2024 Fall Golf

Manuals provide the most up to date policies, rules, and regulations for Iowa High School Athletic Association sports in the regular season and postseason. Member school athletic directors and head coaches seeking more information or clarifications on the contents of this manual should contact the IHSAA sport administrator for this sport, Lewie Curtis. All other inquiries should be directed through athletic directors or coaches at member schools or host schools. 

Unless the IHSAA Board of Control adopts other rules, USGA rules will govern high school golf. Coaches have the responsibility of being knowledgeable of USGA rules and all policies concerning tennis as established by the IHSAA.

For more information on concussions or sport safety, please visit the Health & Safety resource page. 

To search this manual, click a topic header from the Index above or select Find (Ctrl + F) from your keyboard. 


School enrollment numbers from each year inform the following school year’s classifications for IHSAA sanctioned sports. Enrollment numbers are provided by the Basic Educational Data Survey (BEDS) from the Iowa Department of Education. To view other sports or overall BEDS numbers, view the Classifications page.

Four classes with 3A, 2A, 1A in spring season

4A: Largest 48 schools, others requesting to play up. Fall season.

3A: Next largest 64 schools.

2A: Next largest 96 schools.

1A: Remaining schools.

Rules Information


All IHSAA sanctioned tournaments will follow USGA playing rules unless otherwise specified in the IHSAA Fall Golf Manual. All rules and regulations in the Fall Golf Manual (General Rules for Interscholastic Golf & Code of Conduct) are applicable to postseason play.


A jury consisting of three coaches should be selected prior to the start of competition. The coaches’ jury is to handle code of conduct and other IHSAA rules and regulations—they would make those determinations in concert with a PGA pro if available. When there is an identified PGA pro or rules interpreter present—we prefer the PGA rules interpreter make USGA rulings because of his/her knowledge. We still want the coaches’ jury to help assist with communication and those areas that involve “local committee” rules such as IHSAA code of conduct, Coaching Rule, etc. We do not want individual coaches whether on the coaches’ jury or not making rulings in isolation by him/herself on the course.

Any rules of golf interpretations/consultations may be directed to the following individuals at the Iowa Section of the PGA Casey Harvey, Tournament Coordinator at 319-775-7255 (call first); Tess Goudy, Junior Golf Director at 319-310-8728 (call second); Greg Mason, Executive Director at 319-230-4934 (call third); Mike Downing, Director of Player Development at 828-260-0230 (call fourth); Jacob Hesner, Junior Golf Coordinator at 319-939-9275 (call fifth); Blake Newell, Tournament Assistant at 319-541-5137 (call sixth); and then general Iowa PGA office at 319-648-0026.

In addition, the Iowa Golf Association (IGA) has USGA Rules interpreters on staff and is willing to assist with high school events and may be contacted at 515-207-1062.


The Iowa High School Athletic Association has partnered with the Iowa PGA to serve as USGA rules officials at the 2023 Fall State Tournament. The Iowa PGA will also be assisting with scoring and other aspects of tournament administration. Proper golf etiquette and sportsmanship will be a priority. In the event a rules interpreter is not available at the course, the three-person coaches’ jury will be utilized to make USGA rulings just as in the regular season.


It is against the rules for coaches to play golf on the course the day of the sectional, district, or state meet. If this takes place, the team will be disqualified due to the coaches’ actions, even if the tournament manager has given permission for the coach to play. Coaches are not to leave the premises while his/her player(s) are competing. Coaches may be asked to assist the host school with regular season or district competition, please do your best to honor that request.


Cell phones are allowed during competition as distance only rangefinders and for official competition score entry. Neither coaches or players should communicate via cell phone except in case of emergency on the course.  Cell phones are not available for casual use by players during competition. Use of a cell phone for unauthorized purpose(s) will result in a code of conduct violation per IHSAA rules.


Rangefinder devices (laser & GPS) are permitted during the regular season and throughout the IHSAA tournament series.  A player may obtain distance information only from the rangefinder. Cell phones (including distance apps), iPods, Smartwatches (a touchscreen wearable computer in the form of a wristwatch) are permitted during competition. Devices designed to measure conditions other than distance are now permitted, provided the golfer only uses the device for distance measurement and not for the following banned information, which includes but is not limited to, wind speed, slope or club selection. Players will be penalized if they use their rangefinder to measure anything but distance as a code of conduct violation and/or serious misconduct violation.

Players and coaches (coaches that are permitted to coach tee to green) are encouraged to share distance information upon request.  A player with a rangefinder may shoot distance from their position on the course and relay that information upon request to another player, provided the process does not delay play.  Spectators will not be allowed to provide or assist golfers with distance information.


