Rules

Everything you need to know about how the tournament works, how the scheduling and playing will work.

The last changes to the Rues are December 31, 2023.



For additional information you should also check the FAQ.

Team Captain

The captain will sign up via the website starting February 1, 2024.

Team Captains sign up to represent any course or association. The course or Men’s club the team represents receives 25% of the participation fees where they are named. They will also receive a financial award if they win their Sunday match at Pinehurst (or are runner up). The winning payout at Barton Creek was $1,000, and Bandon Dunes was $2,000. The payout at Pinehurst will depend on the level of participation but is expected to be a minimum of $1,000.

Captain’s Duties

Host team Captains schedule tee times for Regional matches, if applicable. For any match where they are Host (i.e. listed 1st on the schedule) they will communicate the time and place with the opposing Captain via text or e-mail. If the communication is by phone call, it should be followed by a confirmation text or e-mail. Regional matches will apply to those teams not qualifying for the Elite 8.

The Course chosen by the Host for their Regional match must satisfy the following 4 requirements:

  • Distance (should be within 100 miles from the course where the opposing Team Captain is located).
  • It should have a maximum cost of $80.
  • It Should have a minimum course rating and par of 68.
  • It Should be an 18-hole facility.

Note: Exceptions to one or more of the above requirements can be made with the opponent’s approval.

A record of all communications may be needed to resolve disputes if the match is unable to be scheduled so text and/or e-mail contact is recommended.

Qualifying Events Formats

Each course with multiple teams that sign up will hold a qualifying event. What type of qualifying event should we hold? The list is limited by your imagination. It should be whatever you believe will generate the most teams to sign up. Below are some suggestions, in order of our preference.

  1. Hold a 1-day event with the low team(s) advancing to a match play series. It can be 2, 4, 6, or 8 (or some other # you are comfortable can complete their match series).
  2. Have a match play league.
  3. Hold multiple single day events (maybe 4) with the winners of each event advancing to match play. (only one NMP fee would be collected from each captain, even though they may enter multiple qualifying events)
  4. Add an optional sign up to an existing tournament your club runs, with the low teams that paid the participation fee advancing to a match play series.
  5. Whatever qualifying event you believe results in the most signups. If your course has the 1st or 2nd most teams sign up to participate, the winner of your qualifying event will advance directly to the Finals at Pinehurst.

If your course has the next 8 highest # of teams sign up in the west or the east, the winner of your qualifying event advances to a 2 team, 2 match format. This involves a Saturday match & a Sundy match against the same team. If tied after 2 rounds and the course will not allow continued play in sudden death, then the winner will be determined by USGA match play card matching.

Regional Play Formats

Play Groups will be from 3 to 12 team groups. Groupings will be based on proximity of opponents. All groupings will be announced and posted on the website at least 2 weeks before play commences. This level will involve a maximum of 5 matches played over a 2 month period (June & July) to qualify for the Quarterfinals in August.

Match results

If there are Regional matches, they will be posted on the website and team captains will interact with the website to post the results of those matches.

The winning captain posts the W (win) on the website plus the margin of victory. The choices for margin of victory will be 1 up, 2 up, 2 and 1, 3 and 1, etc. There will be a drop-down box to click on for margin of victory.

Playoffs will be determined by total points. (1 point for a win and ½ point for a tie). Ties will be broken 1 st by head-to-head competition and then by margin of victory. National Match Play Administration will award a point or a half point, for any matches not played based on their sole determination.

National Match Play Administration will also resolve other disputes regarding all facets of the match (e.g., USGA rules). If there is a rules interpretation that affects a hole, play two balls (one under each teams’ rule assertion) and, if the hole result ultimately affects the outcome, Team Captains should submit the scenario to the National Match Play Administration for a ruling. You may want to include photos and videos if they will help in the ruling decision.

Handicaps (for all Elite 8 and above levels)

Courses will decide rules, including handicap method, for local qualifying.

