The Montana High School Association announced today that it is instituting a pilot program for golf spectators during the post-season tournaments for the 2018-19 school year.
The rule will be discontinued at the end of the school year, and it will be reviewed an analyzed. The MHSA Executive Board will then determine if the rule will be continued.
The new rule, which will come into play when Butte High hosts the Class AA State tournament Sept. 27-28, requires all spectators to pay a $10 fee per day during the post season. Spectators will receive a badge that will be required to be worn at all times on the course. After the fee is paid and the spectator receives a copy of the MHSA Spectator Code of Conduct, they will receive a badge.
In a statement released to the media, the MHSA said it welcomes and encourages parents and spectators to attend events. The MHSA said is appropriate for parents and spectators to respectfully applaud good shots by all players and not just the player they are following.
Additionally, the MHSA requires that parents and spectators adhere to the following set of guidelines. If any of the following guidelines are perceived to be broken by a designated tournament official, the spectator will be removed from the event.
- Spectators attend MHSA events at their own risk.
- “Advice (Rule 8) is any counsel or suggestion which could influence a player in determining his play, the choice of a club or the method of making a stroke.” In addition, any conversation between a player and spectator may be construed as advice. This includes any signals, gestures or actions made by the spectator. In any of these instances, the penalty for breach of the Advice Rule will be removal of the spectator from the premises.
- Spectators are not allowed to converse with a player on-course. Words of encouragement are acceptable, as long as advice is not given.
- Spectators must always stay on cart paths if available. In the absence of cart paths, spectators should walk in the rough. Please stay off fairways, tees and greens. Spectators need to stay at least 40 yards from players at all times and always be aware of the group behind you.
- Spectators should stay one shot ahead of the group they are following except when the group is teeing off. When teeing off, the spectator should observe from behind the tee box. This allows spectators to follow errant shots and help identify where the ball comes to rest. Spectators are encouraged to help in the search for lost golf balls hit by the participants to assist with the speed of play.
- Spectators are not allowed to make rulings or present potential rule violations to coaches or rules officials. Only fellow competitors and coaches have this right. Spectators will only be brought into a rules situation if asked by an official.
- Spectators are not allowed to carry or move a player’s clubs or bag during the stipulated round.
- Spectators are not allowed to bring chairs onto the course.
- Spectators must turn off cell phones during all MHSA Golf Events.
- The MHSA does not allow spectator carts except if the spectator fits under the definition of disabled by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA defines an “individual with a disability” as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Documentation must be presented to the meet manager at each event.
- The acting rules official(s) is responsible for assessing penalties on spectator violations. If a serious breach has occurred or if a spectator is deemed to be unruly, the spectator will be asked to leave the facility and additional consequences for that spectator may be administered.
- For your personal safety, spectators are asked to exercise caution at all times. When inclement weather moves into the area, the host course/coach will suspend play. Accordingly, spectators should seek shelter immediately. The schools will evacuate players from the course. Spectators will be required to evacuate as well. Spectators are responsible for their own well-being.