Tournament Policies

Eligibility

As an association of member clubs, MSGA events are open to all amateur members of golf clubs and associations belonging to the MSGA. 

Individual registration is required on a yearly basis. Membership at the club level is defined as holding at least a 10-play card at that club. Players must also have a current USGA GHIN card, issued by their club and administered by the MSGA. They are eligible to play in any event offered by the MSGA for which they meet the applicable conditions of competition. 

Players have until May 15 (or the season opening of the club, whichever is later) to become a paid member of that club or association and activate a GHIN account at that club. Afterward, the member will not be eligible to play in MSGA events until obligations for eligibility have been fulfilled.

All MSGA tournaments are open to employees of member clubs, who may play if they meet amateur status and have GHIN at that club.

Active duty service members who are stationed in Maine and living here and are members of MSGA affiliated clubs, are also eligible.

Conditions of Competition

The Local Rules for the non-championship competitions will be determined by the host club and conveyed through the MSGA tournament administrator at the site. MSGA Conditions of Competition (“Hard Card”) will be in effect.

Different MSGA events have different criteria for eligibility and for obtaining tee times, and all information will be posted under the various events on the MSGA website.

For the purpose of rules interpretations in any multi format-event of both individual and team play, when there is a conflict in the Rules, rules for team play will take precedence. 
For all Championship events, eligibility and criteria will be posted online. Players will also receive a copy of the Conditions of Competition at the event. 

Guest Policy

Members of MSGA Member Clubs: A Member of an MSGA club with an active GHIN handicap may play one time without joining the MSGA. If the player wins, the cost of membership will be deducted from the winnings in order to set up an MSGA voucher account from which the player will be paid. 

Other Guests: Our Weekend tournaments are also open to members of other golf associations, who may play as guests on a courtesy basis, with a limit of twice per season. These players must either have a valid USGA/GHIN handicap card, or they will play at scratch.

NOTE: Guests cannot win a voucher prize until they have joined the MSGA.

Championships

Players will not be able to sign up for any championships until they are part of the MSGA Championship Players Program. 

Major MSGA Championships, including the Maine Amateur, the Maine Women’s Amateur, the Senior Women’s Amateur, the Senior Amateur, the Mid-Amateur and the Junior Championship are restricted to Maine resident amateurs. Non-residents who have been members of MSGA-affiliated clubs for 10 years and who reside in Maine for three months annually are also eligible. 

Only one participant in the Parent/Child Championship is required to belong to the MSGA Championship Players Program. Likewise, only one participant per team in the Mixed Championship must have an active membership in the MSGA. Professionals in the Charlie’s Maine Open are not required to purchase MSGA membership.

Juniors who summer in Maine, who are members of an MSGA member club and who compete in at least five MSGA Junior Tour events are also eligible for the Junior Championship (but not our other championships). Players must be members in good standing of an MSGA member club before championship application.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations from MSGA events vary from competition to competition, and it is the players’ responsibility to know what the cancellation policy is. Any questions can be directed to any MSGA member staff member who will help you.

Generally, in men’s weekend and senior events, cancellations must be made three days prior to the day of the tournament in order to avoid penalty. If tee time is missed entirely without acceptable notice, players will be charged the full entry fee. If the group cancels after the deadline or if a group chooses not to play for any reason (i.e. weather), there will be a $20 per player charge.

In women’s events, mid-week events and championships, cancellations must be made at least seven days prior to the competition in order to receive any refund. On-line payments will be refunded electronically in accordance with the MSGA refund policy. In the case where payment is made by check, the check will be destroyed. NOTE: Once tee times have been assigned, there will be no refunds without penalty.

Players are responsible for notifying the MSGA Tournament Administrator in charge of the event if they cancel on the day of the event. Do not leave a message at the club or at the MSGA office or with the host club. The tournament administrators may all be reached by email.

If a tournament is cancelled after the start of play, players will either be refunded or issued a refund voucher, good upon presentation at any other MSGA weekend or senior event.

Any players incurring penalties must pay in full before any subsequent tee times will be honored. Unusual circumstances will be considered individually.

To receive electronic communication of cancellations on your mobile device, text ‘follow MsgaAlerts’ to 40404. Notifications are sent via Twitter Alerts as soon as the decision to cancel an event is made. Players do not need to have a Twitter account to utilize this system.

Pace of Play (new)

Our organization recognizes that pace of play is the responsibility of all players in the field. Each player in a foursome should practice behaviors that support “Ready Golf” at all times. The following pace of play policy will be in effect:

Slow players as determined by a gap of 20 minutes or more between pairing group will receive a warning letter for each of the first two infractions.  The third infraction will result in the assessment of a 2-stroke penalty for the tournament in which the infraction occurred, to be assessed on the last hole.  A 2-stroke penalty will be assessed in all tournaments within the current season whenever any subsequent infraction occurs. The number of infractions will carry forward into the next season if the initial infraction occurs after August 1; otherwise the record will be cleared at the end of the season. 

