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Tournament Bylaws

Tenneesee PGA Section

Tournament Rules & Regulations and Tournament Formats

Revised January 2021

The Tournament Committee/Director, acting on behalf of the Board of Directors, Host Professional, Rules Committee, and the Course Superintendent, shall have complete control in administering all tournaments sponsored and conducted by the Tennessee Section PGA. The Board of Directors shall have the authority to amend the Tournament Rules and Regulations.

Requirements for eligibility of Professional contestants in Tennessee Section PGA tournaments shall be strictly enforced by the Tournament Committee/Director. The Board of Directors is charged with the responsibility of determining the playing privileges and it shall publish and interpret the Guidelines the same as provided for in the Constitution. The withholding of playing privileges does not violate or deny the Constitutional rights of any member, as such privilege is not discriminatory and is in compliance with the established rules governing player participation eligibility. A player must be eligible by the tournament deadline and continue to be eligible through the completion of the event.

Only eligible Golf Professionals and eligible Amateurs designated within the following categories shall be eligible to compete in official events conducted by the Tennessee Section PGA. There will be no exceptions.

  1. All Tennessee Section PGA Class A, active members, life members and retired members in good standings, except A-3 classifications, shall be granted full playing rights and privileges in the Tennessee Section. Members of the Tennessee Section PGA who hold an A-3 status shall have no playing privileges in the Tennessee Section. Exception: A-3’s who are over the age of 50 have playing rights in the Senior State Open.
  2. Active PGA members, who are unemployed or become unemployed from a full-time Golf Professionals’ job, shall receive a grace period of 180 days to retain playing privileges in Section events. After 180 days, the professional shall lose playing privileges until becoming re-employed on a full-time basis as a Golf Professional at which time the professional shall immediately have playing privileges reinstated. The professional then must remain employed on a full-time basis as a Golf Professional for one (1) full year before receiving another 180 day grace period for playing privileges. All unemployed Class A members who transfer into the Tennessee Section shall not receive the 180-day grace period and do not have playing privileges until they become eligibly employed. Full-time employment in the Tennessee Section shall be defined as working in an eligible classification as defined by the PGA of America an average of 36 hours per week during the golf season, which is a minimum of eight (8) months in Tennessee.
  3. Associates shall be eligible to compete in all Section tournaments with the exception of the Section Championship/PNC and the Challenge Cup Matches. Associates will not be allowed to compete for the Tennessee PGA Player of the Year Award, but can compete for the Assistant Player of the Year. Associates who are eligibly employed in the golf business and have properly registered in the PGA Professional Golf Management (PGA PGM) program will have playing privileges within their chapter, and will be eligible to play in Section events or events conducted that use Section eligibility rules.
  4. Amateurs, by invitation from the Tournament Committee with approval by the Board of Directors, may compete in Tennessee PGA Section events and the Tennessee Challenge Cup Matches. Amateur golfers competing in Tennessee PGA conducted events must meet the USGA definition of an amateur golfer. The Tennessee PGA reserves the right to reject amateur entrants who are not in good standing or under suspension by other local, state, regional, or nationally recognized golf association. Non-amateurs are ineligible to compete in Tennessee PGA events except PGA Tour qualifiers.
  5. Senior Professionals must have reached the age of 50 by the first day of the event to compete in Senior Tournaments. In selected events, Senior Tees will be used. Although competing from separate tees, senior professionals will compete for the same purse. These yardages will be approximately 3-5% shorter than regular course length. Events where senior tees will be used include (but not limited to): Pro-Official, Pro-Assistant, Pro-Pro, Pro-Junior and Pro-Superintendent.


Each PGA of America Member or Associate Participant (“Participant”) in a Section golf tournament acknowledges the right and authority of the Section to (i) fine and suspend from tournament play; and/or to (ii) fine and permanently bar the Participant from Section tournaments. Any Participant in a Section event hereby releases the PGA of America Section, the PGA of America, the PGA Tournament Corporation, Inc., rules officials, each director, officer, member, employee, agent or representative of any of the foregoing jointly and severally, individually and in their official capacity, of and from any and all claims, demands, damages and causes of action whatsoever, in law or equity, arising out of or in connection with any such decision or action by the Section, PGA of America or any appellate body.

