All recognised golf clubs in England, Scotland and Wales are eligible to submit two teams of five in the men’s championship and two teams of five in the women’s championship. Societies are not eligible and it is a condition of entry that teams must be able to host matches if drawn at home. The club’s official entry should be submitted by the club captain or secretary either online at www.matchplaygolf.co.uk or on the entry sheet provided by no later than closing date which is normally the end of February. Players must be registered members of the club and able to invite guests to play on the course, however Tournament Organisers have no jurisdiction over individual club’s rules regarding player eligibility. Players who are members of more than one club may represent only one club in the championship. If a team member ceases to be a member of the club he or she is representing he or she must withdraw from the championship immediately.
Each competitor must have a ‘Competition Status’ (active) handicap issued by a CONGU affiliated golf club and their handicap must remain ‘Competition Status’ for the duration of the competition. Playing handicaps will be restricted to a maximum of 18 for men and 24 for women. Players with handicaps above this are eligible to play in the tournament but must play off a maximum of 18 for men and 24 for women. Juniors are eligible.
The Championship is played under “The Rules of Golf” for matchplay as laid down by the R&A and in accordance with all R&A regulations governing Amateur Status.
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2. Eliminating Rounds
a. Teams: must be nominated in a 1-2-3-4-5 order for each match i.e.Competitor No. 1 of the home club must play competitor No. 1 of the visiting club. No. 2 plays No. 2 and so on. Each team should consist of 5 players, and captains must exchange their teams and playing order before the commencement of the match (Team Sheets should be exchanged in Clubhouse before match). Once the teams have been exchanged no alterations are allowed. Team Captains can choose players from any bonafide members of the club, however in order to be eligible to represent the club in the Finals event a player must have taken part in at least one of the earlier rounds. If a club has entered 2 Men's teams and / or 2 Ladies teams then no player may play for both respective teams.
b. Knock-Out: Eliminating rounds will be on a Knock-Out basis with each match consisting of five singles decided by handicap match play over 18 holes. A winning game will count as one point and a game that finishes all square after 18 holes will count as a half-point. In the event of a match being tied 2½ - 2½ after the completion of the final two-ball, the designated No. 5 player must play a sudden-death handicap match starting on the tee from where the original match began and continuing hole-by-hole until there is a result. If the player named as number 5 on the day is injured PRIOR to the commencement of the match they must concede their match. In the event of the overall score being tied the number 4 players must then contest the sudden death playoff. This rule only applies when the number 5 player is injured PRIOR to the commencement of their match. If the number 5 player is injured during or after their match they must concede the play off.
c. Handicap difference: Full difference between competing players handicaps will be taken as the basis for play. The player entitled to receive strokes will receive them at the appropriate holes shown on the official scorecard for the course. All players should produce their current handicap certificate for their opponents to see, if required.Failing to do so does not mean loss of match. It is the players’responsibility to check their respective handicaps and the shot allowance prior to teeing off in their match.
d. Matches: A draw will be made for each round based upon club’s geographical location. Clubs from different counties may be drawn to play each other from round one onwards. Clubs will be notified of their matches by email.
e. Course conditions: The home team has the responsibility to ensure that the course is fit for play and to inform visiting golfers of the Local Rules prior to match day. If it is essential that Winter Rules be in operation,then these should still allow for the fair and proper playing of the match(please see the tournament website www.matchplaygolf.co.uk “FAQ” section for acceptable winter conditions). If not, the match should be switched to the away course providing it complies with the acceptable Winter Rules and is available.
f. Course closure on match day: If the home course is closed or does not comply with acceptable Winter Rules on the day of the match, every effort should be made to re-arrange the match within the deadline.However, if this is not possible and the away course is open and does comply with the Winter Rules, the match should automatically switch to the away course (subject to availability on the agreed match day).Alternatively, if neither course complies with the Winter Rules on the first agreed match date either an alternative date should be found to play at the home club, or the home club may elect to play on a neutral course but if so they will be responsible for any green fees.