In addition, if a group is more than 20 minutes behind the group in front of it, all players in the group will be entered into the “20+ Club” and be assigned a later tee time in the field in subsequent tournaments. If players complete the next event within a 19 minute or less interval, then they will be removed from the 20+ Club and will be randomly assigned tee times going forward. NOTE: All players are required to indicate beginning and ending times on their scorecard. Failure to record will result in an automatic membership in the 20+ Club.

Championship events have their own Pace of Play policy, which will be posted with the Conditions of Competition for the event.

Vouchers

Prizes in all MSGA events (except the Charlie’s Maine Open Pro-Am) are given in the form of vouchers, and prizes given are based upon the size of the field in the competition. Winnings are credited to a voucher account in that player’s name and can be accumulated indefinitely as long as the player remains active in the MSGA. Once a player is inactive for a period of two years, unclaimed prize money will be designated for MSGA's charitable purposes.

Players may draw vouchers against accumulated winnings at any time, either on site at any MSGA tournament, or by calling the MSGA office at 829-3549. Players may also request vouchers via email at jane@mesga.org. Once a voucher is written, the player will have 90 days in which to redeem it, after which time it will become null and void.

Vouchers are redeemable at MSGA member club pro shops at full face value, or they may be used for merchandise or cart fees at MSGA events. They also may be donated back to the MSGA for charitable purposes. They may not be used for green fees, may not be sold to other players, and they may not be redeemed at non-member or off-site club shops. 

Players who charge carts to their voucher accounts are responsible for knowing their voucher balance. On the first offense of charging a cart when sufficient credit is not available, the player will lose the privilege of using vouchers for carts in MSGA events.

Players wishing to donate voucher winnings to either help a competitor with costs of a USGA competition or to any MSGA Scholarship funds may do so by contacting the MSGA office.

Important Note: Any players who abuse the voucher system may be subject to loss of amateur status and/or suspension from MSGA events.

Handicapping

As defined by the USGA Handicap Manual, the Handicap Committee at the home club is responsible for handicapping all players, and players must belong to a golf club in order to have a handicap.

All players in MSGA handicap events must have a valid Maine GHIN handicap card with only one GHIN number. Players without a GHIN card may be prohibited from competing, or may be required to compete at scratch. 

The Handicap System will be administered by MSGA staff at the direction of the MSGA Handicap Committee, which will meet on a regular basis to review and recommend any changes. The Handicap Committee is the final authority regarding handicapping in any MSGA event. Any question regarding handicapping should be directed to the MSGA Executive Director, who will take unresolved matters to the Handicap Committee.

Grievance Policy (new)

The MSGA will address any grievance that is presented to the MSGA in writing. The member will put in writing a signed grievance (including details, date, time and place of the incident).

The grievance will be address by the Executive Director, who will attempt to bring it to a resolution. If the Executive Director is unable to solve the problem, or if the person submitting the grievance is unsatisfied with the Executive Director’s ruling, it may be appealed to the Grievance Committee, which will set a date to hear the complaint and will decide on any sanction.

The Grievance Committee will then report end results to the Board of Directors at the next Board of Directors meeting.


Refund Policy

Advanced entry fees will be refunded regardless of reason if the MSGA is notified before the close of entries. Refunds of entries made by credit or debit card will be applied to that same card, in keeping with proper merchant processing protocol. After the close of entries, fees will be refunded only if the tournament remains full. No refunds will be given after the start of the tournament. A 20 percent service charge will be deducted from all refunds. (Exception: Maine Open refunds will be entry fee minus $30). Unusual circumstances will be considered individually.
Players who use the online portal to withdraw prior to the close of entries will be credited their refund at such time as the transaction clears the system. All others will receive their refunds after the start of the event.

Dress Code and Behavior

Players and their caddies must wear appropriate golf attire and meet the dress codes of the host club. Generally, shirts must have collars and jeans are not allowed. Metal spikes are not allowed in any event.  

Players and their caddies are guests at host clubs and must be cordial and polite to the management and employees of the host clubs, as well as to each other.  The MSGA reserves the right to cancel entries of those who do not comply with the dress code and/or whose behavior is disruptive or offensive.  MSGA also reserves the right to suspend the membership of any member who repeatedly fails to comply with dress or behavior standards.  Any concerns or complaints a player may have must be brought directly to the MSGA office, not to the host club.

It is the responsibility of every player in each MSGA tournament to know the Rules of Golf. Our MSGA Scorers are excellent resources for questions on the Rules.

Special Note: Players are reminded that everyone in the group is expected to protect the integrity of the field, and group captains must bring all rules violations to the attention of the MSGA Scorer. If in doubt, the player should invoke the second ball rule (Rule 3-3) and confer with the MSGA Scorer before turning in the scorecard.

Players must strictly adhere to the Rules of Golf. Players caught cheating will be disqualified and may face further penalties, such as the revocation of their GHIN Handicap card.

In addition, players are expected to follow the Rules of Etiquette listed in the front of the Rule Book. Please pay particular attention to Care of the Course. Players should always remember to rake bunkers; replace divots and repair ball marks; avoid damaging greens with equipment; observe golf cart local rules; and limit practice swings to avoid damage.

MSGA participants are also expected to follow other posted club rules as they apply. Unbecoming behavior or breach of rules, including etiquette, could lead to loss of playing privileges in all MSGA events.