As you know the implementation of the new Rules of Golf is now in effect as of January 1, 2019. These changes can possibly affect your Course Ratings so we need to gather information about your facility to determine the potential impact. We have broken the survey into two parts, front 9 and back 9. If you are a 9-hole facility you are not required to fill out the back 9 questions.

Please review the information below before completing the survey at the bottom of the page.


The term “water hazard” is now being replaced with the expanded concept of “penalty areas.” This can be found under Rule 17 in golf’s new rules.

Water Hazard
(Old definition) – A “water hazard” is any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open water course (whether or not containing water) and anything of a similar nature on the course. All ground and water within the margin of a water hazard are part of the water hazard.

Penalty Areas (New 2019) Any body of water on the course (whether or not marked by the Committee), including a sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open watercourse (even if not containing water), and any other part of the course the Committee defines as a penalty area. (Generally areas where a ball is likely to be lost or unable to be played).

Holes that have extreme rough, tall fescue, valleys, forests or other areas where a ball is likely to be lost or unable to be played should be considered under the new definition of penalty areas.

An example of this would be an area adjacent to a hole that was densely wooded and bordered by waist high grass. In the past, a ball lost in this type of obstacle required a player to return to where the shot was previously played under penalty of “stroke and distance”. Under the new Rules of Golf, a committee can mark this obstacle a “penalty area” if desired, giving the player an opportunity to use one of the relief options available under Rule 17 (stroke-and-distance, back-on-the-line relief and lateral relief).

This change, as you would expect, could have some effect on a course rating due to the player now being able to forgo using solely “stroke-and-distance”. The question you may ask is by how much?

After months of testing the USGA found that the change in Course Rating would be minimal at most and in some cases no change at all. In fact, the adjustment is minimal enough that a rating team will not be required in most cases.

We request that you fill this survey out to help us determine if your Course Rating needs to be adjusted or not.

Upon completion of the survey you will be contacted by the IGA to discuss your options going forward. There will be no adjustment made without your consultation.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 515-207-1062 or email [email protected]

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