National Qualifiers

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National Qualifiers are 18-hole Best Ball competitions as described in Rule 23 of the USGA® Rules of Golf.

Teams

Each team will consist of two members. Teams MUST fit one of the Divisions and Flights as described below. Though not required, players are encouraged to find a partner that falls into the same age division and of similar ability.

Scoring

Scoring at National Qualifiers is NET, hole by hole, so as to properly allocate strokes among teammates. The lowest net score will be that team’s score for the hole. Each teammate will receive 80% of their course handicap. The low 30% of the field and ties will qualify for the USGC National Championship™.

As the scoring is Net, there are no flights at the National Qualifier level, unless there are 30 or more teams entered. If so, the field will be divided in two based on Team Index.


USGC Divisions and Flights at the USGC National Championship.


Divisions

There are two divisions – Open Division and Senior Division. Open Division is open to all ages. Senior Division is for Players 55 years of age and above. A Player that is 55+ is allowed to compete in the Open division, but a player that is under 55 is not allowed to compete in the Senior division.

Flights

There are four flights in each Division determined by Team Index:

Championship Flight

4.9 and under

A Flight

5.0 – 9.9

B Flight

10.0 – 14.9

C Flight

15.0 and above

Team Index

The Team Index is determined by totaling the handicap index of player A and player B together and dividing it in half. Example – Player A has a 10 index and player B has a 15 index totaling 25. Divide the total of 25 in half and the team index is 12.5. That team would be in the “B” Flight.

Handicap Differential

No team can have an index differential of more than 8 points between teammates. Example – a player that is a 10 index cannot play with a player that is a 24 index, unless that player drops his index down from a 24 to an 18.

The USGC™ recognizes any valid USGA® index from an approved USGA® handicap provider that is verifiable online. All indexes must be current and active at the time of registration and through National Qualifier. The USGC Rules Staff will verify all indexes.

The USGC recommends Golf Handicap Network.

Here is a list of the most common Frequently Asked Questions we get about the National Qualifiers. Remember, your road to the King’s Cup™ starts with a National Qualifier! 8 teams will represent the USA at the 2021 International King’s Cup™.  The King’s Cup™ is played in remembrance of golf’s greatest ambassador – Mr. Arnold Palmer

How does a team make Team USA and compete in the King’s Cup?

You must first play in a National Qualifier and finish in the top 30% of the field. By doing so, you will be invited to play in the USGC National Championship™. Flight winners at the USGC  National Championship will represent Team USA at the International King’s Cup against Ireland.

How do I sign up for a National Qualifier?

You and your partner can enter the United States Golf Challenge by going to REGISTRATION on the USGC™ website. Choose a National Qualifier from the Schedule and sign up.

Who can be my partner?

Any amateur with an established USGA® handicap index can play as your partner. The USGC™ recognizes any valid USGA® index from an approved USGA® handicap provider that is verifiable online. Your team must fit one of the Divisions and Flights listed below. Though not required, players are encouraged to find a partner that falls into the same age division and of similar ability. The USGC recommends Golf Handicap Network for an inexpensive handicap index.

What is the format of a National Qualifier?

National Qualifiers are one-day 18-hole tournaments. Two-person teams compete in Best Ball stroke play with Net Scoring. The top 30% of the field and ties earn invitations to the USGC National Championship. As the scoring is Net, there are no flights at the National Qualifier level, unless there are 30 or more teams entered. However, teams must fit one of the USGC Divisions and Flights below. Winning teams at a National Qualifier with at least 15 teams will earn a free entry into the USGC National Championship, a $950 value. If a National Qualifier has 30 or more teams, the field will be divided into flights and the winning team in each flight will earn a free entry into the National Championship. There will be a new flight added for every 15 teams.

How is the Net scoring computed?

Hole by hole, so as to properly allocate strokes among teammates. The lowest net score will be that team’s score for the hole. The low 30% of the field and ties will qualify for the USGC National Championship. Players will attest to their indexes on their entry form. The USGC will verify the individual indexes through the state golf association or other online resources. The USGC recognizes any valid USGA® index from an approved USGA® handicap provider that is verifiable online. The USGC recommends Golf Handicap Network for an inexpensive handicap index. The USGC will provide updated indexes for each team 48 hours prior to the event.

