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July Rule of the Month: Dropping

June 29, 2020

The Story Behind Dropping

Golf is a complicated game. No matter how low your handicap, you will still occasionally end up in a situation where you are dropping a ball. Sometimes dropping can benefit your situation, such as when you get free relief from a condition on the golf course that is not meant to be there (like temporary water or a cart path). Other times, you are dropping because you are in a situation where you cannot or do not want to play your ball as it lies (such as in a penalty area).

In 2019, the dropping procedure saw a major overhaul when it shifted from shoulder height to knee height. However, this was not the first time that this procedure saw a major pivot. In 1984, the Rules of Golf went through another significant reorganization which, at the time, was considered the biggest in the history of the game. While the Rules of Golf had been written jointly by the USGA and The R&A since 1952, each organization was still issuing separate Decisions on the Rules. In 1984, the two organizations came together to write a truly unified code with a single set of Rules and a single set of Decisions.

To take a drop prior to 1984, you were required to stand facing the hole and drop your ball over your shoulder and behind you. Effective in 1984, the Rules of Golf shifted to the shoulder height drop that we are all familiar with.

Dropping Over the Shoulder


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NCGA Mourns the Loss of Past President Jerry Blackmore

June 25, 2020

NCGA Mourns the Loss of Past President Jerry Blackmore

Jerry E. Blackmore, who served as NCGA president in 1992, died June 23.

Mr. Blackmore was born August 19, 1940 in Great Falls, Montana.  The only child of Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Blackmore, he grew up as a young child in Duluth and Ely, Minnesota.  His family moved to Castro Valley when Jerry was a freshman in high school.  He’d graduate from Castro Valley High in 1958.

Later, Jerry earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Finance from San Jose State and an MBA in Taxation.  He was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity while at San Jose State and was a member of the California Society of CPA and American Institute of CPA.  He served in the Vietnam War in 1962 and 1963.

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Sharing the Game With Friends and Family

June 24, 2020

Sharing the Game With Friends and Family

After some very challenging months, we are all now enjoying the perks of summertime golf.

In taking stock of the situation, we more appreciate and realize how smart and fortunate we are to have chosen a sport that is proving to be such a great outlet in the midst of a pandemic.

Hopefully you’re not only getting back out to enjoy a few rounds, but getting some friends, colleagues or family members to join you. It’s time for some fun games again – but to play the games at even odds, everyone ought to have a handicap index.

In sharing the game with friends and family, here’s a reminder that there are several ways to join the NCGA and obtain an official handicap index via the new World Handicap System.

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18 Things to Like About the New World Handicap System

June 20, 2020

18 Things to Like About the New World Handicap System

NCGA Director of Handicapping and Course Rating Jim Cowan presents us with 18 reasons to appreciate the new system: (as seen in the Spring 2020 issue of NCGA Golf Magazine)