Fines are due and payable within thirty (30) days unless the Participant has made a written appeal. Should the appeal be denied, the fine will be due and payable within thirty (30) days of such denial of appeal; and the Participant will be ineligible to participate in any Section tournament and any other PGA of America tournaments and the tournaments of any other PGA Section until said fine is paid in full.

1. Advance Notification of Proposed Disciplinary Action
Except for penalties under the Rules of Golf and for “Minor Penalties” (as hereafter defined), any Participant subject to disciplinary action or penalty defined as a “Major Penalty” shall first be notified of such proposed action in writing. Such notice may be presented to the Participant by a tournament official. Within thirty (30) days from the receipt of the notice, the Participant shall submit to the Section Tournament Director or the Section Executive Director such facts or evidence of mitigating circumstances as may apply. Within thirty (30) days of receipt of such information from the Participant, the Section Tournament Director or the Section Executive Director shall notify the Participant in writing of the imposition of the proposed disciplinary action or penalty, or that the proposed action has been dismissed. After the imposition of any penalty hereunder, the Participant shall have the right to appeal to the Section Board of Inquiry as set forth in Section E herein.

2. Rules of Golf
Any Participant in a Section tournament who breaches the Rules of Golf of the United States Golf Association or Local Rules in effect for the conduct of such event shall be subject to the penalties provided in such Rules as well as any other penalties imposed by the Section consistent with this policy. The decision of the Section Rules Officials/ and/or the Section Tournament Committee with respect to such Rules breach shall be final and conclusive.

3. Conduct Unbecoming a Professional
Any Participant deemed guilty of conduct unbecoming a professional while participating in a Section tournament or in activities related thereto (e.g. practice rounds, hospitality events, etc.) shall be subject to fines, suspension and/or permanent disbarment from Section tournament play as provided in this policy. A fine of $100 shall be levied for the first offense. A fine of $150 shall be levied for the second offense, and a prohibition from participating in Section events for one year shall be levied for the third offense. Any Participant that is found guilty of more than three offenses for conduct unbecoming a professional charge may, at the sole discretion of the Section, be permanently prohibited from participating in all Section and PGA of America tournaments and also may be subject to PGA of America Code of Ethics charges. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Section reserves the right to pursue Code of Ethics charges against any PGA Member/Associate for conduct charges related to the conduct of any Participant at Section golf tournaments and related events at the sole discretion of the Section in compliance with the procedures for Code of Ethics hearings as set forth in this Article II of the Bylaws.

4. Classes of Penalties for Section Tournament Offenses

  1. Minor Penalties
    A Minor Penalty is a fine of not more than $150 and/or suspension from tournament play for two or less tournaments. A Minor Penalty may be imposed by the Section tournament officials responsible for the conduct of the tournament.
  2. Major Penalties
    Major Penalty is a fine in excess of $150, suspension from tournament play for more than three tournaments, and/or permanent disbarment from Section tournament play.
  3. Appeals
    1. 1. Minor Penalties
      Appeals from Minor Penalties shall be to the Tournament Committee Chairperson (or his/her designee). Such appeal may be in writing or oral. Such appeal shall be received by the Tournament Committee Chair no later than thirty (30) days subsequent to the infraction. The Tournament Committee Chair shall render the decision on appeal in writing within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the appeal and submit a final report to the Section Executive Director. The Section Executive Director shall submit this final report to the Association General Counsel. Such decision shall be final. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that the Section determines that it would prefer that a Minor Penalty shall be submitted to the Board of Control for a hearing in lieu of action by the Section, then the Section Board of Inquiry will follow the same procedures set forth herein for all matters submitted to the Board of Control for Code of Ethics procedures.
    2. 2. Major Penalties
      Within thirty days from the date of notification of a Major Penalty, the Participant may submit a written appeal to the Section Board of Inquiry. Failure to file such an appeal shall be deemed conclusively to be an admission of the charges specified in the notification.
      Thereafter, the Section Board of Inquiry will prepare a report of the matter to the Board of Control and the matter will be set for a hearing before the Board of Control in accordance with all applicable procedures set forth herein for ethics appeals heard by the Board of Control. The Board of Control shall hear the appeal either at the next regularly scheduled Board of Control hearing or at an expedited meeting that may be held in person or via conference call at the discretion of the Chair of the Board of Control. The decision of the Board of Control shall be final. An appeal shall operate to stay the effective date of any penalty, except suspension from a Section tournament then in progress or scheduled for the calendar week in which the alleged violation occurred, until after a final decision on the appeal.
      All fines must be paid within thirty (30) days from the imposition of the fine, or in the event of an appeal, within (30) days from the decision rendered by the Board of Control in the event the Board of Control upholds the findings of the Tournament Committee Chair.

