PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

Golf Digest Open Official Rules

Below, you'll find the official rules of the Golf Digest Open.

The four qualifiers and the National Championship will be two-person best-ball stroke-play events with two divisions: Gross and Net. All teams will be automatically entered into both divisions of this stroke play competition. Each player plays their own ball with the best score of the two counted as the team score on each hole.

For the Gross division, each player will play their own ball and card their own individual score for each hole. The team’s score will be the best gross score between the two players on each hole.

For the Net division, the number of strokes received will be based off of 85% of your course handicap. The team’s score will be the best net score between the two players on each hole. If the difference in handicap indexes among teammates is greater than 10, the handicap of the higher handicap index will be adjusted to exactly 10 strokes greater than the lower handicap index. Also, the Golf Digest Open retains the right to select handicap indexes from any date within 12 months of the qualifier, and, further, may adjust handicap indexes for the National Championship as we see fit.

Each team will be provided with a scorecard, which will denote all of the holes on which each member of the group receives strokes. Each team must mark the individual Gross scores for all four participants in the group. The Golf Digest Open tournament committee will collect all cards at the conclusion of play to compute Net scores and verify cards match. Additionally, we will provide instructions to each team on how to access a real-time digital scorecard and leaderboard at each qualifier and National Championship. Participants will be required to participate in “Live Scoring,” in addition to keeping the official (paper) scorecard.

Each event will be contested according to the USGA rules of golf. Local rules will apply and be communicated to participants prior to each event.

Participants may play in more than one qualifier if they wish. Once a player qualifies for the 2024 Golf Digest Open National Championship, they are ineligible from qualifying again this year.

No outside Caddies or spectators will be permitted at the Golf Digest Open qualifying tournaments or the National Championship. For the National Championship, Streamsong does have a caddie program. Caddie services can be requested by participants in advance of the National Championship. Participants will be responsible for caddie compensation.

6 teams from each qualifier (the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams in each of the Gross and Net divisions), along with the 2023 Gross and Net division National Champions, will be offered the opportunity to compete in the 2024 National Championship. All teams that do not qualify will be placed on a waiting list with order determined by place from the qualifier. In the event that a qualified team elects not to participate in the National Championship, their spot will be offered to the next team on the waitlist from that qualifier in ranked order until the spot is filled.

In the event of a tie in the Gross or Net division at a qualifier, every effort will be made to have a sudden-death playoff on hole #18 in the event of a tie for 1st place in either division, dependent on weather, course availability, etc. In the event an on-course playoff is not possible, the winning team will be determined by the USGA Method of Breaking Ties.

The tie is decided based upon the score of the last nine holes, then by the last six holes, last three holes, and finally the 18th hole. If there is still a tie, then it will be broken by chance. Note: the last nine holes are always considered holes 10-18.

Ties for all places other than first-place will be determined by the USGA Method of Breaking Ties.

In the unlikely event that the same team wins both the Gross and Net divisions, they will be considered medalists of the Gross Division. The second-place team in the Net Division will be designated as the winners of that competition. In the event that a team is tied for first-place in both Gross and Net, that team will be in the Gross Division playoff only.

Golf Digest will cover the National Championship entry fees for the winning Gross and Net teams from each qualifier, plus the 2023 National Champions (10 total teams). For the remaining 16 teams, the Golf Digest-subsidized entry fee is $500 per player ($1,000 per team) and includes tournament green fees (2 rounds), a round of golf at The Chain (Streamsong’s new 19-hole short course), accommodations onsite at Streamsong Resort (two nights, double occupancy) and meals (welcome reception, awards lunch, additional F&B credit). For clarity, 1) the paid entry to the National Championship for each qualifier’s Gross and Net winners are not transferable and 2) no substitute partners will be allowed for the National Championship (qualified participants whose teammates cannot attend may either compete as a single or forfeit their spot – no exceptions)

The Golf Digest Open National Championship will be a 36-hole, stroke-play event contested over two days (Monday, November 4th on Streamsong Blue and Tuesday, November 5th on Streamsong Red). Finalists will arrive on Sunday, November 3rd, and we will hold a cocktail reception and welcome dinner that night. We will provide an awards lunch after Tuesday's tournament round, and final-round starting times and pairings will be based on first-round scores. The winning Gross and Net teams will be crowned Golf Digest Open National Champions.

Both the Gross and Net division National Championship winning teams will receive inclusion in a future Golf Digest story, trophies, complimentary admission into the 2025 Golf Digest Open National Championship, and an Irish golf vacation provided by Carr Golf (such vacation, the “Grand Prize”). Further details on (including terms of acceptance of) the Grand Prize may be found below.


Event Overview: The Golf Digest Open is a nationwide tournament consisting of four regional qualifiers that culminate in a 36-hole national championship. Each regional qualifier will be a one-day golf tournament featuring two-person teams playing in a four-ball format, with all participants automatically entered into both Gross and Net divisions, and the National Championship will be a two-day golf tournament.

Participation Eligibility: The Golf Digest Open will accept registrations from prospective participants aged 21 and over. An official World Handicap System-sanctioned handicap is required to participate, and you must provide your handicapping service name (GHIN, Golfnet, CDGA, etc.) and unique identifying number at registration. Any employees of Golf Digest and/or the U.S. Am Tour are ineligible to receive any prizes.

Rules of Golf: All play will be administered by the USGA Rules of Golf, with exceptions only for each host course’s local rules. Any rules questions or disputes will be settled by a Golf Digest Open representative present at each event, whose decisions will be binding. The Golf Digest Open will offer a Grand Prize to the National Champions in both the Gross and Net divisions, the acceptance of which will require such individuals to renounce their USGA amateur status. Each participant must assume personal responsibility for making sure that their amateur status is not adversely affected by participation in the Golf Digest Open, and National Champions may choose not to accept the Grand Prize in order to retain amateur status. More information on amateur status can be found HERE.

