Tournament  Policies

BERKS COUNTY GOLF ASSOCIATION

f you plan to participate in a Championship event conducted by the Berks County Golf Association, it is important that you read the following information. It is your responsibility to know the rules and regulations concerning participation in Berks County Golf Association events.  Tournament policies of the Berks County Golf Association are summarized herein to answer questions that may arise.

RULES OF PLAY 
Play is governed by the Rules of the United States Golf Association and, where applicable, by local Notice to Competitors, Conditions and Definitions, subject to change for particular tournaments by the BCGA Tournament Committee.  Please refer to the BCGA Rules of Play card, located on the Association web site and at each tournament.  All questions shall be directed to the BCGA Tournament Committee, whose decision is final.

ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIP 
Membership is open to any organized golf club and golf course located within Berks County.  Individuals wishing to join must be a resident of Berks County, PA or a member of a BCGA Member Club and must pay dues for the current year.

AUTOMOTIVE TRANSPORTATION 
The use of golf carts is mandatory during all Championships except the Junior Championships.  Only participants and their caddies may ride in golf carts. SPECTATORS ARE PROHIBITED FROM USING GOLF CARTS REGARDLESS OF THE AVAILABILITY OF SEATING.  Walking spectators are always welcomed at Berks County Golf Association Championships.  However, you should contact the host course regarding their policy.

CLOSE OF COMPETITION 
The competition is deemed to be closed when the player(s) has been presented as the winner or, in the absence of a prize ceremony, all scores have been posted on the Official Scoreboard and approved by the Tournament Rules Committee. 

CONDITIONS OF PLAY 
A player's entry may be withdrawn from the competition at any time (including during the competition) at the discretion of the Berks County Golf Association Tournament Committee and/or Host Club designee for false statement of handicap index, unbecoming conduct, including profanity, club throwing, damaging of golf course property and refusal to comply with dress code.  A violation will be considered a serious breach and result in disqualification under Rule 33-7.

REMINDER TO PLAYERS
When a club in the Berks County Golf Association agrees to host one of the Association tournaments, it may be well to remember that the club has gone out of its way to extend its courtesy to you. Hosting a tournament is an inconvenience to the club members, and some expenses are incurred in staffing the club facilities so that you can enjoy the day.

As a contestant, you should remember that you are a guest of the club, and in this latter role you should accept certain responsibilities.  Among these are:

●         Review your starting time letter for information about the host club.
●         Use the club locker for changing clothes and shoes.  It is appropriate to offer a reasonable tip to the attendant in recognition of his services.
●         Support the Pro Shop at the club for any necessary services.  The Professional and his staff are on duty to offer any convenience you may require.
●         Players are prohibited from bringing food or beverages on host club property, except for approved medical reason.

The Berks County Golf Association appreciates the cooperation it receives from the many fine clubs that make up its membership.  We are fortunate in having the opportunity to conduct our tournaments on quality courses that are beautiful, enjoyable and challenging.  These opportunities will continue only if the contestants recognize their individual responsibilities as a guest in supporting the club and its facilities.

DRESS CODE 
Players and caddies of players are required to observe good taste and dress appropriately for the golf course.  Items of clothing such as cargo pants and shorts (baggy clothing with large pockets in the knee area), blue jeans, short-shorts (bottom of shorts may be no higher than two inches from the top of the knee), tank tops, etc., are considered inappropriate.  Hats must be worn in their “traditional” style (brims to the front). Anyone dressed inappropriately will not be allowed to participate in an Association event.  Once play has begun, a verbal warning will be given to the player.  If not immediately corrected, the violation will be considered a serious breach and result in disqualification under Rule 33-7.

ELIGIBILITY
In order to be a participant in the Berks County Golf Association's Junior-Senior, Match Play, Senior Partners, Partners, Amateur and Senior Amateur Championship you must be a current dues paying member, in good standing.  Membership is open to residents of Berks County, PA, and/or members of a BCGA Member Club.  Players must also be in full compliance with the USGA Handicap System standards for events requiring a handicap.  Players applying to a Berks County Golf Association event requiring a handicap but who do not have a current USGA Handicap through the GHIN service must have a PGA Professional certify his handicap index by signing the entry application.

