Rules & Regulations

GOVERNANCEUnless modified by local rules and conditions, all play will be governed by the Rules of Golf as established by the United States Golf Association (USGA). 

Local Rules (exceptions to USGA Rules): - All roads and out-of-bounds are to be treated as lateral hazards (all other lateral hazards are marked by red lines).
- The 14 club rule is waived.
- The course is to be played under “lift, clean, and place” conditions.  Balls may be moved one club length anywhere on the course, no nearer to the hole, without penalty.
- Distance measuring devices are allowed.
- Lost ball: if a played shot cannot be found and identified within 5 minutes, a contestant must drop a ball within two club lengths of where the original ball should have been found. Add one stroke to the contestant’s score and play on.


All contestants should verify their presence at the course at the “Player Check-in Station” at least 15 minutes prior to his/her tee time.
Warm-up:Other than the practice putting and chipping green, Overton Park has no range or place on which to warm-up (full swings) prior to a round.
If late to first tee:A contestant must be at the first tee at his/her scheduled start time. If arriving at the first tee after his/her group has teed-off, a contestant will be disqualified if:
- During the qualifying round (medal play), all members of that group have completed their approach shots to #1 green.
- During match play, all members of that group have completed hole #1 and made their tee shots on #2. However, if arriving in time to join the group on #2 tee and therefore, disqualification will be waived, but the tardy contestant will automatically lose hole #1. 


Be ready:
Each contestant is expected to play without undue delay. Once their turn to play, a contestant should take not more than 40 seconds to play his/her shot.
Practicing during the round:Practicing between holes is not allowed, including on the putting green during the qualifying round (medal play). However, practicing between holes is allowable during match play.
Max score per hole during the qualifying round (medal play): A contestant should take no more than the number of strokes equal to twice the par on a particular hole (i.e., 6 on a par 3 or 8 on a par 4). Once this maximum number of strokes has been reached, the contestant must stop playing that hole and record the “double-par” on their scorecard. This max score includes any penalty stroke(s) incurred in the playing of that hole.
Max score during match play:While there is no max score per hole during match play, a contestant should pick-up his/her ball , stop playing if he/she cannot possibly win that hole, and concede the hole so that the match can immediately move to the next tee.
Cell phones: Should not be used by contestants or caddies during a round (except for use to obtain yardage information or to communicate an emergency situation).
Range finders: Distance-measuring devices may be used.


8 & 9-year olds:
Contestants in this age group are highly encouraged to use a caddie to assist and to help a player hit each shot without undue delay. A caddie must be at least 15 years old unless otherwise approved by the tournament committee. Caddies may use pull carts.
Older contestants:All players in all older age groups are expected to carry his/her own clubs. Caddies are not permitted. Pull carts are allowed (as available) if operated by the contestant only. 


At the completion of each round:
Scorecards should be taken to the Official Scoring Desk where results will be verified and recorded. Once reviewed and accepted by the scoring officials, results will be deemed final and posted.
Shortened rounds: If it becomes necessary to shorten a round (for inclement weather reasons, for example), at least 5 holes (normally #1 through #5) must be completed in order to make that round official.
If rules or scoring questions during the qualifying round (medal play):If a disputes occurs during the qualifying round, rules officials on the course should be consulted. If officials are not available, in order that play not be delayed, continue the round, but discuss the question or issue when submitting scorecards after the round at the Scoring & Results tent where a ruling will be made. 

If rules or scoring questions during match play:All disputes must be settled between contestants in a match before moving on to the next hole. If necessary, a rules official should be asked to assist.

The tournament organization clearly does not want to disqualify a contestant for an unknowing breach of the Rules of Golf that would normally result in his/her disqualification. While each situation may be different, the rules committee reserves the right not to invoke disqualification, BUT:
- During the qualifying round (medal play), to add 2 strokes to the offending contestant’s score for the round or on each hole on which a disqualifying rule is violated- During match play, to award “automatic loss of hole” on each hole on which a disqualifying rule is violated.      


