Spring 2021: Return to Competition

Published: Feb. 26, 2021


This document should be considered as providing recommendations from the IHSAA for member schools and may be updated before and during the spring 2021 season.

People (participants, coaches, officials, spectators, etc.) feeling sick or that have been exposed to someone sick, should not attend or participate in competitions or practices. The IHSAA and IGHSAU strongly encourages all participants and spectators to practice social distancing and wear face coverings whenever possible. Local policies may vary, including requiring face coverings for spectators.

Schools are asked to read a public address announcement at the start of each event encouraging social distancing (ex: arm test) and remind spectators to do their part to keep their kids healthy and active.


It will be the general practice of the IGHSAU/IHSAA to defer to the local committee (host course/host school) on whether to utilize tee times versus shotgun starts for regular season competition in a fashion that promotes social distancing.



The following guidelines should be followed at all times:

  • Stay at least six feet away from others at all times. Masks may be worn.
  • Do not touch or handle any supplies or equipment that are not yours–Tees, Scorecards, Pencils and other needed items for play.
  • Players and spectators should not enter the clubhouse at host courses unless communicated entry points and restrooms are stated.


  • The IHSAA/IGHSAU encourages member schools to schedule golf competitions in a fashion that allows for social distancing.
  • That may mean scheduling duals, triangulars or four team contests versus multi-team tournaments.
  • Multi-team tournaments are allowed if the host school/course follows all county health guidelines and are able to provide for an environment in accordance with IGHSAU/IHSAA Guidelines.


  • For meets, limit time at the practice facilities (range and putting green) to decrease the amount of interaction between teams. 
  • Hosts should assign a “Time Window” for each participating team. That may also include assigning range location as well.
  • Hitting bays set up with 10 feet of space between players.
  • Bring your own tees — avoid community tee bins.
  • If possible, provide pool noodles or pvc in practice green holes to prevent the ball from dropping all the way in the cup.
  • Work with host club to space out putting green holes as best as possible.
  • The practice putting green may have a limited number of players allowed on it at any one time depending on the size of the putting green or by guidelines set by the host course.
  • If numbers allow, an adult (assistant coach) should monitor the warm-up area(s)


  • Spectators are allowed at competitions, but just as in the past, spectators should maintain ample distance from all players.
  • Spectators should be given guidance to maintain social distancing amongst themselves as well – if spectators fail to comply with host course/host school they may be asked to leave.


  • Carts for coaches are at the discretion of the host course and the local county health guidelines.
  • Carts for spectators—the host school and/or course will want to establish an efficient way for the host club to collect cart fees to insure social distancing.
  • No shuttles for players, except when dealing with extreme weather delays.


  • The coaches meeting should occur in an open area that allows for social distancing (outdoors may be ideal). Another possible option is to have the coaches meeting online via Zoom, Google Hangout, etc the day prior to a competition. The number of teams involved in the competition will likely dictate the conditions for the coaches meeting.
  • Explain electronic scoring or distribute scorecards (another option is to email scorecards to coaches to print ahead of time)


  • Players should provide their own water/drink as many courses do not offer water stations due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Coaches are allowed to distribute water and/or sport drinks as in the past.


  • Host schools should work with the host course to take all necessary precautions, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of restrooms on the course.
  • Place sanitizing wipes or similar at the restrooms and encourage players to wipe down facility before using.


  • All delays are going to be heavily dependent on the number of teams, nature of delay, and course facilities.
  • One potential solution is sending players to vehicles rather than clubhouse.
  • Plan to have disposable masks to hand out should there be a need to congregate in large numbers in a shelter (may also have players carry masks in their golf bag should they need to congregate due to severe weather).
  • The timing of delays and restarts may be increased to allow more time for players to return to the course from safe places (i.e. they left in their car, SUV, team bus).


  • The host school should defer to the host course on the use of a physical scoreboard. One concern is the tendency to congregate around the scoreboard which should be discouraged.
  • One possible alternative is to have all scores visible electronically on a website, Google doc, app, etc for both participants and spectators to view.


  • Any award presentation should be brief and social distancing should be maintained.


  • All players/teams/spectators should leave the premises once competition/awards are complete.



Players should make every effort to maintain a 6-foot or larger distance from all other teams at all times.  Repeated and intentional, accidental or unknowing breaches of this rule could result in a Code of Conduct Violation.

Local rules are at the discretion of the local committee (host school/course) and should be clearly communicated to all participants in advance of competition.



Bunkers, if the decision is made to remove rakes

When a ball is in any bunker, Model Local Rule E-3 is in effect. The player may lift, clean, and place the ball or any ball within one club length no closer to the hole in the bunker. The relief area must not be smoothed before placing. Penalty for breach of this local rule: General Penalty.


Flagsticks, if the decision is made to leave flagsticks in at all times

Rule 13.2 is modified in this way: Player are prohibited from moving the flagstick at any time. Penalty for breach of this local rule: General Penalty. The player is not penalized under this local rule for accidentally touching the flagstick while removing the ball from the hole.


Holing Out

The definition of “holed” is modified in this way: A ball is considered holed if it is resting on an object in place to prevent the ball from falling to the bottom of the cup even if the ball is not completely resting below the surface of the ground.



Scoring will be done with a paper scorecard that is not exchanged between players.

  • Option One: Each player will be assigned a marker at the tee. Players will keep both scores on the scorecard. All players are still encouraged to verbally exchange scores at the next tee box when each hole is complete. After the round, in the scoring area, players will certify their scores hole-by-hole verbally and a signature will not be required by the player or marker. The scorecard is considered returned when the player verbally certifies the scores and places the scorecard in the box and/or at the scorer’s table.
  • Option Two: Each player will keep the scores for all players in the group, so each player serves as a marker for all players in the group. This option encourages all players to verbally exchange scores at the next tee box when each hole is complete. After the round, in the scoring area, players will certify their scores hole-by-hole verbally in the presence of all players in the group and signatures are not required. The scorecard is considered returned when the player verbally certifies the scores and places the scorecard in the box and/or at the scorer’s table.



If an awards ceremony is held, everyone will still practice social distancing and maintain at least six (6) feet apart from each other unless they are from the same household.

Stop HT Iowa