In Tennessee Section events and Chapter Championships/Pro-Ams, Tennessee PGA Professionals and Associates will observe the TNPGA Dress Code. All PGA participants will be required to present a neat appearance, appropriate to a professional golf tournament in both clothing and grooming. Appropriate attire will consist of shirts with collars (including mock collars) and sleeves for Male Professionals. T-shirts and tank tops are not permitted. Male Professionals may wear slacks or shorts (Bermuda length). Blue jeans/denim and cargo shorts are not permitted. Professionals will be respectful to the Host Facilities’ Dress Code that may require Male Professionals/Associates to wear slacks. Female Professionals may wear culottes, walking shorts, or golf shorts which constitute acceptable clothing worn by women in connection with participation in professional golf tournaments. Male and Female Professionals may wear golf hoodies, as long as they are neat in appearance.

Penalty for a breach of dress code will be a $100 fine for the first offense, $150 fine for the second offense and suspension from participating in Section events for one year shall be levied for the third offense. Punishment for any future offenses will be determined by a majority vote of the Tournament Committee. During any Section/Chapter event, if a PGA Professional is in violation of the dress code during play, upon notification, the Professional will not be allowed to continue play until he/she is wearing proper attire. Any applicable penalties as stipulated by the USGA Rules of Golf (i.e. undue delay) will be enforced.


The official Tournament Schedule shall be the responsibility of the Tournament Director. The schedule for the coming season shall be released in a tentative form by February 1 and shall be printed with the final dates, tournaments, and sites by March 1st. Regardless of the Tournament Format, before any Tournament is announced or scheduled, the Host Professional MUST clear the tournament date with the Tournament Director.


The following Rules, Policies and Procedures of the Tennessee Section PGA shall be carried out in all Section tournaments:

1. Rules of Play
All Tournaments conducted by the Tennessee Section PGA shall be played under USGA Rules of Golf and the Tennessee PGA Rules of Play Card. All local rules or supplements to the USGA Rules shall be approved by the Tournament Committee/Director. Such local rules and or modifications shall be posted in a conspicuous location at the Tournament Site. In addition, it shall be mandatory that a Rules Sheet be printed for each contestant in the Tournament and provided to each contestant prior to the start of play. Women shall play from tees as determined by National PGA policy.

2. Withdrawing from Event/Refunds
A player who has paid for a tournament and withdraws after the entry deadline will receive no refund unless contacting the Tournament Director with a medical condition which must be verified in writing or a death in the family. A $15 administration fee will be deducted from all refunds. A player who does not show up for a tournament without notifying the Tournament Director will lose the entry fee and be fined $50. A player who withdraws after the competition starts and does not notify the official scorer, Tournament Director, or PGA official will be fined $50. The Tournament Director reserves the right to withhold any monies which have been guaranteed to the host facility.

3. Playoffs
Unless otherwise stated, in all Section tournaments a tie for first place in the Professional Division shall be resolved by a sudden death playoff at the hole designated on the local rules sheet or otherwise determined by the Official in Charge. All other ties will be grouped and prizes equally divided.