Click Here for a Printable PDF 

Global reach – The WHS is…well…worldwide. By year’s end, wherever you go, wherever you play, Course and Slope Ratings will greet you. And, you will be able to return those scores. Daily Updates – Play today… post today… receive a new Handicap Index (HI) tomorrow morning. Talk about a “current” handicap!  my NCGA App – For the first time ever, more NCGA scores were submitted by app in 2019 than via the posting kiosks at golf courses. Capture your new HI in the morning…determine your Course Handicap (CH)…play…post before midnight. Rinse, repeat.Ghin.com – Check out the features. My favorite? The ability to “follow” a golfer(s). Look up your 10 golfing buddies once. Designate you wish to “follow” each. Click the “Following” tab thereafter to view their current handicaps. Best 8 of 20 calculation – The new math for determining your handicap is more responsive to the entry of a good score…less responsive to a poor one. Reducing the number from 10 to eight of 20 also rewards consistency. Fewer scores to acquire a HI – Brand-new golfers are issued a handicap faster. You only need to post scores for 54 holes… in either 9 and/or 18-hole increments.Maximum HI of 54.0 –Let’s face it, there are many golfers with games that fall in the high 40’s/low 50’s HI range, which rendered the old limits of 36.4 (men) and 40.4 (women) inaccurate and a source of discouragement. With a goal of greater inclusiveness, the WHS gives such golfers a meaningful number that they can track. Par is important – Par held very little significance within the USGA Handicap System (single-digit handicappers limited to a max hole score of double-bogey, “par, plus any handicap strokes” applied to unplayed holes).
Under the WHS, no change to the un-played holes policy. Par impacts the net-double-bogey procedure. And par is a factor in the computation of a course handicap (CH). Net Double Bogey – Easily the source of the greatest confusion surrounding the WHS. I like the maximum-hole score procedure because it is tried and true (been used worldwide for years) and is favored by the mathematicians to generate superior results…and it’s not rocket science!
Imagine mapping out your entire CH over 18 holes according to the Stroke Index rankings. A 25, for example, receives two pops on the 1-7 ranked holes; one stroke on the remaining. Gross double bogey plus these handicap strokes represent your max hole score for posting purposes.Course Rating minus par – Prior to 2020, a CH represented the number of strokes you needed to play to the Course Rating of the tees you were playing (i.e., achieve a net score equal to the Course Rating). Now a CH represents the number of strokes you need to play to par. This is achieved by factoring the difference between the Course Rating and par directly into the CH.
Where once your CH varied little between tees, now you will find you receive more strokes from highly rated tees/fewer strokes from tees that carry a low Course Rating. Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) – A score of 80 at Poppy Hills on a day the wind is howling is a better performance than an 80 on a dead calm day . . . that’s common sense. The old system could not detect this; the WHS can.
The PCC is an automatic scores-driven calculation performed each evening that determines if conditions on that day of play (weather and/or course conditions, course set-up, etc.) at that golf course differed from “normal” enough to significantly skew scores up or down. If so, those scores/performances will be adjusted down or up. Limit on upward movement of a HI – Caps are in place to prevent wild upswings in your HI. A soft cap starts pumping the brakes once you stray 3.0 strokes above your Low Index of the past twelve months. Without club intervention (for injury, illness, etc.), a hard cap prevents an increase of more than 5.0 strokes.Exceptional scores – Submit any score 7.0 – 9.9 strokes below your HI and you will be assessed an automatic 1.0 stroke reduction. 10.0 below and more, a 2.0 stroke reduction.The USGA Course Rating System – One of the wisest decisions made in devising the WHS was to adopt the former USGA Course Rating System. No need to re-rate all courses, current ratings will do just fine, thank you.Section 3-5…gone! – Section 3-5 was the adjustment for golfers competing from different tees. It awarded the difference in Course Ratings between tees to the golfers playing the set with the higher value.
No more.
With CH now calibrated to par, no adjustment required if the pars of the multiple tees are identical. If different, those playing the tees with the higher par receive additional strokes equal to the difference in par…and pars do not have decimal points!New Handicap Allowances – New and improved handicap allowance recommendations for popular formats of play have been developed. Everything from an individual gross/net competition (95% allowance for fields of 30 and above), to scrambles. Check out Appendix C of the Rules of HandicappingNew Stroke Index Allocation –The recommendation for the ranking of stroke holes is now based on a raw difficulty standpoint (difficulty versus par) and not from the match play perspective that prevailed for decades. As these stroke play derived rankings will likewise be used for match play, it is recommended that certain accommodations be made to spread out the strokes, to avoid back-to-back high rankings, etc. See Appendix E of the Rules of HandicappingNew CH Tables – The USGA has developed better, cleaner CH tables that we hope to distribute soon. CH can also be determined via app, kiosk and ghin.com.

 

The post 18 Things to Like About the New World Handicap System appeared first on Northern California Golf Association.


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West Coast Women’s Amateur

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2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park Will Have No Spectators

June 22, 2019

2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park Will Have No Spectators

The City of San Francisco and the PGA of America today announced that the 2020 PGA Championship, in which two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka aims for a historic three-peat, will be contested without spectators on-site, August 3-9 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
The decision to play golf’s first men’s major championship of 2020 without spectators was made in coordination with the state of California and city and county of San Francisco, with the health and well-being of all involved as the top priority.
“We are thrilled to welcome the PGA Championship to San Francisco,” said San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed. “We are able to safely take this step toward reopening because of the ongoing sacrifices of our citizens, the continued committed work of our healthcare workers and the early action we took to battle COVID-19.”