In general:
Contestants, caddies, and spectators are expected to display proper etiquette, sportsmanship, and behavior at all times during their involvement with the OPJO. The tournament aims to provide a positive experience for everyone involved and reserves the right to penalize and/or dismiss any contestant or caddie at any time for a violation of this objective.
Violations include, but are not limited to: Abusive language, club throwing, cheating, disrespect of volunteers or officials or fellow players, abuse of the golf course or Overton Park facilities, littering, or any such conduct unbecoming a participant.
Dress code: Contestants and caddies are prohibited from wearing shoes with metal spikes, short shorts or cut-offs, swimwear, tank tops, sandals, and flip-flops. Shirts must be worn at all times and should not display distasteful graphics or messages. Shirts with collars are encouraged.
Tobacco & alcohol: Use of such substances, including electronic cigarettes, is strictly prohibited and will subject a user to penalty or disqualification. 


In general:
These guidelines have been adopted to protect the players and encourage fair competition. Parental and spectator interference could result in penalties and/or disqualification for a contestant. Further, any non-compliance with these guidelines could cause a spectator to be asked to leave the course (and, possibly, lose future spectator privileges).
Spectators MAY NOT:- Walk in a fairway or onto a tee or a green.
- Give advice or rulings to a contestant or caddie.
- Interact with a contestant in any way during a round as it could be misconstrued as advice or an attempt to provide an advantage
- Interfere with play of any group while on the course
- Use or be under the influence of alcohol or tobacco
It is permissible for a spectator to: Help look for golf balls, to carry water, towels and umbrellas, etc., and to seek help from a rules or tournament official.
Golf Carts: Due to lack of paved paths and limited number of such vehicles, golf carts are not available for spectator (or contestant) use. Carts will be used for tournament operations only.
Cell phones: To avoid distracting players, spectators are requested to keep cell phones in “silent mode” and to limit their use on the course.

Lost ball: If a played shot cannot be found and identified within 5 minutes after the search has begun, a player must drop a ball within two club lengths of where the original ball should have been found. Add one stroke to the player’s score and play on.

Lateral hazard and out-of-bounds:Lateral relief allows the contestant to drop a ball into a relief area measured from where the ball last crossed the edge of the red-lined penalty area.  From that reference point, the contestant is allowed to drop outside the penalty area within two club-lengths of that spot, no closer to the hole.  (see USGA Rule 17.1d(3)). Add one stroke to the player’s score and play on.

Drop zone on hole #7:As an additional option under USGA Rule 17-1 for a contestant whose ball has come to rest in Poplar Avenue (out of bounds) or into the woods or into Lick Creek or is lost,  the contestant must, under penalty of one stroke, drop a ball in the white painted circle marked “Drop Zone” located on the west side of Lick Creek and play on.
Ground under repair: Enclosed painted white lines define “ground under repair” (USGA Rule #16.1).  If a ball is found in a ground under repair area, the contestant is allowed a “free drop” from the nearest point of relief (including stance) plus one club’s length.  The drop should be made from knee height and no closer to the hole. No penalty is incurred.

The painted lines are considered part of the subject area. Even though they may not be painted, other areas of Ground  Under Repair may include newly sodded areas, trenches filled with stones or sand (French drains),  fire ant beds, and mounds caused by burrowing animals.
No play zones: The OPJO rules committee may designate other areas such as flower beds a “no play zones.” Relief from these areas is mandatory, and no penalty is incurred. However, if a contestant does play a shot from a “no play zone,” a penalty of two strokes may be added to his/her score on the hole on which the infraction incurred.

Contact us
For volunteer opportunities, sponsorships, or general questions, contact us.‍
Produced By
Overton Park Junior Open is produced by an all-volunteer group representing a partnership of the Overton Park Conservancy and Memphis Parks.