4. Carts
Carts may be used in tournament competition unless otherwise prohibited. Spectator Carts will not be permitted in any TPGA Section Event, unless authorized by the TPGA Tournament Committee/Director prior to the event. For all other events, Spectator cart policies will be determined in conjunction with the Host Club/Course’s policies.

5. Returned Checks
Any player issuing a check that is returned (i.e., insufficient funds, closed account) will be ineligible to participate in subsequent events until such time as the check is made good. A penalty equal to the bank charge will be made on all returned checks.

6. Rain Policy
The Tennessee PGA representative in charge has the authority to order discontinuance of play due to weather conditions. The decision to resume play, postpone any part of it or cancel play entirely rests with the Official in Charge.

7. Slow Play
Slow play will be monitored by the Tournament Committee/Director. The Tennessee PGA Rules of Play Card/Pace of Play Memorandum will govern policy and penalties.

8. Liability
By virtue of paid entry, the entrant hereby agrees to abide by the decisions of the Tournament Committee/Director as being final with no liability to the Tennessee PGA, Host Club or Tournament Committee/Director at its discretion. By his/her application, an entrant will agree not to protest the rejection of their entry. It shall be the entrant’s responsibility to learn all events’ rules prior to entering.

9. Falsification of Pro-Am Amateur Handicaps
The Tennessee PGA professional shall be responsible for the accuracy of handicaps of their amateur team members. The Tennessee PGA recommends the amateurs to have a valid USGA handicap as proof in the event of dispute. In the absence of a valid USGA handicap, the professional shall be responsible for determining the appropriate handicap index. In the event that falsification of a handicap occurs in a chapter or Section pro-am, the professional will be subject to a major or minor penalty. In addition, the professional shall forfeit winnings and shall be responsible for returning (or paying for) amateur gift certificates that have been distributed or cashed in. This rule may also apply to pro-ams out of our Section if a tournament requests handicap verification.

10. “B” Division
“B” division may be established in selected two-day team events. In case of a rainout of either day the “B” division will be eliminated unless the entire division has completed play prior to rainout. Normally the B division will constitute the bottom 25% of the field.

11. Groupings & Starting Times
The Tournament Committee/Director is responsible for groupings and starting times. Groupings and starting time policy will be consistent with established golf pairings procedures.

12. Korn Ferry Tour
Rules and regulations, eligibility and exemption policies for Korn Ferry Tour events and qualifiers shall be determined annually by the PGA Tour and/or the Tennessee PGA Board of Directors. PGA Tour members (A-3) shall not be eligible for Tennessee Section member qualifying events.

13. Amateur Payoffs
As per the USGA Rules of Golf regarding Amateur Status, an amateur may receive gift certificates totaling not more than $750 in each Tennessee PGA event.

14. Finance
The overall tournament program shall not budget to lose money in any fiscal year.

15. Alcohol
The consumption of alcohol during the stipulated round of TPGA point events is not permitted.

1st Offense – Warning
2nd Offense – Written documentation from the Tournament Committee to individual
3rd Offense – Fine levied by the Tournament Committee

16. Cell Phone
In all TPGA Tournaments, players are requested to refrain from the use of cell phones during all tournament rounds, practice rounds, and while utilizing practice areas. Players are asked to use common sense regarding cell phones and be courteous regarding their use.

17. Gender Policy

Application Process
For entry into any TPGA tournament in which it is required that a golfer is a specific gender (male or female), each golfer must identify himself or herself during the entry application process as a person of that particular gender. In the event that a golfer has had gender reassignment surgery at any point after puberty, that golfer must provide certain documentation to the TPGA in accordance with the procedures set forth below. Gender reassignment prior to puberty is not subject to these requirements. Failure to provide proof of gender when gender has been reassigned, and to comply with the process and procedures set forth in this policy, may result in disqualification from the applicable tournament.

Eligibility to play in a TPGA tournament will only be evaluated in connection with a golfer who has submitted an entry application to play in a specific TPGA tournament. The specific TPGA tournament must be identified in writing with the accompanying documentation specified below.