The PGA of America will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments and work in concert with the state of California and San Francisco city and county public health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention through Championship Week.
“We are both inspired and honored to ‘play on,’” said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh. “In doing so, we will spotlight not only the beauty of TPC Harding Park, but the fortitude of San Francisco and its remarkable people. We’d like to thank the state of California and the city and county of San Francisco for being terrific partners in helping us get to this place. While the local community cannot be with us physically on-site, we will certainly carry their spirit of resilience and unity with us as we stage our major championship, on their behalf, for all the world to see and enjoy.”
Many of golf’s greatest champions, from Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan, to Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka, have had their names inscribed on the famed Wanamaker Trophy.
“It has been gratifying for our PGA Professionals to play a meaningful role in helping people find healthy, outdoor recreation during the various phases of reopening golf,” noted PGA of America President Suzy Whaley. “It’s been encouraging to see our entire country and such a wide diversity of people embrace golf as a responsible, yet fun, activity to share with family and friends. We also look forward to returning to San Francisco and The Olympic Club for the PGA Championship in 2028 and the Ryder Cup in 2032, when we will again share this great game with the people of the Bay Area.”
In the coming days, those who purchased tickets directly from the PGA of America will be contacted to facilitate refunds. Updates will be posted at pgachampionship.com and on social media @PGAChampionship.
Those who purchased tickets from a secondary market platform other than pgachampionship.com should contact that site directly. The PGA of America will be unable to process refunds for those tickets.
The 2020 PGA Championship – the first in the PGA of America’s landmark 11-year media rights agreement with CBS and ESPN – will feature CBS Sports, ESPN and ESPN+ combining to deliver an unprecedented amount of broadcast and digital coverage.
Globally, the PGA Championship will be broadcast in 164 countries and territories reaching more than a half-billion households.
-NCGA Staff

 

The post 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park Will Have No Spectators appeared first on Northern California Golf Association.


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We Stand United–NCGA Statement Against Racism and Injustices

June 19, 2020

We Stand United–NCGA Statement Against Racism and Injustices

The NCGA is committed to delivering our vision to ensure the game of golf is vibrant, inclusive and accessible to all.  We know this is a challenging and hurtful time for many of our members and golf community.

We stand with you against racism and the injustices that have occurred.

Although we’ve made progress and are more diverse than most golf associations, there is always more that can be done to achieve equality for all.

While we can’t change the past, we can continue to work towards a better future for all our minority members, and those who have historically been excluded.

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Pebble Beach Company and Tiger Woods release plans for reimagined short course facility at Pebble Beach

June 18, 2020

Pebble Beach Company and Tiger Woods release plans for reimagined short course facility at Pebble Beach

New facility will include a nine-hole par-3 short course, a putting course, and an indoor/outdoor food and beverage venue overlooking one of the Resort’s most stunning views

Pebble Beach Company and Tiger Woods, through his TGR Design firm, today released plans to transform the former site of Peter Hay Golf Course. Located directly between the Pebble Beach Pro Shop and Golf Academy, the new facility will include:

A short course comprised of nine par-3 holes ranging in length from 47 to 106 yards and measuring 670 yards in total;A 20,000-square-foot putting course that can be set up in a variety of different hole and routing combinations; andA 5,000-square-foot food and beverage venue featuring a full kitchen and bar, indoor seating, and the resort’s largest outdoor patio positioned for expansive views of the short course, putting course, Carmel Bay, and Point Lobos

“We are thrilled to elevate the quality of our short course to a level consistent with our other world-class golf courses,” said Bill Perocchi, Chief Executive Officer of Pebble Beach Company. “You can see the genius of Tiger Woods and TGR Design come to life when you walk the site, the way it all fits together. I expect all aspects of this new facility will be very popular for junior golf events, Resort golfers, outings, resident hang-outs, and everything in between.”

Woods’ design philosophy for the short course is anchored on playability and creativity. His vision is that the course will draw new players to the game, bring families together, and provide a fun golf experience for players of all ages and abilities, while still offering a challenge for skilled players.


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USGA Announces Exemption Categories for 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur, U.S. Amateur Championships

 

June 17, 2020

USGA Announces Exemption Categories for 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur, U.S. Amateur Championships

The USGA today announced the exemption categories for the 120th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, set to take place Aug. 3-9 at Woodmont Country Club, in Rockville, Md., and the 120th U.S. Amateur, which will be held Aug. 10-16 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, in Bandon, Ore. As previously announced, the fields for both championships will be comprised entirely of exempt players due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Making the decision to forgo qualifying for our championships this year was extremely difficult, but we’re glad to be able to continue the legacy of these competitions and provide the best amateur players in the world the opportunity to compete for a USGA title,” said John Bodenhamer, senior managing director, Championships. “We aimed to create fields that most closely resemble those for a typical Amateur and Women’s Amateur, and are confident we will crown two worthy champions in August.”