Please keep in mind anyone who wants to play a practice round (player/coach) at a district or state site must pay green fees, and coaches, if the parents take a senior athlete to a practice site, explain to them they are guests at the golf course and will pay green fees.

Prior to the date of district tournaments, teams/individuals may play/practice at a district site depending on course availability.

The course on which the State Tournament is to be played is closed for any practice rounds to all teams and individual(s) as of the end of the day on Sunday, October 13.


There is no rule against a team/individual arriving at the district and/or state site to walk the course with prior golf course permission and provided they do not cause any confusion with regard to people who may be playing the course.  Players who walk the course are not to have any clubs with them while they are walking the course, nor are they permitted to roll balls on the course playing greens. Any violation of this rule will result in player disqualification from the entire one or two-day tournament.

Players may use the practice driving range, chipping green and putting green at the district or state site, if available. Teams traveling to the state site the night before the state meet, may use the practice driving range, chip or putt on the practice greens, and play a practice round if available and with the purchase of green fees. Coaches/players who walk the course the night before or the morning of the district or state tournament are permitted to use rangefinders.


No practice is permitted by a host school on the state golf meet site once pin placements have been made for the first day’s competition. Meet management should, in coordination with the course superintendent, make the determination as to how late they might wait prior to making pin placements for the first day’s competition.


In determining the winner at the state meet, the first-day scores will be the four best scores recorded for the team. The next day will be a new day and the four best scores on that day will be recorded. The total of the two days will determine team winners. If a team tie exists at the end of the second day, and the team tiebreaker rule does not resolve the tie, the four members whose scores counted the last 18 holes will be the four players involved in the play-off. Please review the team tiebreaker procedure elsewhere in this manual.

Schedule Information


District tournaments will be held October 7 (or 8), 2024.

District assignments will be posted on the IHSAA website:

State Tournament will be held October 14 & 15, 2024 @ Briarwood Golf Club in Ankeny

Contest Information


The IHSAA Golf Advisory Committee proposed that a uniform scoring method be adopted by the IHSAA in review of ongoing scoring issues within high school golf. The committee felt the process of having each player serve as a marker for all others within the group was an effective way to encourage communication amongst players. Players shall keep their own card and serve as a marker for all others in the group. At the end of the round, the players then simply compare cards and turn in their own card after it has been attested to by all in the group. Each card requires the signature of all members in the group.


IHSAA coaching regulation: Permit the designated golf coaches (maximum of two authorized coaches) to coach a player up until the player and the player’s ball are on the green. If any part of the player’s ball is on the actual green, the ball is considered on the green. Once the player arrives at the green (no delay by the player) the team or individual designated coach can have no more communication with competing player(s) until all players in the group have holed out. If a player hits a shot from 100 yards out and the ball lands on the green, the designated coach may communicate with this young man up until they reach the green (providing no delay walking to the green). Once the player is on the green, coach/player communication must cease. Keep in mind each team and or individual(s), are only allowed to have two designated coaches communicate with players while competition is in progress. When providing advice an authorized coach must not enter a bunker.

Designated Coaches are not to assist or instruct a player regarding putting on the green. If no part of the player’s ball is on the actual green, coach instruction is permitted. Coaches must understand that there is to be no delaying of play when providing instruction during the prescribed coaching time. The designated coach must understand this is additional time to coach player(s), but when visiting with players the pace of play shall not be delayed. This rule also allows the designated head coach an opportunity to address speed of play to players who have fallen behind the group in front of them.


Coaches may provide water or sport drinks for the players throughout the one or two-day event. Coaches will be permitted to provide a sandwich or energy bar for the players. Golf courses are hosting events for a minimal green fee, and we need to respect their opportunity to sell food and drink at their courses. Coaches are not to place coolers out on the course, they are to keep only a small portable cooler with them in their car or on their cart and provide food to their players only as they see fit. Coaches are not to provide food for spectators, nor will spectators be allowed to bring food or drink on the premises. The IHSAA appreciates your cooperation pertaining to this regulation. Please notify your spectators of this regulation.


Make sure you fill out the online district golf entry form ( under sport/golf) and email the form to the designated host school at least four days before the scheduled district meet. This will permit the meet manager to set up tee times according to your player ranking, via your entry form. A coach may substitute a team player(s) before teeing off in the district or state meet. In the district or state meet, no substitution will be allowed once a player has teed off on his first hole, regardless of injury, illness or DQ. You will eliminate that individual and count only the four best scores of the remaining four or five players. District green fees should be paid the day of the tournament. Golf Courses are providing very inexpensive green fees and we need to make sure we uphold our end and make payment to the course the day of the district meet.

