Operations and Procedures While Social Distancing

The PBCGA will use a proactive approach to managing social distancing at all tournaments to directly address concerns for safety. These plans were developed by using recommendations from global health partners and working in conjunction with the Back2Golf plan, an industry-wide collaboration of the PGA TOUR, PGA of America, USGA, LPGA, IAGA and allied golf associations. In addition, the PBCGA is working with local government officials to ensure community guidelines are met. In all discussions, three guiding principles were paramount to bringing competition back without interruption: limiting the overall number of people at an event, eliminating all possible touch points, and maximizing the game’s natural physical distance.

Back2Golf Three-Phased Approach
Back2Golf Presentation Explaining 3 Phases
Back2Golf Playbook
USGA Guidance


The PBCGA will limit all physical paperwork, providing digital access to tournament documents by email and through each event’s website. Players will score utilizing the Electronic Scoring System via the official PBCGA mobile application on a smart phone; no paper scorecards will be exchanged amongst competitors.

During competition and practice rounds, flagsticks will always remain in the hole and bunker rakes will be removed from the course. Additional rules may be implemented per USGA regulations and will be sent in player communications prior to each competition.

Players will be admitted to practice facilities only during designated warm-up times, set to begin one hour prior to each scheduled tee time. Host practice facilities may be closed after practice and competitive rounds.

Palm Beach County Orders Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Florida Health (Covid19) -Travelers
CDC.gov – Travelers
CDC.gov – Steps When Sick


COVID-19 PBCGA Policies and Procedures

Effective As of: June 12, 2020

The below guidelines will be used to responsibly administer Palm Beach County Golf Association (PBCGA) events until it is safe to lift the restrictions in accordance with county or state authorities. It is possible that individual counties will have more or less strict guidelines that could amend these guidelines for a particular event.

GENERAL

Social Distancing: Strict social distancing practices will be required at all tournaments. Six (6) feet of distance must be put between all players and spectators at all times while at an event. This includes but is not limited to: preparing for a shot, walking down the fairway/rough, on the teeing area and on the putting green. Interactions that are currently suspended include shaking hands and/or hugging prior to, during, and after any tournament round. All players are encouraged to carry a face mask in their golf bag at ALL times. Players MAY be requested to wear the face mask in situations where social distancing is not possible (ie: weather delays/evacuation, clubhouse access).

Communications: All PBCGA policies will be communicated to the Membership and Event Hosts through direct communications, registration pages, tournament pages, pre-event communications, and onsite signage. Should emergency information need to be communicated it will be done directly through email or text messages.

Field Size: Field sizes may be temporarily limited.

Starting Times: There will be no on-site registration or shotgun starts until mass gatherings are allowed by authorities. All events will be single or double tee starts until further notice.

PLAYERS

Site Arrival: Players must handle their own golf bags upon arrival until further notice. Players must not arrive more than one (1) hour before their official starting time. If players arrive more than one (1) hour prior to their tee time, they must stay in their vehicle. Please note that concessions will not be made for a player who is late.

PPE: Players are requested to bring their own sanitizers and masks. PPE will NOT be a requirement for players, however it is STRONGLY encouraged that players have PPE on-hand during times when social distancing is not possible (i.e. weather delays/evacuation, clubhouse access)

Stay at Home: In order to mitigate COVID-19, players should take their temperature before heading to the course. If they have a temperature of 100.4 or higher, have a cough, trouble breathing, exemplify any other symptoms known to be related to COVID-19, or it is known they have been exposed to COVID-19, or have traveled to areas experiencing community spread of the disease within the past 14 days they should stay home.

Reporting Illness: If a player becomes ill after being at a PBCGA event, they should immediately contact the PBCGA immediately by phone (561) 625-0400 and report their illness.

Hydration: Players are encouraged to bring their own water for proper hydration. Restrictions are lifted for personal coolers at most facilities. On-course water stations may be used if you bring your own cup and it’s allowed by authorities or the hosting facility.

Practice Areas: Limited to 50 people or fewer and must follow proper social distancing.