In order to be a participant in the Berks County Golf Association's Amateur, Senior Amateur or Junior Championship you must be an ‘amateur” golfer. 

ENTRY BLANKS 
Entry forms, located in the ‘Guide to BCGA Events’, are furnished to all Berks County golf course and driving ranges as well as any individual that competed in a Berks County Golf Association Championship the previous year.  Entry forms may be downloaded from the Association Web site (www.bcgagolf.com). 

ENTRY PROCEDURE 
The appropriate entry fee shall accompany every entry.  All entries must be received on the entry closing date.  Deadline for entry means time of receipt at the appropriate Tournament Chairman’s address - Not time of postmark.  Late or incomplete entries will not be accepted.  Entries by telephone, fax or e-mail will not be accepted.  It is suggested that you mail your entry at least seven working days prior to the closing date, as all late entries will be returned.  Refer to the bottom of each entry form for appropriate mailing address.

EXEMPTIONS 
All Association events have limitations on the number of entries. Player's who are exempt for a specific championship and wish to compete in that event, must meet all eligibility requirements.  Please refer to the "Player Exemption Policy" each tournament.

FAILURE TO RETURN A SCORECARD/NO SHOWS/SUSPENSION PROCEDURE 
When a player fails to return a scorecard, withdraws during play without notifying an official and personally surrendering his scorecard to that official or fails to appear for their assigned time without notifying a Berks County Golf Association Tournament Official and/or the host club, a letter will be sent to the player stating that he has been suspended from all Berks County Golf Association events for a period of one year including the following year's events for which the infraction occurred.  The player will be permitted to compete in any event for which his entry has already been accepted.  Suspension will then begin with the next scheduled event.  The player will be given two weeks to respond to the suspension letter in writing.

NOTICE OF WITHDRAW 
Players who have applied to participate in a Berks County Golf Association event and find it necessary to withdraw from an event for any reason MUST contact the Tournament Chairman for that event and/or a BCGA executive Committee member.  If a player is withdrawing on the day of an event, please call the Host Club’s Pro Shop at the number provided on your starting time information.

FOOT WEAR 
Footwear with traditionally-designed spikes (regardless of composition, i.e., ceramic, plastic etc.) or spikes, regardless of design, comprised either entirely or partially of metal (if such metal may come in contact with the course) are prohibited during the stipulated round. Penalty for breach of this condition: DISQUALIFICATION.

GOLF BALLS 
Only brands of golf balls on the most current USGA List of Conforming Balls may be used.  The List is available upon request.  Penalty for use of brand not on the List:  DISQUALIFICATION. The so-called “One-Ball Rule,” he optional condition prescribed in appendix I of the Rules of Golf is NOT in effect for any event.

GOLF CLUBS  
Golf clubs on the latest USGA Non-Conforming Clubs list will be prohibited.  A copy of the USGA Non-Conforming Driving Clubs list will be available at the starter's table prior to each round.  The penalty for use of a non-conforming golf club, or for having one in your golf bag, is DISQUALIFICATION.

DISTANCE-MEASURING DEVICES 
For play in all BCGA events/tournaments, a player may obtain distance information by using a device that measures distance only. However, if, during a stipulated round, a player uses a distance-measuring device that is designed to gauge or measure other conditions that might affect his play (e.g., gradient, wind-speed, temperatures, etc.) the player is in breach of Rule 14-3, for which the penalty is disqualification of the side, regardless of whether any such additional functions are actually used.

OVER SUBSCRIPTION OF CHAMPIONSHIPS/QUALIFIERS 
Entries will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis for all events.  Entries received after the field is complete will be placed on a waiting list in the order they were received.