What tees are used?

National Qualifying golf courses for the United States Golf Challenge will naturally vary in difficulty and length. The Host Professional will make the final decisions regarding golf course set-up at each qualifying site. It is anticipated that Open Division contestants will play a golf course of approximately 6,400-6,500 yards and Senior Division contestants will play from approximately 6,000-6,200 yards. Seniors playing in the Open Division will play from the Open tees. Women will play from tees approximating the tees from which their index was established. These lengths are guidelines only and will vary from site to site.

How will I know how many players will be at my event?

The entries will be available on the USGC website.

How do I find out my tee time?

Contact the golf course for your tee time.

Is there a minimum number of teams to hold a National Qualifier?

There must be a minimum of eight teams to hold a National Qualifier.

Who collects the entry fees?

ALL entries must be made online through the USGC website at least 48 hours prior to the event.

What if a team wants to enter after registration has closed?

A team can contact the USGC and, space available, make a late entry online.

Can a team attempt to qualify more than one time?

A team can try to qualify as many times as they want. Players can enter another National Qualifier with a different partner if they choose.

What if a team doesn’t want to use a credit card online?

Entry fees must be made by credit card. A Host Pro can make an online entry for a team and have the team pay the Host Pro directly.

Who collects the green fees?

Green fees are included in the entry fee.

What are the prizes?

Teams are competing for the opportunity to qualify for the USGC National Championship. The top 30% plus ties in the field will earn invitations to the USGC National Championship. Winning teams at a National Qualifier with at least 15 teams will earn a free entry into the National Championship, a $950 value. If a National Qualifier has 30 or more teams, the field will be divided into flights and the winning team in each flight will earn a free entry into the USGC National Championship. There will be a new flight added for every 15 teams. Host pros can add a prize fund into the green fee if they choose.

What is the philosophy on rules enforcement?

The United States Golf Challenge is strictly conducted under the USGA® Rules of Golf, the USGC Rules and Regulations and the Local Rules Sheet. 

What are the USGC flights?

Both the Open and Senior Divisions have the same 4 flights based on the Team Index as follows: Championship – under 5.0 A Flight – 5.0-9.9 B Flight – 10.0-14.9 C Flight – 15.0 and above

How is the Team Index calculated?

The official USGA® handicap indexes of both players are added together and divided by two. The resulting number is their Team Index and places them within a flight in their age division. The USGC recognizes any official USGA® index. No team can have a handicap index differential greater than 8, i.e. a player with a 10.0 can play with a player with a 24.0, but in calculating their Team Index the 24.0 must be reduced to a 18.0, making the Team Index 14.0.

The current Rules of Golf as set forth by the USGA® will govern all play.

All participants in United States Golf Challenge (USGC™) events are deemed to be familiar with the Rules of Golf, these Rules and Regulations and any Local Rules that may be issued from time to time.

These Rules and Regulations may be revised electronically from time to time. The most current version can be found on the USGC website at www.usgolfchallenge.com and will supersede any printed version.

Amateurs Only

The United States Golf Challenge is open ONLY to amateur golfers as defined by the United States Golf Association.

Dress  Code and Player Conduct

The USGC will strictly enforce a tournament dress code with no exceptions. Collared shirts/mock turtlenecks are required, and no jeans, denims, jogging outfits, or sweat pants are permitted.

All players are expected to play in the spirit of the game as defined by Rule 1.2a in the Rules of Golf. Failure to do so may lead to penalties or disqualification as proscribed in Rule 1.2b.

Pace of Play

The USGC takes Pace of Play seriously. Pace of Play at Local Qualifiers will be controlled by the policies of the Host Course.

Refund Policy

Every effort will be made to honor refunds, less processing charges for a team that cancels their registration. Once a player count commitment has been given to the golf course, there will be no refunds issued.


