2024 Spring 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 Golf Manual. All rules and regulations in the 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); 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 2024 Spring State Tournaments. 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 sectional, district or state site must pay green fees.

Prior to the sectional or district tournaments, teams/individuals may play/practice at a sectional or district site.

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 the Sunday immediately prior to the tournament.


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

NOTE: Please call ahead to check availability. Players may use the practice driving range, chipping green and putting green at the sectional, district or state site–if available. 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 the Sunday immediately prior to the tournament.


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


Sectional tournaments: May 8, 2024 (or May 7)

District tournaments: May 13, 2024 (or May 14)

State Tournament: May 20 (10:30) & 21 (9:00), 2024 in Ames

  • Class 3A: Veenker Memorial
  • Class 2A: Coldwater Links
  • Class 1A: Ames Golf & Country Club

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 any 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.


Make sure you fill out the online sectional & district golf entry form ( under sport/golf) and email the form to the designated host school at least four days before the scheduled sectional or 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 sectional, district, or state meet. In the sectional, 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. Sectional & District green fees must be paid the day of the tournament by participating schools. 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 sectional/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 on 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 the district or 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.


District and State Tournament Team Qualifiers: The sectional/district team champion and runner-up will advance to the district/state competition. If a host school (sectional/district host team only, play the majority of their regular season matches or regularly practice on this course) finish first or second, the third-place team will also advance to the district or state tournament. There are times when multiple schools use the same golf course and we have a sectional or district tournament at this particular golf course, the designated host school by the Iowa High School Athletic Association must finish first or second in order for a third-place team to advance. The maximum number of teams that could possibly advance from sectional to district competition would be three. At no time would a fourth team advance to district competition. If your school has qualified a team of four or more members for the state meet, they need not be the same contestants who comprised your team in the sectional/district meet. If your school has qualified a team, up to six contestants in your school who are eligible to represent your school in interscholastic athletics may compete in the district/state meet as a member of your team. In the event your school has qualified individual(s) and not a team, then only that individual(s) would be eligible to compete in the state meet. You can’t substitute for individual qualifier(s).


The top two overall individual players (plus ties) at each site from among the non-qualifying teams will advance from each Sectional to District tournament. Similarly, 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. The process for team qualifiers from Sectional to District to State remains the same as in the past.


Each member school that qualifies for a given postseason tournament is entitled to enter six players in the sectional and 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 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, SECTIONAL, 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 SECTIONAL, 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 Sectional, District and State Golf, a cardback approach will be used in accordance with hole handicaps to determine all medals beyond overall medalist. In Sectional and 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 sectional & 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 sectional or 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.


Sectional and District tournaments will be determined by the host school within reason with 10:00AM preferred. The sectional and district host school should notify all the Athletic Directors of participating schools. The State Tournament will start at 10:30 on Monday and 9:00AM on Tuesday, weather permitting.


Shotgun or assigned tee times are acceptable for starting a tournament. 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 and tournament administrators will determine pairings for each day of State Tournament play.

NOTE: When determining pairings at sectional, district and state competition, Bound shall be utilized as a guiding tool 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.


Any player who fails to finish play in sectional, 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 coaches’ jury/rules jury at the tournament site would make the final ruling pertaining to any unusual circumstances dealing with a disqualification except for unsportsmanlike behavior.


IMPORTANT NOTE: For the purpose of awarding individual medals at Sectional, District and State Golf, a cardback approach will be used in accordance with hole handicaps to determine all medals beyond overall medalist. In Sectional and District competition four medals are awarded and in State competition seven medals are awarded. If a tie should occur for overall medalist honors, a sudden death play-off will take place according to the tiebreaker procedure.

Sectional Meet: There will be six medals for the team winning first place, six medals for the team winning second place. There will also be a medalist and runner-up; plus, medals for the third- and fourth-place players.

District Meet: There will six medals for the team winning first; six medals for the team winning second place There will also be a medalist and runner-up; plus, medals for the third- and fourth-place players. State team qualifiers will receive an IHSAA state golf tournament qualifier banner.

State Meet: Medals will be awarded to the first four teams, seven medals per team. There will also be a medalist and runner-up; plus, medals for the third-, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-place players. In the state meet, a championship, runner-up and third place trophy will be presented and an IHSAA banner will be presented to the state champion and runner-up. The coach of the championship team will receive a plaque.


Teams and individuals who qualify for the state meet will be provide photo plaques from photos provided by the schools.


A prerequisite for receiving any expense allowance from the IHSAA is that your school must travel to another town for the tournament participation.

The IHSAA will pay $.48 per mile one way for schools who qualify individual(s) for State Golf.

The IHSAA will pay $1.20 per mile one way for schools who qualify a team for State Golf.

Weather Information


If sectional and 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 (suspended) and players are called off the course, all players should mark their ball and if play continues that day, players will resume play at their marked spot.

Further guidance for postponement:

If you are required to return the second day because of postponement, and you are postponed a second time, if you have finished nine holes that will determine the sectional and/or district champion. Individual and team qualifiers will be determined from the nine-hole scores.

Example 1: Sectionals/Districts were scheduled for Wednesday and you are postponed. You come back on Thursday and you are postponed again, but everyone gets at least the same nine holes played. Those nine holes will determine the teams and individuals that advance to the next level of competition.

Example 2: Sectional/District play has begun, groups finish at least nine holes on day one and are postponed, everyone returns the next day and begins play from the last completed hole by everyone in the group. If you are postponed a second time, the nine-hole scores will determine the sectional and/or district champion and qualifiers.

In state tournament competition, if eighteen holes are played on day one and it is impossible to play day two due to weather, the first eighteen holes will determine the champion. Likewise, if day one competition is postponed and you are able to play 18 holes on day two, those eighteen holes on day two will determine a winner. Under no conditions will competition be held on Sunday. If both day one and day two are postponed, then the tournament will be reset by the tournament committee and each school will be notified accordingly. When the tournament is rescheduled, competition will be eighteen holes. If play is halted and players are called off the course, players should mark their ball and if play continues that day, players will 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.