IHSAA State Tournament qualifying schools will send their state tournament entry form (checklist) to the IHSAA offices after district competition is completed.

State Tournament Substitution: This option permits substitution of a team player either day of the State Tournament. This would involve bringing a seventh player and substituting at the coach’s discretion for one of the six players who participate each day. If a player is disqualified for an unsporting like act, he may not be substituted, and the team will only play five golfers. The substitution must be reported no later than the coaches’ meeting each day of the State Tournament. The golfer who is a potential team substitute must be on the original state tournament golf entry form (checklist).  Rationale: This offers the option to get more golfers involved and provides the coach with a tool for team discipline. It also provides for substitution at the state tournament on day two if there is an illness or injury following day one of the state tournament.


Individual qualifiers for state meet may not be substituted for, nor will another non-qualifying golfer from that district be allowed to take this individuals place, regardless of the circumstance


The top three district teams qualify for the state meet. At no time would a fourth-place team advance to state competition. The largest 48 4-A schools will participate in fall golf, including any schools below class 4A who elect to play up in classification and participate in class 4A golf. This is a two-year commitment.


The top two overall individual players (plus ties) at each site from among the non-qualifying teams will advance from each District to the State Tournament. This will create opportunities for at least two individuals from among the non-qualifying teams to advance from each site in the postseason. This also creates a uniform qualifying process in the postseason.


Each member school is entitled to enter six players in the district meet. The four best scores will count to determine the total score for the school. If a team tie exists, we will use the 5th players score and if the team tie remains, we will use the 6th player scores. NOTE: See team tiebreaker for all team and individual tiebreaker information. A school entering less than four players in the district meet may compete for individual honors, but they may not compete for team honors.


SELECTION OF PLAYOFF HOLES: The pro and/or rules jury, if no golf pro is available, will determine before the tournament starts, what playoff hole(s) will be used for any team or individual playoffs. This information should be communicated at the coaches’ meeting.

TEAM TIEBREAKER DISTRICT AND STATE COMPETITION: Breaking of all team ties will be decided by using the fifth player’s score of that day, and if the tie is not broken with the fifth player’s score, use the sixth player’s score. In the event a given team has only four players and the team they are tied with has five players, the team with five players would break the tie and be declared the winner. If a team has only five players and a team tie still exists after using each team’s fifth players’ score, the team with six players would break the tie and be declared the winner. This makes the fifth and sixth player’s score more meaningful in the team concept. If the team tie remains after using the fifth and sixth players score, a three-hole play-off will take place, using only the players’ scores who counted that day. If the three-hole play-off does not break the team tie, we will go to sudden death.

INDIVIDUAL DISTRICT & STATE TIEBREAKER SYSTEM: Individual ties for first place only (medalist), will be broken using a sudden-death playoff. If the tie is not broken after the first sudden death playoff hole, play will continue on a sudden-death schedule until the tie is resolved. For the purpose of awarding medals at District and State Golf, a cardback approach will be used for that day (example day two of state tournament) in accordance with hole handicaps to determine all medals beyond overall medalist. In District competition four medals are awarded and in State competition seven medals are awarded


A $15 per player green fee is assessed for participation in all district tournaments, paid directly to the course management by the participating schools up to a total of $90 green fees per school per tournament. Please have a check made out directly to the course where you will be participating in the district tournament in advance of your participation and present it to the host school management upon arrival. The host school management will present the green fees check for all participating teams to the course management. State tournament green fees will be paid directly to the host golf course by the IHSAA.


District tournaments will be determined by the host school within reason with 10:00 AM preferred.

The district hosts should notify all the Athletic Directors of participating schools.

The State Tournament will start at 10:30 on Monday and 10:00 AM on Tuesday, weather permitting.


When looking at teams, match up the number one golfers with other schools’ number one golfers. Individual qualifying golfers should play with the other individual qualifiers in the competition. Pairing players using the team concept should allow for players from the same team to be in successive groups on the course, which will assist coaches and spectators in following their team. In the state meet, second day pairings are to be based on first-round team scores. No players from the same school should be assigned to the same group whether threesomes or foursomes. In state competition, the IHSAA in conjunction with the Iowa PGA will determine pairings for each day of State Tournament play.

NOTE: When determining pairings at district and state competition, Bound’s Combined Adjusted Averages shall be utilized as a guide for ranking teams and any individual qualifiers. In state tournament competition, the second day pairings will be based upon first round team results as is the current practice.  This recommendation was submitted by the golf advisory committee and approved by the IHSAA Board of Control in June of 2018.