Applicant Eligibility Requirements
Pre pubescent – For purposes of this policy, individuals who have undergone sex reassignment from male to female before puberty are regarded as girls and women (female). This applies as well for female to male reassignment, who should be regarded as boys and men (male).
Post pubescent – Individuals who have undergone sexual reassignment from male to female or from female to male after puberty are eligible for participation in TPGA tournaments if they have:
1. Undergone surgical anatomical changes, including external genitalia changes and reassignment changes completed during a gonadectomy (or other equivalent surgical procedure) no less than two (2) years prior to the entry deadline for the applicable TPGA tournament;
2. Undergone hormonal therapy appropriate for the assigned sex, administered in a verifiable manner, for a sufficient length of time, but no less than one (1) year, to minimize or negate gender related advantages in sport competitions (i.e. substantial reduction in testosterone); and
3. Presented verifiable legal documentation recognizing the golfer’s assigned gender (or transitioned gender status) conferred by the appropriate official authorities.

Eligibility Verification Requirements
Gender reassignment documentation must be submitted in triplicate via overnight or first class mail in an envelope marked “Confidential” and addressed to the TPGA Executive Director. All such documentation must be received at the TPGA office no later than the close of entries for the specific TPGA tournament. The documentation, which will be reviewed by the TPGA’s Executive Director, or if the Executive Director deems it necessary, the TPGA medical panel comprised of specialists reasonably and impartially selected by the TPGA in its sole discretion and one (1) similarly credentialed specialist chosen by the applicant, must include the following:
1. Hospital records confirming completed surgical gonadectomy; and
2. All office records documenting related follow up treatment.
In the event that hospital records have been purged or lost, or are otherwise unobtainable, a current physical examination performed by a physician experienced in this type of surgery, a report from that physician, and the documentation referenced in (1) and (2) above, will be considered and reviewed. All reasonable transitioned status verification processes will be at the expense of the applicant. The suitability and acceptance of each of the above conditions, and any documentation presented to evidence any of the aforementioned requirements, is subject to the TPGA’s sole discretion.

Procedure for Applicants who have been Previously Approved Under this Policy
If eligibility for entry in a TPGA tournament has been previously approved under this policy, subsequent TPGA tournament entry applications, whether in the initial or subsequent years, will be accepted without resubmission of the documentation required in this policy

The TPGA will maintain such information and documentation in confidence, with only the TPGA Executive Director, the TPGA medical panel and limited TPGA staff members and legal counsel having access to such information and documentation. The results of any transitioned status verification conducted by the TPGA shall be strictly confidential and shall not be made public, but will be reported to the TPGA legal counsel who shall advise the Executive Director on all matters related to the applicant’s transitioned status verification. The TPGA expressly disclaims any ability to limit or prevent third party inquiries made directly to the applicant or to others. In the event that a third party, including media representatives, makes an inquiry with respect to a particular golfer’s eligibility to play in a particular tournament, the TPGA will respond simply that the golfer was deemed eligible to compete in the tournament. Questions regarding the process and procedures can be addressed to the TPGA’s legal counsel.

19. Chapter Championship Eligibility
A TPGA professional or associate in good standing must work within the chapter’s borders to be eligible for their Chapter Championship at the time of the first round. Life Members who have playing privileges are required to have permanent residence within the chapter boarders to be eligible for their Chapter Championship. If a professional or associate plays in their respective Chapter Championship and then moves to another chapter, and still fulfills the above requirements, they are eligible to compete in their new chapter’s championship. Tennessee PGA Player of the Year Points will only be awarded to the first Chapter Championship in which an individual participates in for the given POY cycle.

Non-competing host Professional, Tournament Director, designated staff members, and other assigned members.

The Tennessee PGA Professional Championship will be held annually at a time established by the Tournament Committee in accordance with National eligibility rules and regulations.

The Tennessee PGA Professional Championship site will be set by approval of the Tournament Committee.

The Tennessee PGA Professional Championship will be a 54-hole Stroke Play event. The Rules Committee has the authority to reduce the tournament to a 45-hole Stoke Play event or a 36-hole Stroke Play event in the event of inclement weather or a natural disaster.

