34% of the Donald Ross field was DQ’d in 2012. Let’s not repeat history in 2013!


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I am reposting this 2012 blog post as a reminder to all the Donald Ross Championship players out there today competing in the 2013 Championship.  This was one of the most popular posts ever on Junior Golf Parents.  Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself!

34% of  the 2012 Donald Ross Jr Championship players were disqualified during the first round.  Why?  They played from the wrong tee box.


Wow – that’s all I have to say.  I have been around competitive junior golf for over 10 years now and I have never seen this happen.  So, what happened?  Simple answer – Four groups of four played from the wrong tee box.  Bottom line – 16 players in the 12-14 age group were disqualified on the first day of the two-day tournament.

The Rule:  Player Plays From Wrong Tee Box


11-4. Playing from Outside Teeing Ground


• Stroke Play If a competitor, when starting a hole, plays a ball from outside the teeing ground, he incurs a penalty of two strokes and must then play a ball from within the teeing ground.  If the competitor makes a stroke from the next teeing ground without first correcting his mistake or, in the case of the last hole of the round, leaves the putting green without first declaring his intention to correct his mistake, he is disqualified.


Let me add some context.  During the practice round yesterday, the scorecard indicated that the players were to play from the white tees except for one par 3, where they were supposed to play from the forward tees.  So, that’s what we all did.  Today, however, the players were told to play all white tees.  And, that’s what the scorecard indicated as well.  Well, that’s not what everyone did.  Four groups (16 players) played the same distance they played during the practice round.  Problem is, those were the wrong tees today for the tournament round.  The group in front of us teed off from the forward tees (wrong tees).  As our foursome approached the tee box, they questioned which set of tees to use so they stopped (and waited for over 5 minutes) and asked for an official ruling in which they were told to play from the white tees.  So, our group played from the correct tees and are now able to compete again tomorrow for the championship.  I definitely understand how there could be confusion.


At the end of the round,  we entered the tournament room where we were greeted with some of the parents speaking very unkindly (and loudly) to the Tournament Director.  It was a scene.  I was there – a lot of ugly things were said from some of the parents, not the officials.  The rules are the rules and unfortunately, the tournament officials had no room for leeway or bending the rules for these 16 players.   The very last thing the tournament officials wanted to do was to disqualify 34% of the field.  They are supporters of junior golf and work hard every day to give our players the chance to play in such a great tournament as The Donald Ross.


It was a rough day from three different standpoints – the parents, the players, and the tournament officials.  Above all, let’s not forget our junior players – they worked very hard preparing for this tournament and I know how disappointed they must be tonight.  As parents, we only want the best for our players, and emotions can run very high.  My hope is that something positive can come out of this experience for everyone.  My heart goes out to all involved in this very tough situation.



  1. They had other choices.
    1. Move the white tee’s down so everyone played the same hole.
    2. Let the 4 groups go back after the round and replay the hole with the 2 stroke penalty.

    Either one of these opinions would of worked and been fair to the entire field. The rules committee has the right to do what they want. My guess is some parents were telling the rules committee to DQ. They didn’t look at all the options. They also did the 16 players an in justice by posting an official at this hole to make sure the rest of the field played the correct tee’s.

    I know you will find it hard to believe that your beloved Pinehurst was wrong, but they dropped the ball on this on. I have a letter that they finally admitted that they made the mistake of not removing the green tee’s from that hole

    Did you notice the yardage sheet showed the same thing ” play green tee’s on #12″.

    16 kids just don’t play the wrong tee. They were told to play the up tee.

    All the kids behind those 4 groups didn’t have to worry about it. The had a rules official to tell them.

    • Thanks for your comments. It was certainly a tough day for everyone. I witnessed it all last year and was actually with the group who called over a rules official over to question the tee box before teeing off.

      We were back again this year and everyone certainly looked at #12 differently this year. Hoping this never happens again!

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