Any player who fails to finish play in the district or state tournament competition is considered to have withdrawn from the tournament and his score(s) will not count. If this should occur during the state tournament on day one, he will not be able to participate on day two. NOTE: See additional information under substitutions at state tournament events earlier in the manual.


If a player is disqualified for any unsporting like act, he is ejected from the entire one or two-day tournament. If a player is deemed disqualified from any two-day tournament on day one, for a misapplication of a rule, illness/injury after he has put his ball in play/started competition (not unsportsmanlike conduct), the player is disqualified, and his score will not count the day he is disqualified. This individual would be able to compete, and his score would count on the second day only of a two-day event. The three coach rules jury at the tournament site would make the final ruling pertaining to any unusual circumstances dealing with a disqualification except for unsportsmanlike behavior.


District Meet: In the district tournament, there will be one medal for the medalist; one medal for the medalist runner-up, one for third and fourth place individuals. State team qualifiers will receive an IHSAA State golf tournament qualifier banner.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For the purpose of awarding medals at District and State Golf, a cardback approach will be used for that day (example day two of state tournament) in accordance with hole handicaps to determine all medals beyond overall medalist. In District competition four medals are awarded and in State competition eight medals are awarded.

State Meet: In the state meet, there will be medals awarded to the top four teams, seven medals per team. Individual medals for the top eight players (a sudden death play-off would be held if we have a tie for overall medalist honors). In the state meet, a championship, runner-up and third place trophy will be given, along with a banner for the champion and runner-up team. The coach of the championship team will receive a plaque.


Teams and individuals who qualify for the state meet will have their pictures taken with their coach when they arrive at the State Golf Meet site. Individuals in the picture will be identified after the meet by each school and then made into a picture plaque to be presented to each of the participating team member(s) and head coach, compliments of the IHSAA. An online picture identification and order form will be sent to each school/A.D. following the state meet. Please make sure your Athletic Director verifies the player(s)/coach in a timely manner and purchases any additional plaques needed.


State: For state tournament competition, the IHSAA will reimburse each traveling school at the rate of 48¢ per mile one way for individual qualifier(s) and qualifying teams $1.20 per mile one way per team.

Weather Information



If district tournaments are postponed (no more play that day) once competition has started, play will continue from the last completed hole by every player in their group. If three of the four players have putted out and the players are called off the course and do not return that day, all players will be required to play the hole over.

If play is halted (suspension due to thunder and/or lightning) and players are immediately called off the course, all players should mark their ball (if applicable) and if play continues that day, players would resume play at their marked spot.

In districts, if you are required to return a second day because of a rain-out and you are rained out a second time, and have finished nine holes, those nine-hole scores will determine which teams and individuals qualify for state competition. Remember, this is only true on the second time you return. Example 1: Districts were scheduled for Tuesday and you were rained out. You come back on Wednesday and you are rained out but everyone gets at least nine holes played. Those nine holes on the Wednesday will determine the teams and individuals that advance on to state competition.  Example 2: District play has begun, groups finish at least nine holes and are rained out, everyone returns the next day and begin play from the last completed hole by everyone in your group. If rain again forces competition to end for that day and everyone has not completed competition (nine holes), the first days nine holes will determine the teams and individuals that advance to the next level of competition.

In state tournament competition, if eighteen holes are played on Monday and it is impossible to play Tuesday due to weather, the first eighteen holes will determine the champion. Likewise, if Monday competition is postponed and you are able to play 18 holes on Tuesday, those eighteen holes on Tuesday will determine a winner. Under no conditions will competition be held on Sunday. If both Monday and Tuesday are postponed, then the tournament will be reset by the tournament manager and each school will be notified accordingly. When the tournament is rescheduled, competition will be eighteen holes. If play is halted (suspension due to thunder and/or lightning) and players are immediately called off the course, all players should mark their ball (if applicable) and if play continues that day, players would resume play at their marked spot.


If thunder is heard or lightning is seen, immediately suspend the contest and instruct everyone to take safe shelter. Once the contest is suspended due to lightning, wait at least 30 minutes after hearing the last thunder or seeing lightning before resuming the contest. Complete guidelines regarding lightning safety appear on the IHSAA website. Remember, lightning often strikes as far as 10 miles away from the storm. Each host school should have a lightning safety plan, which includes knowing where teams & spectators will go and how long it will take them to get there safely.


The primary concern when signs of hazardous weather are present is the safety of participants and spectators. Have a safety plan for any type of hazardous weather that may occur. Practice and follow the plan. Know where people will go for safety and know how much time it will take for them to get there. Have specific guidelines for suspending the event so everyone has time to reach a place of safety before the threat becomes significant.