Inclement Weather: Weather-related conditions may delay or suspend play such as lightning or the course being deemed unplayable as determined by the host facility. If such inclement weather is present, every effort will be made by the tournament committee to complete 18 holes. Under a delay, all players should remain on property and await official announcements from the tournament committee. The Golf Digest Open shall not be responsible for any incidental costs (travel, lodging) occurring as a result of inclement weather.

Grand Prize:

National Championship Grand Prize – 2024 Golf Digest Open. Each participant on a National Championship winning team (4 total) of the 2024 Golf Digest Open (the “Contest”) will receive the following (The “Grand Prize”):

  • o Four (4) night stay in Killeen Castle Cottages (two players per room) at Killeen Castle Resort and Lodge, Meath, Ireland (the “Resort”)
  • o One (1) round of Golf at Killeen Castle
  • o One (1) round of Golf at Seapoint Golf Links
  • o One (1) dinner at Seapoint Golf Links
  • o One (1) round of Golf at County Louth Golf Club
  • o One (1) round of Golf at Island Golf Club
  • o All taxes & service charges included
  • o Blackout dates: None, but dates are subject to availability
  • o Retail value: $2,200

The Grand Prize will be presented in certificate form to the National Championship winning teams and must be redeemed prior to December 31st, 2025, subject to availability. If the Grand Prize is not redeemed by such date, it shall automatically be void and of no further effect, and neither Golf Digest nor Irish Golf Tours (the Grand Prize provider) will have any obligation to provide the Grand Prize, or any portion thereof. The Grand Prize is for four (4) individuals only. Any questions on prizing should be sent to

The Grand Prize is awarded “as is”. Any Grand Prize depiction is for illustrative purposes only and shall not be relied upon. No part of the Grand Prize includes alcoholic beverages. Grand Prize is not transferable or redeemable for cash or credit. No substitution of Grand Prize by winner is allowed, but Golf Digest reserves the right to substitute a prize of comparable or greater value at its sole discretion.

All expenses and costs incurred as a result of seeking, winning, and/or making use of a Grand Prize are the sole responsibility of winner. Any expense or cost not expressly stated in the description of the Grand Prize set forth above is the sole responsibility of winner. All federal, state, and local taxes, fees, and surcharges on any Grand Prize are the sole responsibility of winner.

Participation in the Contest and acceptance of Grand Prize constitute participant’s permission for Golf Digest or its agents to photograph, film, and record each player and to use his/her name, address (city and state), likeness, photograph, voice, biographical information, and/or any statements made by each player regarding the Contest for purposes of trade, publicity, or promotion without notice or additional compensation, except where prohibited by law.

By participating and/or accepting a prize, entrants, and winners, agree to release and hold harmless Golf Digest and its respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers, and directors (collectively, “Released Parties”) from any and all liability for loss, harm, damage, injury, cost, or expense whatsoever, including, without limitation, property damage, personal injury, and/or death that may occur in connection with, preparation for, travel to, or participation in the Contest, or participation in, possession, acceptance, and/or use or misuse of the Grand Prize or participation in any Contest-related activity, including, but not limited to, any claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy, and merchandise delivery. Golf Digest shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions, substitutions, or omissions whatsoever by any other persons providing any services to winner, including any results thereof, such as changes in services or location necessitated by same. Golf Digest is not responsible if the Grand Prize cannot be awarded due to acts of God, acts of war, natural disasters, weather, or acts of terrorism. Golf Digest shall not be liable for any loss or damage to personal belongings.

Participant Obligations & Acknowledgements

Each participant is required to provide true, accurate, complete and current information about themselves and their WHS handicap and information related thereto.

Each participant acknowledges that the Golf Digest Open has the right to suspend, refuse access to, or refuse to award any potential prizes if it is determined that a Participant has provided inaccurate, untruthful, or misleading information about themselves or their WHS handicap, or has violated these Terms and Conditions in any manner whatsoever.

Cash prizes are void where prohibited.

Each Participant winner shall be solely responsible for reporting and paying any and all applicable taxes relating to prizes received.

Any Participant winning over $600 in prize winnings will receive an IRS form 1099 at the end of the calendar year and a copy of such form will be filed with the IRS.

Equipment: Each participant will be responsible for providing their own equipment (including, but not limited to golf clubs and golf balls). Participants are responsible for ensuring that their equipment conforms with the USGA Rules of Golf. Golf Digest and the U.S. Am Tour cannot represent that equipment will be available for rental or purchase at any of the event locations.

Privacy Policy and Use of Personal Information: Golf Digest and/or The U.S. Am Tour, and/or BlueGolf may collect personal data about participants online and use such data in accordance with Golf Digest’s privacy policy (the “Privacy Policy”), California Privacy Notice (where applicable), Golf Digest’s Visitor Agreement (the “Visitor Agreement”), and the Terms and Conditions herein. Please carefully review these Terms and Conditions, the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy carefully. By participating in the Golf Digest Open, all participants hereby agree to such collection and use of their personal information by Golf Digest, the U.S. am Tour and/or BlueGolf, either collectively or individually, and acknowledge they have read and accepted these Terms and Conditions, the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy.

Participation Waiver: Upon registration and/or arriving onsite for an event, each participant will need to sign a participation waiver, wherein they must acknowledge Assumption of Risk, Financial Obligations, Cancellation Policy, Conduct, Recording of Events, Marketing Opt-Ins, the Visitor Agreement, Privacy and Cookies Notice, California Privacy Notice, and Governing Law.