Hickory Golf Tournament Guidelines

Revised November 2009

The SoHG Tournament Guidelines are provided here to assist tournament directors, event organizers, golf professionals, golf clubs, their members and their committees in the planning, organizing and conducting of hickory shafted golf events.

These guidelines are organized into sections consisting of (1) Equipment, (2) Competition, (3) Course Set-up, (4) Facilities and (5) Other Items. Questions, comments and requests for assistance can be directed to: Chris Deinlein, SoHG Tournament Advisory Chairman, at 336-210-4125 or cdeinlein@triad.rr.com.



The SoHG has developed and implemented standards regarding equipment to be allowed for use in hickory events. These guidelines are available for viewing under the “Equipment Guidelines” section of this website. In order for an event to claim it follows SoHG guidelines, they are a minimum acceptable equipment requirements.

Tournament organizers/directors, at their discretion, may implement equipment rules that are more restrictive than those set out by the SoHG. These events can still claim to follow the Society’s guidelines (such as requiring a particular ball or limiting types of equipment), but such changes to the guidelines must be within the spirit of the rules currently in place by the SoHG. Questions regarding any changes can be answered by the SoHG Equipment Committee. Additional details can be found at the page below:

Hickory Golf Equipment Guidelines



The competition should be contested in a format determined by the Tournament Director or Tournament Committee. One option would be to use only authentic, antique hickory shafted clubs. A second option would be to allow all hickory clubs as defined by the SoHG.

Open Division – Usually stroke/medal play at scratch, using clubs as decided by the Tournament Director or Committee.

Net Division – Usually stroke/medal play, with a handicap adjustment, using the appropriate clubs.

Ladies Division – Usually stroke/medal play or two person better ball, using the appropriate equipment and with handicap adjustments.

Scramble Division – Select shot using clubs as decided by the Tournament Director or Committee, at scratch or with handicap adjustments.

Rules For Competition – Rules governing play should be in writing. They should be clearly announced prior to play. A good rule to follow is to make these announcements 15 minutes prior to a shotgun start. Alternatively, if tee times are used, this can be done as scorecards are distributed on the starting tee box. These rules should include the local rules in effect for the competition and the method for breaking ties. Also, it is advisable to communicate plans for weather-shortened tournaments prior to the start of play.

Determining a Winner – In the event of a tie, the Open Division winner should be determined by a playoff. In the event of ties in all other divisions, a scorecard playoff is recommended to determine winners. There are several methods for conducting a scorecard playoff. Regardless of the method chosen, the process should be communicated prior to the start of play.

Entry Form – A generic sample entry form will be provided by the SoHG upon request.

Handicaps – Should be determined by the score posting process provided on the SoHG web site. It is recommended that, absent an SoHG handicap, the participant’s regular (steel) handicap be used without adjustment. Alternative handicap formulas have historically achieved limited success.

SoHG Liasons – can be appointed for each tournament to assist with the tournament set up and to provide assistance with the website handicaps. Please contact Hamp Munsey at 336-288-3987 or hampm@atlanticpkg.com for additional information.



Length – Golf courses will often dictate the length most appropriate for your competition, as 6,000 yards at sea level is very different than 6,000 yards in altitude. Likewise, 6,000 yards in Scotland is not the same as 6,000 in Vermont. If the course plays soft or hard and fast, this can have a huge impact, as does the amount of rough. Course set-up is always very important and should be looked at very closely by the tournament director and or committee. Here are some general guidelines regarding length.

  • Open & Net Division ~ 5,800 – 6,500 yards
  • Senior Division ~ 5,400 – 6,000 yards
  • Ladies Division ~ 5,000 – 5,500 yards
  • Scramble Division ~ 5,000 – 6,000 yards

Pin Placements should be reasonable. They do not have to be “Sunday at the U.S. Open tough.” Overly difficult pin placements, much like extremely long golf courses, are often met with resentment. Research has shown the difficulty of this year’s pin placements are directly related to your field-size next year.

Ability to Walk – There should be clear communication whether or not walking will be permitted at your event. This should be provided in the entry packet. Conversely, if a tournament site has a walking only policy, it would be prudent to communicate this as well. The SoHG encourages walking and prefers for this to be at least an option at all events.


Practice Facilities – If the tournament site has a practice facility, it should be made available for all competitors with balls included in fee if possible.

On-Course Refreshments can be included in the entry fee or for cash purchase, but need to be available.

Restricted Areas of the grounds/club house that are off limits to players and visitors need to be clearly identified and communicated.

Before-Golf Refreshments such as coffee, water, and soft drinks, and whether they are included in the entry fee or extra, should be communicated and should be available to all participants as they arrive at the tournament site.

After-Golf Refreshments such as beer, wine, and soft drinks, whether included in the entry or not, need to be available upon completion of play.

Breakfast/Lunch – Whether this is included or not should be clearly stated prior to the tournament, especially in the case of an early start.

Dinner or Cocktail Party as part of the festivities should be included in the tournament entry fee. Please announce the location and time of event and allow time for players’ change of attire.

Awards Ceremony – This is a nice way to get everyone together immediately following play to distribute prizes and give thanks to organizers, volunteers, sponsors and the hosting golf facility. It is also a good time to announce dates for your event the following year. Be sure to get your event on the SoHG Fixtures Calendar to encourage exposure to your event and help players and organizers plan the future schedules.



Pace of Play – We all love this great game and yet slow pace of play threatens to ruin it for us all. We ask that you remember and implement these simple rules in an effort to preserve our great game:

  • Keep up with the group in front of you.
  • If you have an open hole between you and the group in front, switch to “ready golf” until you catch up.
  • Be ready to play your shot when it is your turn.
  • Leave the green promptly. Mark your scores when you get to the next tee box.
  • The low handicap player in each foursome will act as group captain and make any decision on “ready golf.”
  • Remember that we are guests at the courses we play and that maintaining good pace of play also maintains good relations.

Our love of the hickory game is rooted in our respect for how the game was originally played in Scotland. Let’s maintain that respect and play our rounds of golf in fewer that four hours. Anything more and, in Scotland, the starter would escort us off the course.

Local Dining – It is helpful to provide a list of local dining establishments – ideally including breakfast, lunch and dinner places – with price levels. Three or four of each kind will be appreciated.

Accomodations – It is useful to provide a list of local hotels/motels, including addresses, phone numbers, websites, and prices when appropriate.

Map/Directions – Provide a detailed map and/or directions to and from the town, airport, and golf course as part of the entry packet. Consider providing a map or directions for local accommodations.

Transportation – Provide a list of airlines servicing local airports and a list of shuttles and rental cars to and from the hotels.

Non-Golf Activities – If there are items of interest in your area, providing a list of these opportunities can help increase participation in your event. This is especially appreciated by non-playing spouses. The local chamber of commerce or convention and visitors bureau is a good way to obtain travel information and is often without charge.

Media Coverage and Pre-event Communication – Consideration should be given as to whether media coverage of the event is desired and how to encourage local news or newspaper coverage, etc. Other things to consider include how to get the event announced and how to invite club members to join in the activities associated with your event.

Dress Code – Consideration should be given to the dress code for your event. Period-appropriate attire is common and suggested, but something more casual may work better for your event.

Awards – Please see the page below for details regarding the standards associated with providing awards at SoHG tournaments and events:

Guidelines for SoHG Tournament Medals