Exemption categories for both championships are highlighted by expanded use of the World Amateur Golf Ranking® and Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking®, as well as finishes in recent USGA championships. A full list of U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur exemption categories can be found on usga.org. All exempt players must file an entry. Entries open Friday, June 26 and close Wednesday, July 8 at 5 p.m. EDT.


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Womens Golf Day 2020

Women’s Golf Day 2020

Women’s Golf Day was founded in 2016 to engage, empower and support participation in the game of golf by women of all ages.  The celebration began with 400 locations and has grown to over 900 committed for the year 2020.

As the reality of the Covid-19 Pandemic unfolded and our country and the world sheltered in place, it became clear that the traditional gatherings at golf courses and retail stores in June would not take place as planned.  On June 3 a virtual Women’s Golf Day digital celebration was held and participants around the globe were able to upload videos and photos from their home courses.

This virtual online experience has become a collection of videos of empowerment and inspiration, business and leadership advice and fitness and travel tips.  One of the most inspiring is Renee Powell’s story, who was the second African-American to play on the LPGA tour and faced adversity as she focused on her love for the game in spite of the limitations surrounding her career.  She also began “Driving Force,” a women veterans support group, where she introduces the game of golf to the women who served our country and struggle with the aftereffects of their years of service. Her story holds a powerful message.

In addition, the helpful golf tips, given from the background of Ireland’s beautiful landscape, the joyful smiles of the women from various Singapore golf courses and greetings from golfers in Croatia, as well as inspiring words from Elisa Gandet, the founder of Women’s Golf Day, are all reasons to set aside time from a busy day to watch the videos of the global golfers and professionals who support our sport.

We all have the experience of this pandemic in common with our other Women’s Golf Day participants.  We will never take our beloved game for granted, as well as many other activities and events, after what our country is experiencing.  In the meantime, we have learned to be thankful each time we are able to join a friend or colleague on the golf course as they begin to reopen.

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LPGA Back in Action

LPGA Back on Tour

The LPGA Tour is set to return with the Marathon Classic in late July, having shut down tournament operations in mid-February – an even longer break than the PGA Tour.

Since then, we’ve seen a number of players on social media show off their skills and practice drills. We also saw those who lined up to support virtual Women’s Golf Day on June 2. We wanted to go back and recall how the season started for our Northern California alums to get ready for when they do get back to resuming their seasons.

For starters, here’s the rescheduled LPGA Majors lineup:

AIG British Women’s Open: Aug 20-23, Troon Scotland

ANA Inspiration: September 10-13, Rancho Mirage, CA

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Junior Girls Grants Program

Junior Girls Grant Program

In 2002, the PWGA and the WGANC came together to support junior girls in golf by creating the Junior Girls Golf Grant Program. Over $260,000 has since gone to support various local initiatives. The NCGA continues this program to further support and promote women’s golf at the junior level.

 

This year, the Junior Girls Golf Program has already awarded 36 grants of up to $1,000, with 12 more on deck. Funding for the program comes through generous donations from individual members, member clubs and a $30,000 matching grant from Youth on Course. These funds make a huge difference for the grant recipients.  

 

Most of the applications come from high school golf teams, who use the funds for equipment, uniforms, transportation, access to practice facilities and green fees.  At the high school level, many girls’ golf programs do not receive any funding through the school and rely on parent contributions or fundraising efforts by the team. Some programs struggle to fund even the most basic needs, and are often using equipment handed down from the boys team and uniforms shared  season after season.

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Golf’s Back in Northern California – With Some Changes

June 9, 2020

Golf’s Back in Northern California – With Some Changes

After a few months of deprivation and then preparation, many of us in recent weeks have returned to the course for a few rounds. In coming back, we’ve experienced a few twists. Some things feel a bit strange, but other changes seem like potential keepers. In any case, new protocols will be in place for a while.

