Optional Skins and Pins games WILL NOT BE TOLERATED and could lead to EXPULSION from the Tour.

References:  GWAT Tour Manual



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