NIMAGA - Northern Illinois Men's Amateur Golf Association

NIMAGA Notes - March, 2009


Season Kick off Tournament:

Spring has arrived? Or has it? Well officially, spring starts March 20th but as anyone who has lived in the Chicago area knows, the winds still blows, frost is still common and the temperature can still be more wintery and spring like even into April and May. Good weather or bad, March does signal the start of this areas golf season.

NIMAGA’s opening tournament (officially dubbed “Spring Thaw”) is scheduled for Saturday April 4, just a few weeks away. Many of you who’ve been around a while will note that we have moved the date around in early April to avoid to possibility of bad weather. Everyone should know that we’ve taken precautions to avoid playing in the snow or well below freezing temperatures by scheduling a fall back date for the following weekend Sat. April 11th just in case (same course and time). Assuming the weather will be warm and sunny, everyone looks forward to this kickoff date and getting your game in shape for the opening day. Make sure to get your application in by the Sat. March 21st deadline. If your reading this late, call or email John Johnston to see if there is still an opening.

New Members Needed:

No need to explain what’s happening to the economy as pretty much everyone has had some experience with this downturn or knows someone that has had a bit of a hard time financially. Although somewhat expected, NIMAGA’s membership numbers are down this year. Having stabilized for the past 3 to 5 years, we have seen a significant drop in new members and renewal members for 2009. As many of you know, we have been advertising our organization and taking multiple steps to keep our membership stable. More than ever, we need each member to help by asking friends and associate golfers about joining. Every year, we pass out the small schedule cards to all members which you can place in your golf bag. Pass off the extra ones to people you play with during the year. New members can join at any time, and we’ll get you a $10 credit for each new member you get to join (they get $10 off as well). The good news is that even with lower membership numbers, the number of golfers playing in any event has been fairly consistent. Essentially what this means is the membership is playing more rather than less events. Still, anything each of you can do to help get us a new member or two would be very helpful. PROMOTE NIMAGA FOR OUR 50TH ANNIVERSARY!

New Members:

Welcome to NIMAGA. If you don’t have someone you know to help you understand what to expect or a few of the minor ropes, hopefully this will help. As a new member you were required to supply 10 old golf scores. This is required so we have some basis on which to determine your handicap. That said, as a new member, you are not eligible for the first tournament (minimum prize of $15). To be fully eligible after the first tournament, you need to have turned in 5 new (this year) golf rounds to our handicap service. New Members - A new member is not eligible to win more than a $15 prize in any NIMAGA event until his handicap being used for the event reflects a least five scores made as a member during the current year and has submitted a score from one NIMAGA tournament for his NIMAGA handicap.” As well, as we go through the year each tournament has a required number of scores that must be turned in to be qualified. You can check out these rules at our web site and we highly suggest you do. However, once you meet the above number of scores you will be qualified like any other NIMAGA member to win prizes. It’s not all that complicated and you should know these rules have not changed in many years and are there to protect the field from improper handicaps.

You can check our web site for tee times for each event approx 1 week prior to the event. It will tell you what 4 some your playing with and at what time. You should plan to arrive at least a half hour ahead of your scheduled time. Check in with the golf course (your already paid) if carts are not included, you may choose to ride in a cart in any NIMAGA event and should pay your half/cart price while in the golf proshop. If carts are not included you are free to walk or ride. You should then seek out the tournament director who can usually be found close to the practice green. The tournament director will be the first person shown on the tee sheet in the first group. We have an informal skins game which anyone (no restrictions on new members) can get into (most do this) for a few dollars ask anyone where you can get into the skins game. Skins are paid in cash at the end of the event to those who birdie, eagle (in some cases par) or have the lowest score on any hole. Someone who matches the lowest score on each hole knocks out that hole. Your group will likely be made up of experienced NIMAGA members. Please feel free to ask them any questions about procedures or rules if you are unsure. Please make sure to introduce yourself to the tournament director who can also answer your questions. Thanks for joining NIMAGA and please ask any Board member or current NIMAGA member any questions you may have. We hope you enjoy the club. Just a couple of more tips…

Each 4 some is expected to keep pace with the group in front of them, so be cognizant of how quickly you can play during you turn. Groups may be penalized for slow play as follows: If a group finishes 14-18 minutes behind the group in front of them, and 26 minutes or more behind two groups in front of them 1 Stroke Penalty 19 minutes or more behind the group in front of them, AND 26 minutes or more behind two groups in front of them 2 Stoke Penalty.  Groups finishing beyond the above time lines will be brought to the attention of NIMAGA's Board for what ever action the Boards chooses. Please note this rule includes leniency and thus any group which does not finish within these time allowances will be assessed the penalty.

At the end of your round please report to the scoring table (inside club restaurant/bar) immediately. You will have time to go put your clubs away after you check in. You will be asked to fill out a “white” card with your score and then attest/score your other players in the group. Once all white cards are completely filled out one of you should present the cards to the tournament official at the scoring table. If you’re in the skins game be sure to circle your birdies and eagles on the card.

Finally, it is very common for a new member playing in their first tournament to shoot either a very good score or a very high score for their first round. Please don’t be upset if you didn’t shoot what you normally do, this is not unusual. Unless instructed otherwise, play the ball down and putt everything into the hole (we don’t have gim-me’s). Most of all have fun and enjoy the competition!