g. Arranging a match: ** In order to provide the best opportunity of finding a mutually acceptable date please adhere to the following criteria: 1. The Home team must contact the away team within the specified contact date for each round offering a minimum of 4 dates including weekdays and weekends. (or forfeits the home advantage.) Please use common sense when arranging dates and we would suggest 2 dates for weekends & 2 dates for weekdays should be offered. 2. The Away team must respond within 72 hours with their acceptance of the preferred match date. (or forfeit the tie.) 3. If no agreement can be reached or a match is not played by the date specified for the round then the Tournament Director will decide, on the basis of availability which team will go through to the next round.
h. Caddies: Caddies, as defined in the Rules of Golf, are permitted.
i. GPS: During matches players may use devices that gauge or measure distance only. Smart phones may be used even if they are fitted with nonconforming features provided the player doesn't access these applications. Penalty: first offence - loss of hole / subsequent offence –disqualification. . If you suspect an opponent is in breach of R&A Rule14-3 you must make a valid claim at the time of the match as no subsequent claims will be considered.
j. Motorised Buggies: Players and supporters must walk the courses at all times during a competitive round of golf at the Finals. Only players in the match with authorisation from the Tournament Referee due to medical conditions are allowed the use of golf buggies during a competitive round, however in such cases the Organisers have no jurisdiction whatsoever over individual golf clubs when it comes to the use of buggies on their course.
k. Speed of Play: Players must at all times play without undue delay. All matches should be played to a result as count back may have to be used in the Grand Finals. See 6.3. Notifying Results It will be the responsibility of the winning team in each match to notify the result to the Tournament Office. This must be done either online at www.matchplaygolf.co.uk/enter-result or by first class post to the address on the website. As there are seven / eight qualifying rounds to organise depending on whether you are in the Men's / Ladies competition it is vital that results are notified as soon as possible. For matches played over the last weekend the captain (or in his or her absence a designated team member) should enter the result online at www.matchplaygolf.co.uk/enter-result or email it to email@example.com as soon as the match is finished. Where possible the result of all rounds will be published through Social Media and on the tournament website.
3. Courtesy of the Course
There is no further fees or green fees after the £60 entry fee has been paid. Home clubs must extend courtesy of the course to visiting teams for competitive rounds. If that is not possible,home players must be responsible for paying the agreed fees of visiting players. It is also hoped that home clubs will endeavour to make a practice round possible for visiting clubs at Members Guest rates. As this is a matchplay competition a practise round can be played on the day of play or beforehand. Green fees at the Grand Finals will be paid by Matchplay Golf.
4. Area Playoff's
a. Men - There are 16 Regional Finals which will be played down to the last 4 who will qualify for the Grand Final.
b. Ladies - There are 16 Regional Finals which will be played down to the last 4 who will qualify for the Grand Final.
5. Final Stages
A villa is provided for each team that sleeps 5, however your team at the finals can be made up from any combination of players that have participated in at least one previous round. Matchplay Golf do not cover the cost of any additional players. The last four men’s and women’s team will qualify to play in the Grand Final in November. Hotel Accommodation, Half board meals (Breakfast & Evening Meal) and green fees at the Grand Final will be provided by Matchplay Golf. Flights are NOT included and the cost needs to be covered by the finalists. During the final stages all matches will be played on the same principle as the eliminating rounds except that sudden death play-offs may commence from an alternative hole determined by the Tournament Referee.
6. Tournament Suspension of Play at Grand Finals.
If at any time the Tournament Committee makes the decision to suspend play the Referee will sound a claxon, at which point all players must cease playing.The Tournament Committee will decide when play can resume, should any match not be able to be completed then the score at the time play was halted will stand. In the unlikely event that no play at all is possible the Tournament Committee will determine the winners of the clubs drawn against each other on the basis of the total margin of the club's wins in the knockout-rounds (byes and walkovers taken as 3-2 wins).
Any disputes regarding the listed Rules and Conditions can be discussed with the Tournament Referee, whose decision will be final.The Tournament Referee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.