EXCEPTION
The BCGA has a “Player Entry Exemption Policy" for Tournament Over-Subscription policy.   Please refer to Appendix for specifics.

PAIRINGS/TIME OF STARTING/OFFICIAL TIME 
The BCGA, following as closely as practical the preferences indicated on the entry forms, will determine pairings and tee times.  Contestants will be notified of starting times by mail.  For Partner events, the individual submitting the entry will be responsible for notifying the Partner of the starting time.  Players may also check the Association web site for times.  Starting times will be posted on the Association web site prior to the event.  The “Official Time” will be maintained at the starting tee(s) and scoring areas only.  Starters will not page players in advance of their starting time.  Players should report to the tee one starting interval prior to their tee time. The optional note as prescribed in Rule 6-3a of the Rules of Golf IS in effect. All players must be present and ready to play at the time laid down by the Committee.

PACE OF PLAY 
The Berks County Golf Association conducts competitions for the enjoyment of all participants.  When play slows to an uncomfortable pace, the enjoyment is lessened for all players.  Please refer to the Association’s "Pace of Play" policy.

PLAYOFF/TIEBREAK PROCEDURE 
Except for the Amateur Championship, in the event of a tie for the Championship there will be a sudden-death playoff immediately following the conclusion of play. In the event of a tie for the Amateur at the conclusion of the final round, a three-hole play-off, followed by ‘Sudden Death’ will be used to determine a Champion.  In determining the final qualifying positions for the Match Play Championship field, all ties will be broken by a sudden-death playoff immediately following the conclusion of play. (Alternates will be decided in the same manner).  

PRACTICE ROUNDS 
The Association encourages our host facilities to provide practice rounds.  Practice round information may be made available after the close of entries (See the events ‘Memo to Contestants’ or ‘Player Notification Postcards’).

NOTE: Not all host facilities will make practice rounds available.

REFUND POLICY 
Entry fees will be refunded regardless of reason if the Berks County Golf Association is notified prior to close of entries.  After the close of entries, the entry fee will be refunded only in the event of illness, injury or a death in your immediate family, if requested in writing by the start of the championship.  For a refund to be considered because of illness or injury your letter must be accompanied by a doctor's note.  Refunds will be sent after the completion of the championship.  All refunds will be returned less a $25 administration fee. (Immediate family will include parents, grandparents, children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces).

RETURNED CHECKS 
All checks that are returned to the Berks County Golf Association due to insufficient funds will carry a $30 service charge.  Complete entry fee amount and service charge must be received by the Berks County Golf Association before a player will be allowed to compete in that event.

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION/PLAYER NOTIFICATION 
Players who have been accepted as participants in Berks County Golf Association championships will receive either a memo or postcard detailing event information concerning practice rounds, lunch and starting times approximately seven days prior to the event.  If you have not received your information seven days prior to the event, it is your responsibility to contact the Host Club Tournament Chairman.  Information can also be found at www.bcgagolf.com  

WEATHER PRECAUTION 
Every effort will be made to complete play of Championship/Qualifying rounds.  If play cannot be completed, an alternate plan will be announced and posted on the scoreboard.  The Tournament Committee may institute a change in the cut and format in order to play the last stipulated round.  Championship/Qualifying rounds will NOT be canceled or postponed unless the Golf Course Superintendent or an authorized Official of the Host Club deems the course unplayable for the period in which the Championship/ Qualifying round is scheduled.  The BCGA Executive Committee has the ONLY authority to cancel an event.

WIRELESS HANDHELD DEVICES
The use of wireless handheld devices, such as a cellular phone, beeper, blackberry, radio and other like devices is discourteous and distracting to others and prohibited during the stipulated round of any competition.  If you are expecting a call, please use the Host Club Pro Shop number.  If you receive an emergency call, the committee will ensure you get the message.  First violation of this rule shall be an oral warning and the second violation will be considered a serious breach and result in disqualification under Rule 33-7.

COMPLAINTS 
Complaints of any kind must be made in writing and submitted to the President of the Association.