skip navigation

Format & Rules

The Basics


At its core, PGA Jr. League is a group of local golf teams who play a series of games against each other, utilizing a nurturing and social scramble format. The program is available to boys and girls of all skill levels. PGA and LPGA Professionals exclusively serve as Captains and are responsible for creating a welcoming environment for all that encourages skill and character development.

While the format and key pillars of PGA Jr. League  apply to all teams and leagues across the country, the program is organized at the local level by individual PGA and LPGA Professionals in your community. As such, the way in which each league or team operates - whether it be the number of teams in a league, the scheduling of games or the number of practices - may vary slightly from team to team.

Schedule

Registration for your local team or league typically takes place between January through April. The regular season of PGA Jr. League occurs between March 1 and July 31. For those players that advance to the PGA Jr. League Postseason presented by National Car Rental, those events begin in August.

Depending on the number of teams in your local league, your regular season games can take place at any point between March and July. For information specific to your regular season schedule, please consult with your Captain.

League

A league is made up of local teams within your geographic area, minimizing the distance and amount of time spent commuting between games.

A league will typically have between four to seven teams and may consist of teams from just one facility or teams from a collection of facilities.

During the course of the regular season, your team will play a game against each team in your league.

Game

A game is played between two teams. Depending on who the home team is, in addition to course scheduling and availability, will determine where the game is played.

During the course of a game, four matches are played by at least two players from each team against each other.

The winner of the game is determined by the total number of points won within all matches.

Friends, family and spectators are encouraged to attend and watch - but not participate or aide - each game!

A PGA Jr. League player hits a bunker shot during a game

A PGA Jr. League player hits a bunker shot during a game

Scramble

A scramble is a popular format that encourages teamwork and problem solving. Its nurturing nature creates a fun environment where the negative effect of performance errors is minimized.

Each player will tee off at the beginning of each hole. The team then selects their best shot of the two and then each player plays again from the spot of the selected shot. Repeat this process until the ball is in the hole.

The team with the lowest score wins the hole.

The scramble format allows players to lean on their teammates and make decisions together

The scramble format allows players to lean on their teammates and make decisions together

Flags

Flags are 3-hole segments of each match. Since each match is played over the course of 9 holes, there are three flags per match.

Whichever team wins the most holes within each flag (i.e. 3 holes-to-0 or 2 holes-to-1 hole), wins the corresponding flag.

Points

Each flag won by the team is worth one point. Each tied flag won by the team is worth a half point. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Since there are four matches in each game, and each match is played for a maximum of three points, there are a maximum of 12 points total in each game.

Captains

Each PGA Jr. League team or league is Captained by a PGA or LPGA Professional!

These golf professionals are uniquely positioned to create an inviting and welcoming environment for all to enjoy the game of golf. They also provide critical instruction to help young participants advance both their golf skill and character development - on and off course.

A PGA Professional Captain speaks with his players

A PGA Professional Captain speaks with his players

Team

A team is a collection of eight to twelve players, boys and girls of any ability, who work together during the course of a game against another team.

Each team is Captained and instructed by a PGA or LPGA Professional and may have the assistance of a parent volunteer or coach to help with the administration of team business. 

A PGA Jr. League team

A PGA Jr. League team

Match

A match consists of two teammates (or three, with a substitute) competing against a similar grouping from the opposing team in a fun, nurturing scramble format.

The match lasts for nine holes and is broken up into three 3-hole segments called "flags".

Two players from each team compete against each other in a "Match"

Two players from each team compete against each other in a "Match"

Substitutes

Due to PGA Jr. League's recreational nature, every player on the team is encouraged to participate.

While each match is only actively played by two players from each team at any given time, the team Captain may substitute a third player into the match at the start of any flag.

When the player is not one of the two active players in his or her team's match, they can still play an integral role in the success of their team by reading putts, discussing strategy, tending the flag stick and aiding pace-of-play. At no time should a substitute ever feel left out of the team's efforts!

An alternate helps her teammates celebrate a putt

An alternate, actively participating in the match, celebrates a putt with her teammates

Advanced Rules


While the information above should provide you with a basic understanding of PGA Jr. League, it's important to highlight a few of the more detailed rules that make PGA Jr. League a welcoming - but fair - competition.

Don't worry if these rules appear too complicated or challenging to understand, your team's PGA or LPGA Professional Captain will walk both players and parents through them as necessary.

Match Rules

Only players may call rules infractions. All rules infractions must be made/declared on the course and ruled upon prior to the start of the next hole.
 

  1. Shot Progression: both players on each team will tee off on every hole, with the best shot selected and played. Continue this progression until the ball is holed and the hole completed.

    1. Upon reaching the green, the ball selected for play must be marked before it is lifted. The ball should be marked immediately behind the ball. No player shall roll or putt his/her ball to the marked location.

    2. During the regular season, a player will be warned for improper movement of a ball on the green. Subsequent violations by the team in that match will result in a 1-stroke penalty.

    3. Any intentional improper movement of a ball on the green to gain advantage will result in a 1-stroke penalty.
       

  2. Preferred Lies: players shall have the right to lift, clean and place their ball before each shot. 

    1. Upon selecting the shot to be played, players shall mark the ball and then place the ball within one club-length of the mark, no closer to the hole, to play their next shots. A ball may be moved from the rough to the fairway if it is within the one-club distance. However, a ball may never be moved out of a sand bunker or onto the green.

    2. If the selected ball is in a water hazard and the player elects to play the ball as it lies, a ball must be replaced in the water hazard, within one club length of and not nearer the hole than the original ball’s position. Or, the player may take relief under Rule 26-1 incurring the penalty stroke.

    3. If the selected ball is on the putting green, a ball must be placed on the putting green, within one clubhead-length of and not nearer the hole than the original ball’s position.

    4. Out of bounds is played as a lateral hazard during PGA Jr. League regular season games.
       

  3. Stroke Maximum: The maximum score per hold is triple bogey. No hole in PGA Jr. League Golf can be won with a triple bogey. Any team failing to finish the hole after reaching 2-strokes over par should pick-up. If both teams are forced to pick-up, then the hole is halved.
     

  4. As PGA Jr. League is primarily a developmental program, some limited communication between Captains, Coaches and players during the round is understandable. In modification of the Note to Rule 8 of the Rules of Golf, at any point during a match, each team’s official Captain and registered Coach(es) may give (and players may seek) advice regarding; player safety, pace of play, rules of play and conditions of competition.

  5. Players shall walk during their matches and may either carry their bags or use pull-carts where allowed. In cases of long distances between greens and tees, it is permissible for Captains, Coaches and/or scorekeepers to shuttle players to the next tee. An alternate player's bag may be carried on the scorekeeper's cart, until that player enters the match.
     

  6. The maximum penalty for any rules infraction in PGA Jr. League is one stroke.