All match participants must have the GHIN app downloaded from the USGA and present their low index shown on the app at the 1st tee along with their Drivers License to determine handicap and designated tee. The handicap to use will be the Rounded Low Index (RLI). (i.e., a low index of 18.1 will play to an 18 and an 18.5 will play to a 19).

The maximum allowed difference between a Team Captain and Partner will be 10. So, if the low RLI is 2 and the partner is a 14, they will need to play to a 12 (before designated tee adjustment).

Designated tees – Each course will have a front, middle and back tee (if the course has more than 3 men’s tees, the Host Captain decides which 3 consecutive tees are in play). Ladies use the same system but play from the front 3 tees (i.e., if the course has only 1 ladies’ tee, the front 2 men’s tees are in play).

Players with a combined RLI plus age of 52 or less play the back tees. Players that have a combined RLI plus age equal to 53-72 play the middle tees. Players with a combined RLI plus age equal to 73 and above play the front tees. If a course only has 2 tees, the RLI for the 73+ will have 2 added and play from the front tees with the 53-72.

Players can play any tee they want (even tees outside of the 3 designated tees). For each level they move forward, subtract 3 from your RLI to arrive at an adjusted RLI. For each level they move back, add 2 to your RLI.

The maximum adjusted or unadjusted RLI is 36. Matches are 2-man best ball net of handicap (adjusted RLI).

The host team is also responsible for deciding if handicaps are based on pops as they are, or if the low player in the 4-some is adjusted to a -0- RLI & the others are adjusted accordingly.

Costs

The 2024 participation fee is $100 per team ($50 per player).

All teams are responsible for their green fees for their local qualifying matches, plus any Regional matches, if applicable. They are responsible for travel costs to the National Finals. Travel credits will be provided to those that travel more than 100 miles to earlier levels.

Costs covered by National Match Play

National Match Play will cover lodging and golf at each of the events on the 2024 Schedule of events starting with Level 4. Events with 2 teams will have matches on Saturday & Sunday. Events with 4 teams will have an optional seeding round Friday afternoon with semi-final Saturday & final Sunday. Teams that need to travel more than 100 miles to any level except the National Finals, will receive a minimum $200 per player travel credit.

The Semi-finals at Pebble Beach & Streamsong only involve 2 teams, but they will include an extra round and 3 nights of lodging. For Pebble Beach, the 3rd round may be the day of arrival (Thursday) or day of departure (Sunday). Each participating team will choose their 3rd round.

Streamsong participants will also have a 3 nights lodging and a 3rd round (Sunday – Blue) with a 4th round on day of arrival at the new short course designed by Coore Crenshaw called The Chain.

Although those teams that are not in the Elite 8 (because of level of participation or their qualifying event will end later than required) will have an extra level (Regional play), some may prefer this as they could get to play Pebble Beach or Streamsong.

Prizes

Winners will receive stay-and-play packages at Barefoot in North Myrtle Beach (including travel credit for those that travel more than 200 miles) or at a resort near where they began their journey.

The overall winner wins a spot in the following year’s National Finals. The tentative schedule is WeKoPa in Scottsdale, AZ in December 2025. There has been a raffle winner for the past 2 years. We may fill a spot in the 2025 finals with a raffle spot (or an added semi-final). There will be 4 to 6 Semi-final locations for 2025 in the September or October timeframe (allowing more time for local qualifying or Regional levels to play out).

There will be 4-team events at the following possible locations:

  • Bandon Dunes
  • Big Cedar
  • Streamsong
  • Sunriver
  • Barefoot
  • Kiawah
  • Rancho Murrieta
  • Singing Hills
  • Wild Dunes

Refund policy

Each team can request and receive a full refund up to one week after the initial or any subsequent change to their play schedule has been posted.


Changelog

  • December 31, 2023: Updates related to the Season 2024.
  • March 1, 2023: Updated rules for the Season 2023.