RULES OF PLAY NATIONAL QUALIFIERS


Qualifying

2 person teams qualify through a National Qualifier to be eligible for the USGC King’s Cup National Championship™ and the opportunity to make the King’s Cup™ team representing the United States.

Registering

When registering for a National Qualifier, teams must meet the criteria for one of the Divisions and Flights as described below under USGC National King’s Cup Championship™. Teams may be formed by any combination of male and female participants (two men, one man and one woman, two women). Though not required, players are encouraged to find a partner that falls into the same age division and of similar ability.

Senior teams may elect to play in the Open Division when registering. Once registered, teams are committed to the Division they selected at registration.

Format

The format for play in a National Qualifier is Four-Ball stroke play as defined in Rule 23 per the USGA Rules of Golf in which two players play as partners, each playing their own ball. The lower NET score of the partners is the score for the hole. If one partner fails to complete the hole, there is no penalty.

Each National Qualifier will be 18 holes. Scoring will be Net. Each team member will receive 80% of the course handicap.

The top 30% and ties will qualify for the USGC King’s Cup National Championship regardless of Division or Flight.

There must be a minimum of eight teams in a National Qualifier.

For every 15 teams in a National Qualifier, a free entry into the USGC National Championship will be awarded, that’s a $950 value!

If a qualified team is unable to participate in the USGC National Championship for any reason, the next qualified team at that National Qualifying site may be invited to participate.

The USGC recognizes any official index that is current and verifiable online. For those players who do not currently have a handicap index, the USGC recommends Recreational Golf Handicap System served by www.GolfHandicapNetwork.com.

Policy on handicap changes and cheating

In the relative short time frame between a National Qualifier and the USGC National Championship it is unlikely the any player’s index will change significantly enough to affect the competition. A team’s flight will not change from a National Qualifier to the USGC National Championship except under extraordinary circumstance.

Any team found to have misrepresented, in the sole opinion of the USGC, either an individual player’s index or the Team Index, whether inadvertent or otherwise, will be disqualified from the competition with forfeiture of all prizes and awards.

For exceptional scoring at the National Championship, the Committee will review the occurrence. The Committee may determine that a team did indeed have an exceptional round and that no further action is needed. The Committee may determine that a team has exceeded the general ability of their flight and will be moved up to the proper flight with a two stroke penalty. The team will still be allowed to finish the event in their new flight and eligible to receive all prizes.

Substitution

A qualified team is allowed to substitute one player for the USGC King’s Cup National Championship. A team member or the National Qualifying site Host Professional must notify the USGC committee for approval if a substitution is necessary. One member of the original team must continue to participate. Substitute players are required to meet all USGA handicap and USGC guidelines.

A substitute player’s handicap index must fall within the parameters of the flight in which the team qualified i.e. a substitute with a 4.0 index is not allowed as a substitute for a team that qualified for any flight other than the Championship flight.

Host Professional

National Qualifiers will be conducted under the direction of the Host Professional at each facility. The Host Professional or their designate will be responsible for all interpretations and rulings on the conduct of the event and such rulings shall be final.

Scoring

Each qualifying team shall be issued an official scorecard for the event and shall return same to Scorer upon completion of their round. Each player must enter an actual or estimated score on each hole as per USGA guidelines. A fellow competitor team and/or the Golf Professional Staff at the qualifying facility must attest all scores.

Once the team has turned in its scorecard and left any boundary defining the scoring area, the scorecard is considered official

Any team that is tardy to the designated scoring area by more than 10 minutes after completion of round may be disqualified.

Tees

Qualifying golf courses for the United States Golf Challenge will naturally vary in difficulty and length. The Host Professional will make the final decisions regarding golf course set-up at each qualifying facility. It is anticipated that Open Division contestants will play a golf course of approximately 6,400-6,500 yards and Senior Division contestants will play from approximately 6,000-6,200 yards, but these lengths are guidelines only and will vary from site to site.

Seniors playing in the Open Division will play the Open tees.

Women will play from tees that are as close as practicable to the tees from which their handicap index was established.

Please check with your local qualifying site for additional information regarding course set-up and length.

