(302) 234-3365 | dsga@dsga.org

DSGA Rules & Policies

The Delaware State Golf Association is an amateur golf association whose purpose is to promote golf and to conduct competitions for golfers of all skill levels. All tournaments will be played using the rules of golf as established jointly by the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland.

It is recommended that you obtain a copy of the 2016 USGA Rules of Golf book from your pro shop or from the DSGA, read it and become familiar with stroke play rules.

The DSGA has established a standard policy, for its competitions, that includes “playing the ball as it lies” (sometimes referred to as “Summer Rules”). On occasion, local conditions may make it necessary to modify this policy. If “preferred lies” are going to be used, players will be notified at the tournament site.

To be eligible to participate in a DSGA tournament you must be a member of a DSGA member club and have a USGA handicap index using the DSGA authorized handicap computational system. (Juniors are not required to be a member of a DSGA club to participate in Junior events).

In events that include golf professionals, professionals must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Golf professionals who reside in Delaware as their primary residence (professional accreditation and proof of residency required)
  • Golf professionals who have been invited by the DSGA to participate
  • Past Delaware Open Champions
  • Golf professionals, who reside out of state, who are employed by a DSGA member club at the time of entry and during the championship.
  • PGA Members whose primary employment is ownership or management of golf products or services at a “PGA Recognized Facility”.

Entry Submission Guidelines

Each tournament has an entry opening and closing date. To insure entry into an event, your entry must be received at the DSGA office by 5:00 P.M. on the closing date.  Once active in our online player database, a player can register online at www.dsga.org. Entries received after the closing deadline may be accepted to fill a tournament field at the discretion of the DSGA.

Handicap indexes will be verified for all tournaments. The index that will be used is the USGA index that is effective on the date specified on the entry.

The DSGA and the host club retain the right to accept or reject any entry, and shall also have the right to limit the number of entries in the field. In the event the field is oversubscribed, entries will be accepted based on when they were received by the DSGA, unless otherwise stated.

The DSGA has the right to deny participation in any tournament by any contestant who refuses to comply with the rules and regulations of the DSGA and/or the host club. Entries are subject to rejection at any time (including during the tournament). The reason for rejection may include unbecoming conduct. All tournaments and events listed in this book are subject to cancellation, change of date, and/or change of venue.

Entry fees will not be refunded unless cancellation of entry is made prior to the entry closing date of the event. Refunds, or partial refunds, for tournaments that are cancelled or shortened will be sent back to the player. Refunds for Four Ball and team events will be sent to the individual(s) who submitted the initial payment with the entry.

Cell Phones

All players/caddies are advised that the use of cellular phones for phone calls/emails/texts on the course is permitted as long as it is done so within the confines of Rule 14-3 and if the host facility allows those devices to be used. All players are expected to keep their phones in silent mode while on the course. If a player consistently disregards his fellow competitors, the DSGA will take appropriate disciplinary action. There could be a penalty for undue delay (Rule 6-7) or disqualification (33-7) based on a player’s actions.

Electronic Measuring Devices

The DSGA has adopted the local rule to allow players to use devices that measure distance only. The use of devices that gauge or measure other conditions that might affect a player’s play (e.g., wind or gradient) is not permitted (whether or not it is disabled).

Starting Times

All players are to be at their starting tee 5 minutes before their assigned tee time to receive instructions from the starter. Any player who arrives more than 5 minutes late for their assigned tee time will be disqualified from the event. A player who arrives late, but is ready to play within 5 minutes of his assigned tee time will incur a 2 stroke penalty for undue delay.

Returning Scorecard

Any player who fails to return a scorecard to the scoring area or who withdraws during play without notifying an official and personally surrendering his scorecard to that official is subject to a suspension from all DSGA tournaments for one year,, including the following year’s event at which the infraction occurred.

The following conditions and policies shall govern regulation of the pace of play by DSGA Rules Officials and Committee members.

Definition of Players Out of Position

  1. The First Three Groups off the 1st or 10th Tee – The group exceeds the time allotted to play at any time during the round.
  2. All Other Groups – The group, at any time during the round (a) exceeds the allotted time to play AND (b) reaches the teeing ground on a par 3 or par 4 hole when the group ahead has cleared the green OR on a par 5 hole when the group ahead has reached the green. This rule also applies to all groups on the golf course in the event the tournament is a shot-gun start.

Notification to Players Out of Position

  1. If a group is out of position, the players will be notified verbally by a member of the Committee or staff.
  2. Once notified, the players in the group will be subject to timing of their strokes as described in the section below.

Timing of players Out of Position

  1. When players in a group are being timed, the Committee member doing the timing will notify them verbally.
  2. When timing of strokes begins:
    • On All Parts of the Course except the Putting Green – Timing of a stroke begins when it is the player’s turn to play and he can play without interference or distraction. (Time spent determining yardage and conditions counts in the time taken to play a stroke.)
    • On the Putting Green – Timing of a stroke from the putting green begins when it is the player’s turn to play, he can play without interference or distraction, and has had a reasonable amount of time to (1) mark, lift and clean his ball, (2) repair his ball mark, (3) repair other ball marks on his line of putt, and (4) remove loose impediments from his line of putt. (Time spent reading the green counts in the time taken to play a stroke from the putting green.)

Criteria for Determining and Penalties for Undue Delay

If a group is out of position, a player will be deemed to have a bad timing and be subject to penalty under Rule 6-7 (Undue Delay) if he takes 45 seconds or more to play a stroke (except in extraordinary circumstances).

Stroke Play Penalty for Breach of Rule 6-7 (Undue Delay):

  1. One Bad Timing – Warning
  2. A Total of Two Bad Timings – 1 Stroke
  3. A Third Bad Timing – 2 Strokes
  4. A Subsequent Bad Timing – Disqualification


  1. A player who incurs one bad timing will be notified of such by the Committee as soon as practicable and warned that any subsequent bad timing during that round will subject him to penalty under Rule 6-7 (Undue Delay).
  2. The Committee will notify a player incurring a penalty under this rule as soon as practicable.
  3. When a group being timed regains their proper position on the course, the Committee will immediately suspend the monitoring or timing.
  4. The position of the group following has no bearing in determining whether or not a player’s pace of play is satisfactory under this policy.
  5. The Committee will determine the time allotted for play. Pace of play will either be printed on your scorecard or will be provided at registration.
  6. Any Pace of Play decision by a DSGA rules official or committee member is final.

The DSGA reserves the right to change or modify the pace of play policy at their discretion.

Players are required to observe good taste and dress appropriately for the golf course. Items of clothing such as jeans, cut-offs, short-shorts, tank tops, fishnet shirts, etc. are considered inappropriate and anyone attired in such manner will not be allowed to participate in any DSGA event. Member clubs may have a more strict dress code and will be enforced accordingly.

Unacceptable behavior at the tournament site or on the golf course at any DSGA tournament will not be tolerated at any time. This includes unacceptable language and/or gestures that might be directed at any DSGA official, fellow competitor, host club officials or spectators. An immediate expulsion from said tournament may result, along with a minimum one year suspension from all DSGA sponsored events, including the next year’s event from which the infraction occurred.

Complaints of any nature may be made in writing and sent to the address below and will be addressed by the grievances committee of the DSGA Board. 

Delaware State Golf Association
1319 Carruthers Lane Floor 2
Wilmington, DE 19803

Close Menu