Thank you to our Advertising friends:

Chicago Bills, Bartlett Hills G.C., White Pines Dome, Addison Links and Tees, Fit4Golf, Ultimate Golf, GolfTec, Flagg Creek G.C., Cog Hill and many more.

Calendar and Tournament Entry Reminder
Please note the website has a new feature. A calendar has been highlighted with all events in GREEN. Entry deadlines in RED. Entry must be received by date on entry slip, not sent by this date. Please get comfortable using this as it has all info about event including players entered. Also take note on website of all events that have cart included in fee.

Rules Corner – Recent USGA Rule Changes:

Far Hills, N.J. - Beginning in 2008, a golfer will be allowed to lift a ball for identification in a bunker or water hazard. However, there now will be a two-stroke penalty for playing a wrong ball from a hazard. In match play, the penalty will be loss of hole.

Another notable change is the reduction in penalty in Rule 4-1 for carrying, but not using, a non-conforming club from disqualification to, in stroke play, a penalty of two strokes per hole, with a maximum penalty of four strokes for the round.

USGA and NIMAGA allow distance measuring devises. Devises that measure other items such as wind, temperature or other variables not allowed.


Advice -- Amended to allow the exchange of information on distance, as it is not considered to be "advice."

Lost Ball -- Amended to clarify substituted ball issues and to include the concept of "stroke-and-distance" (see corresponding changes to Rules 18-1, 24-3, 25-1c, 26 and 27-1).

Matches -- Definition withdrawn and replaced by two new Definitions, "Forms of Match Play" and "Forms of Stroke Play."


Rule 1-2. Exerting Influence on Ball -- Note added to clarify what constitutes a serious breach of Rule 1-2.

Rule 4-1. Form and Make of Clubs -- Amended to reduce the penalty for carrying, but not using, a non-conforming club or a club in breach of Rule 4-2, from disqualification to the same as carrying more than 14 clubs.

Rule 12-1. Searching for Ball; Seeing Ball -- Amended to include searching for a ball in an obstruction.

Rule 12-2. Identifying Ball -- Amended to allow a player to lift his ball for identification in a hazard (see corresponding change to Rule 15-3, removing the exemption from penalty for playing a wrong ball in a hazard).

Rule 13-4. Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions -- Exception 1 amended for clarification; Exception 2 amended to refer to Rule 13-2; Exception 3 added to exempt a player from penalty under Rule 13-4a (testing the condition of the hazard) in certain circumstances.

Rule 14-3. Artificial Devices, Unusual Equipment and Unusual Use of Equipment -- Amended to refer to the unusual use of equipment (see also new Exception on use of equipment in a traditionally accepted manner) and new Exception added for players with a legitimate medical reason to use an artificial device or unusual equipment.

Note added to clarify that a Local Rule may be introduced allowing the use of distance-measuring devices; previously authorized by Decision only.

Rule 15-2. Substituted Ball -- Exception added to avoid a "double penalty" when the player incorrectly substitutes a ball and plays from a wrong place (see corresponding change to Rule 20-7c).

Rule 15-3. Wrong Ball -- Amended to remove the exemption from penalty for playing a wrong ball in a hazard (see corresponding change to Rule 12-2, allowing the player to lift a ball for identification in a hazard).

Rule 16-1e. Standing Astride or on Line of Putt -- Exception added to apply no penalty if the act was inadvertent or to avoid standing on another player's line of putt; previously authorized by Decision only.

Rule 18. Ball at Rest Moved -- Penalty statement amended to avoid a "double penalty" when the player lifts a ball without authority and incorrectly substitutes a ball (see related changes to Rules 15-2 and 20-7c).

Rule 18-1. Ball at Rest Moved; By Outside Agency -- Note added to clarify the procedure when a ball might have been moved by an outside agency.

Rule 19-2. Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped By Player, Partner, Caddie or Equipment -- Amended to reduce the penalty in both match play and stroke play to one stroke.

Rule 20-3a. Placing and Replacing; By Whom and Where -- Amended to reduce the penalty for having the wrong person place or replace a ball to one stroke.

Rule 20-7c. Playing from Wrong Place; Stroke Play -- Note added to avoid a "double penalty" when the player plays from a wrong place and incorrectly substitutes a ball (see corresponding change to Rule 15-2).

Rule 24-1. Movable Obstruction -- Amended to allow a flagstick, whether attended, removed or held up, to be moved when a ball is in motion.

Rule 24-3. Ball in Obstruction Not Found;

Rule 25-1c. Ball in Abnormal Ground Condition Not Found;

Rule 26-1. Water Hazards (Including Lateral Water Hazards);

Rule 27-1. Stroke and Distance; Ball Out of Bounds; Ball Not Found Within Five Minutes

In the above four Rules, the term "reasonable evidence" has been replaced by "known or virtually certain" when determining whether a ball that has not been found may be treated as lost in an obstruction (Rule 24-3), an abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1) or a water hazard (Rule 26-1). See corresponding change to Definition of "Lost Ball" and Rule 18-1.

Rules of Amateur Status:

Rule 3-2a -- Exception amended to clarify a cash prize for a hole-in-one made while playing golf is permissible.

Rule 4-2b -- Note added regarding the rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Rule 4-2c -- Note added regarding the rules of the NCAA.

Rule 6-2 -- Exception added for a player promoting (a) his national, state or county union or association, (b) certain types of golf competitions or events or (c) a recognized charity.