Confirm Player Profile Updated: Please make sure your player profile has your correct cell number so that you receive text message updates.  Update your profile here.

STARTING AREAS & SCORING

Starting Area: A tent and table with a cover will still be set up in the Starting Area. The Starter will issue a player’s scorecard directly to the marker. Player’s WILL NOT exchange their scorecards, or any other physical documents given to them. Starters box will NOT be used. Tees, pencils, and sharpies will NOT be AVAILABLE. We strongly encourage players to adequately prepare for tournaments and supply themselves with these items as needed, knowing they will not be available at the tournament site.

Player Information: All Player Information will be published to BlueGolf and available via the PBCGA mobile application. Hole location sheets and the notice to players will be available on tournament information pages, and accessible via PBCGA mobile application while onsite. Hole locations and notice to players will be available upon request at starting tee(s).

SCORING

After completion of play, players are to report to the designated scoring area. The scoring area will be set up for appropriate social distancing.

Scoring will not have chairs (except for the scoring official) or any community supplies such as pencils or the like.

Players will first verify their scores with their marker(s) verbally. The marker will then read the hole by hole scores off to the scoring official. The scoring official will then verbally read the hole by hole, nine-hole totals, and 18-hole total to the player to check that the entered information is correct. The scorecard is considered returned when the player confirms that scores are correct and leaves the scoring area.

The digital scoreboards will still be used for tournaments. Players and staff must follow strict social distancing around the scoreboard.

Once all players in the group have reported and confirmed their scores, they are to drop their scorecards in a box provided by the PBCGA and leave the scoring area.

Players must leave the host club facility after the round. Do not gather and congregate at the clubhouse, parking lot, or any other common areas. If players are waiting for prizes/merchandise on the final day, they can wait in their vehicle or at a safe social distance outside.

There will not be a traditional awards ceremony at the completion of the tournament. Results will be posted online only.

Note: to protect players from scoring issues, the clubhouse and parking lot will be considered the scoring area.

FLAGSTICKS

The ball must be holed in accordance with the rules of golf.

Flagsticks shall not be removed from the hole.

It is our recommendation that the hole is not filled with any material to the extent that it restricts the golf ball from falling into the hole.

If a player accidentally removes the flagstick before or after the ball is at rest, there is no penalty.

If the player purposefully removes the flagstick, it could result in a breach of the code of conduct and penalty(s) may apply.

BUNKER RAKES

Rakes shall be removed until local / state authorities allow them back on the course.

The following are procedures when a ball lies in a bunker:

The player may lift, clean, and place the ball within one club-length in accordance with the current PBCGA lift clean and place policy.

The ball must stay in the bunker and the player may NOT create a lie prior to placing the ball in its new spot.

Players are encouraged to smooth the area of the bunker that they played from with their foot AFTER their shot and prior to exiting the bunker.

RULES OF GOLF MODIFICATIONS

WHEN THE SCORECARD IS RETURNED: A player’s scorecard is deemed returned (no changes allowed to scorecard) once the player verbally acknowledges the scores posted to the PBCGA electronic scoring system and leaves the clubhouse or parking lot.

BUNKERS: Bunker rakes have been removed from the course in effort to limit physical touch points. If a ball comes to rest in a bunker, the player may lift the ball, and place the ball in that area. This area must be in the bunker and within one club-length of the original lie of the ball, but not nearer the hole than that spot. The ball may be cleaned when lifted.

FLAGSTICK: Under the Rules of Golf, players are permitted to leave the flagstick in the hole while putting. At this time, purposefully touching or removing the flagstick and replacing it before a stroke is deemed a Code of Conduct violation and is subject to penalty.

HOLING OUT: A ball is considered ‘holed’ if it is resting on an object in place to prevent the ball from falling to the bottom of the cup even if the ball is not completely resting below the surface of the ground. However, all measures will be taken by setup staff to ensure that whatever object is in the hole will indeed allow the ball to come to rest completely below the surface of the ground.