Here’s our ranking of the Top 3 changes as we see it:

The Flagsticks – we were just getting used to the new Rules on optionally leaving the flagstick in for putting. Everyone had different strategies and preferences; now it’s one less thing to think about – just leave it in and don’t touch it. As for the cup itself, there are some creative solutions for letting you retrieve your holed ball without touching the cup. Foam noodles, whiffle balls, PVC pipe, lifters and more.The Bunkers – no rakes means one less thing to touch. There are a few different approaches, depending by course or club or event. There are options for preferred lie, relief inside and even outside the bunker. If you are playing in a competition, make sure you ask about this! And, if you can, use your foot or club to smooth the sand, we are not giving up on being helpful and being courteous to our fellow players. The Camaraderie – it’s still there, just contactless. Practice your ‘air high-five’ moves during and after the round, acknowledge your fellow players with words and elbow bumps. It is amazing how the absence of the handshake impacts the whole experience. We hope that comes back when it can but for now we keep finding ways to improvise.

Remember, we’re all in this together and out there to enjoy golf, the outdoors and our buddies in the face of challenging times.

If you haven’t ventured out yet, see our backgrounder for what to expect in getting to the course – “5 Tips for Getting Back on the Course”.


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U.S. Women’s Open to Celebrate 75th Anniversary with Months-Long Celebration

June 3, 2020

U.S. Women’s Open to Celebrate 75th Anniversary with Months-Long Celebration Ahead of Rescheduled Championship

The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced a number of exciting initiatives connected to the milestone 75th anniversary U.S. Women’s Open Championship, which was originally slated for this week but will now be contested Dec. 10-13, 2020 at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas.

“The U.S. Women’s Open has played a significant role in the advancement of the women’s game for the last 75 years,” said Mike Davis, USGA CEO. “As we reach this monumental occasion, we want to thank and honor everyone who has been involved in the championship from the start – from the fans, volunteers and staff to the champions and players themselves, by reliving memorable moments and celebrating in Houston this December.”

In support of the historic milestone, the USGA has named three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion and Spring 2019 NCGA Golf Magazine profile Annika Sorenstam (pictured above after winning the 2006 title) ambassador of the championship. Her wins in 1995 and 1996 made her the first international player to win back-to-back titles, and she added a third victory with her playoff win in 2006. Sorenstam is one of six players to have won three or more Women’s Open titles, and the only one to achieve the feat in the last 35 years. In 2012, she received the USGA’s Bob Jones Award, the Association’s highest honor. Prior to the U.S. Women’s Open in December, Sorenstam will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“I am proud to represent the U.S. Women’s Open as their ambassador during this historic year,” said Sorenstam, a native of Sweden. “The championship means a lot to me and my career, and I look forward to celebrating and reliving moments that have meant so much not only to me, but the sport of golf as a whole. It’s truly a special occasion for so many of us.”


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California Amateur Championship Qualifying

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Rule of the Month: Movable Obstructions and Loose Impediments

June 1, 2020

Rule of the Month: Movable Obstructions and Loose Impediments

One of the fundamental principles of the Rules of Golf is that you play the course as you find it, but sometimes, you find things on the course near your golf ball that simply are not meant to be part of the challenge of the game. Loose impediments and movable obstructions both fall into that category of items. Because of this, you may remove them in most cases.

What is the difference between Loose Impediments and Movable Obstructions?

Loose impediments are unattached natural objects like stones, loose grass, leaves, branches, pine needles, clumps of compacted soil (including aeration plugs), etc. Other things that fall into this category are dead animals and animal waste, plus worms, insects, and other similar animals as well as the mounds and webs they build (for example, worm casts and spider webs).

It is important to note that there are a few things that may seem to meet the definition of a loose impediment but are not actually considered loose impediments under the Rules. Sand, loose soil, dew, frost, and water are not loose impediments. Snow and natural ice (other than frost) are treated either as loose impediments or as temporary water (when on the ground), at your option. This means that you may either remove snow and natural ice, or take free relief, depending on the situation and what you prefer.

A natural object is also not a loose impediment if it is attached or growing, if it cannot be easily picked out of the ground, or if it is sticking to your ball. The Rules allow you to move a natural object to see if it is loose before you remove it. If you do choose to do this and find that the natural object is growing or attached (meaning it is not a loose impediment), it must stay attached and be returned as nearly as possible to its original position.

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NCGA Events Are Back!

June 6, 2020

NCGA Events Are Back!

NCGA Events Resumed June 6

Dear NCGA member,

In an abundance of caution, the NCGA had previously made the decision to suspend all event activity through June 1.

Given the recent easing of Shelter-in-Place mandates, the NCGA began resuming its events calendar but with new tournament procedures in place.

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Bayonet Black Horse Amateur

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