Inclement Weather

In the event that a National Qualifier suffers from such inclement weather, or conditions that would reasonably prohibit the completion of at least 9 holes of play, the qualifying teams will be drawn by lot.

Disqualification

Participants found violating USGA rules, tournament rules, falsifying or neglecting handicaps or otherwise engaging in conduct inconsistent with the tournament standards or spirit of fair play may be disqualified without claim or recourse of any type.


USGC KING’S CUP NATIONAL QUALIFIER


The locations and dates of the 2020 USGC National Championship™ will be announced.

The format will mirror the three forms of play at the King’s Cup; best-ball, alternate shot and individual stroke play over 54 holes.

GROSS scoring will determine the winning team in each of the two Divisions and four flights. The eight winning teams will make up the 2021 King’s Cup team.

Divisions

There are two divisions – Open Division and Senior Division. The Open Division is open to all ages. The Senior Division is for Players 55 years of age and above prior to their National Qualifier. A Player that is 55+ is allowed to compete in the Open division, but a player that is under 55 is not allowed to compete in the Senior Division.

Flights

Each Division has four flights. Championship, A-Flight, B-Flight and C-Flight

Team Index
  • Championship 4.9 or less
  • A Flight 5.0-9.9
  • B Flight 10.0-14.9
  • C Flight 15.0 and above

A Team Index is determined by totaling the handicap index of player A and player B together and dividing it in half. Example – Player A is a 10 handicap index and player B is a 15 handicap index totaling 25. Divide the total of 25 in half and the Team Handicap Index is 12.5. That team would be in the “B” Flight.

No team can have a handicap index differential of more than 8 strokes between teammates. Example – a player that is a 10 handicap index cannot play with a player that is a 24 handicap index, unless that player drops his index down from a 24 to 18. Their Team Index would be 10+18=28/2 = 14.

The USGC National Championship will be conducted by the USGC staff.


CONDITIONS OF COMPETITION


Play ball as it lies

Unless modified in writing by specific Local Rules, there will be no preferred or improved lies in any part of the competition.

Limitation on Balls

The ball each player plays must be named on the current List of Conforming Golf Balls issued by the United States Golf Association. Penalty for breach of condition: Disqualification. The responsibility of playing the proper ball rests with the player. Each player must put an identification mark on his ball and alert his fellow competitors of such. The one ball rule is NOT in effect.

Grooves

The Condition of Competition concerning grooves for elite players is NOT in effect for the United States Golf Challenge.

Tees

Qualifying golf courses for the United States Golf Challenge will naturally vary in difficulty and length. The Host Professional will make the final decisions regarding golf course set-up at each qualifying facility. It is anticipated that Open Division contestants will play a golf course of approximately 6,400-6,500 yards and Senior Division contestants will play from approximately 6,000-6,200 yards, but these lengths are guidelines only and will vary from site to site.

Seniors playing in the Open Division will play the Open tees.

Women will play from tees that are as close as practicable to the tees from which their handicap index was established.

Please check with your National Qualifying site for additional information regarding course set-up and length.

Range Finders

Range finders conforming to the USGA® Rule 4-3 are allowed. Any device that measures gradient or wind speed etc. may be used only if these features are turned off.

Electronic Devices

CELL PHONES – A mobile phone may be used to call for rulings to the Tournament Director or Pro Shop. Any other use of a cell phone during the stipulated round will result in a penalty: First Offense – 1 stroke, Second Offense – 2 strokes, Third Offense – Disqualification

Use is defined as the phone vibrating or ringing audibly, the player making an outgoing call other than as allowed above or connection to the Internet.

A cell phone may be used as a range finder as long as the restrictions above are adhered to.

I-PODS/MP3 RADIOS, BOOM BOXES etc. Such devices will only be permitted on the driving range and putting green before and after tournament rounds. Such devices are not allowed during competition.

DISCLAIMER

The United States Golf Challenge reserves the right to refuse entry to any player for any reason. Participants in the United States Golf Challenge are responsible for any damage or injury they cause to the golf course and/or property of the golf course or any person(s) on the golf course property. All decisions of the United States Golf Challenge are final.

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