  1. BUNKER RAKES: With no bunker rakes available until local / state authorities allow them back on the course; How do I navigate and play from bunkers during competition?
    • USGA has released guidance specifically for this Rules situation.
    • Local Rule – Preferred Lies in Bunkers: The player may lift, clean, and place the ball within one club-length, but not nearer the hole than the original spot and  in accordance with the current PBCGA lift clean and place policy.
    • Care for the Course: Players are encouraged to smooth the area of the bunker that they played from with their foot prior to exiting the bunker.
  2. FLAGSTICK: When around the putting green what can I expect when holing out? How should I proceed around the hole and the flagstick?
    • The ball must be holed in accordance with the rules of golf.
    • Holes will be filled or adapted to allow for easy ball retrieval
      • It is our recommendation that the hole is not filled with any material to the extent that it restricts the golf ball from falling into the hole.
      • Limiting Touch Points: Flagsticks should not be touched for any reason.
    • If a player accidentally removes the flagstick before or after the ball is at rest, there is no penalty.
    • If the player purposefully removes the flagstick, it could result in a breach of the code of conduct and penalty(s) may apply.
  3. HANDLING EQUIPMENT: What should I expect when it comes to arriving and departing the golf course and the handling of my equipment?
    • Players must handle their own golf bags upon arrival and departure until further notice.
    • Specific facility policies will be handled on a course by course basis.
  4. FIELD SIZES: Why are the field sizes limited by number of players and divisions? Why are some tournament fields smaller than others?
    • Due to current restrictions the fields will be limited due to several factors.
    • The number of carts available at each facility varies and will be a factor in determining field sizes.
    • Due to the limitations on gatherings and to increase social distancing we are required to conduct events as 1 or 2-tee-starts.
    • Shotgun fields are not currently permitted.
  5. WAITLISTS: How does PBCGA manage Registrations and waitlists?
    • Registration is on a First come first Served basis
    • Dues Paid Members will receive Preference on entry
    • Fields are not only limited by overall size but also division to maximize playing opportunities
  6. HYDRATION: Since water and fruit will not be provided on the course can I bring a personal cooler?
    • Players are encouraged to bring their own water for proper hydration.
    • Restrictions are lifted for personal coolers at most facilities.
    • On-course water stations may be used if you bring your own cup and it’s allowed by authorities or the hosting facility.
  7. PPE: Am I required to wear PPE? (Face Masks, Hand Sanitizers, Gloves)
    • Players are requested to bring their own sanitizers and masks.
    • PPE will NOT be a requirement for players, however it is STRONGLY encouraged that players have PPE on-hand during times when social distancing is not possible (i.e. weather delays/evacuation, clubhouse access)
    • It is the players’ responsibility to bring their own PPE.
  8. WARM-UP: I have a set Warm-up routine before my round, what adjustments may have to be made and what time can I arrive at the course?
    • Players must not arrive more than one (1) hour before their official starting time.
    • If players arrive more than one (1) hour prior to their tee time, they must stay in their vehicle.
    • Practice facilities may be open but are restricted to 50 or less people practicing strict social distancing.
    • Please note that concessions will not be made for a player who is late.
  9. RAIN DELAYS: How will rain delays be handled while social distancing?
    • Specific facility policies will be handled on a course by course basis.
    • If no area is available to shelter in place/evacuate with adequate social distancing.
    • Players may be asked to shelter in their vehicles (short delays).
    • Rain delays may be limited to a set duration of time.
    • Communication and announcements will continue to be sent via text message.
  10. SKINS GAME: Will there be a skins game? If there is no physical registration before the round how can I participate?
    • Skins Game will be cashless until further notice.
    • Skins Game will be completed via Venmo ONLY.
    • Find us @PalmBeach-CountyGolf
    • Skins Game participation will ONLY be accepted prior to your starting time during the opening round.
    • Participation MUST be for the entire event.
    • Skins Participation Rule of Thumb – $10 per player per day
      • 36-hole event = $20 per player
      • 36-hole Team Events = $40 per team
      • 54-hole Team Events = $60 per team

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