Section 1. Tennessee Section PGA Professional Championship Qualifying
Qualifying rounds for the Tennessee PGA Professional Championship will be held at a time established by the Tournament Committee in accordance with National eligibility rules and regulations.

Section 2. Tennessee Section Senior PGA Professional Championship Qualifying
Qualifying rounds for the Tennessee  Senior PGA Professional Championship shall be set by the Tournament Committee in accordance with National eligibility rules and regulations.

Section 3. Tennessee Section Assistant PGA Professional Championship Qualifying
Qualifying rounds for the Tennessee Assistant PGA Professional Championship shall be set by the Tournament Committee in accordance with National eligibility rules and regulations.


a. Professional
Must be an active member, retired member or life member of the Tennessee Section PGA. The team shall consist of 16 PGA Members: Top 10 regular players from the Regular Player of the Year standings and top 6 senior players from the Senior Player of the Year standings. A playing or honorary non-playing captain shall be appointed by the President.

Regular Division – If a player in the top 10 cannot play the spot will be filled by players 11 through 15. If the spot is still not filled the spot will be chosen by the Cup Match Captain.

Senior Division – If a player in the top 6 cannot play the spot will be filled by players 7 through 9. If the spot is still not filled the spot will be chosen by the Cup Match Captain.

b. Amateurs
Selected by the Tennessee Golf Association from their Designated Event Point List, subject to TGA modification.

c. A-3’s
A-3 members may from time to time be invited to participate in the Cup Matches. An A-3 can only be added to the field and cannot take away a spot from any qualified professional or senior professional or alternate. The amateur team must agree to the addition and be allowed to add a player of their choice as long as the player is an amateur and a resident of the state of Tennessee.

Section 2. FORMAT
Play shall be Ryder Cup Format: Singles Matches; Four-Ball Matches; Foursome Matches. One point will be awarded for each win in singles, Four-Ball and Foursome matches. Ties will be awarded 1/2 point to each side.

Must be an active member (A-8) or Associate(B) of the Tennessee Section PGA. The team shall consist of 12 PGA Assistants or Associates. The top ten 10 assistant players from the Assistant Player of the Year standings plus two 2 captain’s picks. If a player is deemed ineligible at the time of the matches or cannot attend, the next player(s) in successive order on the APOY point standings will be invited to participate.

The Tennessee Section PGA Professional Player of the Year award will be presented to the active Tennessee Section member or Life Member who has not entered in more than 12 PGA Tour events, not including the National PGA Championship. The award will be based on points earned in designated events. If a point event is cancelled no points will be awarded for that event. PGA members who are employed by a Club and also join the PGA Tour but play in less than 12 PGA Tour events and are not classified A-3, are eligible for Player of the Year. The award will be based on points earned in designated events.

Section 1. Regular Player of the Year
Class A Members in good standing.

Section 2. Senior Player of the Year
Members and Associates who are 50 and older

Section 3. Assistant Player of the Year
Assistants Professionals (A-8) and Associates (B). A player is still eligible for the Assistant Player of the Year Award if he/her is suspended or has changed to an ineligible classification or status. Once points are earned they remain valid until the conclusion of the tournament season.

Points for Player of the Year, Senior Player of the Year and Assistant Player of the Year will be compiled starting January 1 of the current year and end December 31 of the current year. Please note Chapter Championships will not count for the current year and will be added to the following year’s point totals.

The Tennessee Section PGA Tournament Committee will annually designate a certain number of tournaments that will preferably not exceed 36 or 54 holes and will be spaced out in time and location throughout the state to broaden the base of the Player of the Year award. These events carry a minimum purse to be established by the Tournament Committee, and will be publicized at the beginning of the season. Designated events must pay applicable administration fees established by the Tournament Committee. Entry fees will be set by the host facility, but must be approved by the Tournament Committee/Director.

The Tournament Director shall use sample payoff guidelines when possible, but under no circumstances will more than 50% of the field be paid, not including charity events. The Tournament Director has final authority to make payoffs at his/her discretion.