September 2023 Survey Results

There were several issues that surfaced from the survey that was sent out to all VSWGA members in September.  In an effort to provide transparency, the Board felt compelled to respond to several of these issues. 

1. Lakeside
There were several responses from members related to Lakeside membership that led us to believe that there is some confusion amongst the membership.  Lakeside is considered a “member club” the same as a real estate club. This was a ruling of the USGA as they started to recognize these virtual clubs throughout the USA. Membership in Lakeside is currently at 37 women. Members of Lakeside will have the same access to the VSWGA events and all have Vermont  GHIN cards. We recruited a club rep for Lakeside who would come to the Annual meeting and represent their members.

2. State Day Registration
There were several comments regarding State Day registration. Any time a credit card is used, we are charged a fee by the company. If a member signs up and then withdraws, we are charged 2 processing fees, one for the reservation and a second for the refund.  In the past, members have registered foursomes only to cancel a few days before the event in an effort to control with whom they play. We understand this may still be happening, but not as often due to this financial disincentive.  Below is the new 2024 registration policy that can be found in the Member Handbook:

Cancellation Refund Information:
– If you cancel your registration for a State Day after 7:00 am the day before the event, you will not receive a refund.
– If you cancel your registration for a State Day prior to 7:00 am the day before the event, you will receive a refund of $5 per player cancelled.

3.  Registration Opening Time
There were many comments/questions concerning the 6:00 am registration time.  We believe that the administrative person needs to be available for any issues that may occur and the early time may also be better for our members who work.  That said, we have decided on a 7:00 am registration time for the 2024 season.   There has been a decision for 2024 to try a lottery system for 4 of our popular courses (Vermont National, Stowe, Burlington, Rutland) in order to avoid system downtime on those registration days.

4. State Day Schedule
There were several suggestions to have popular state courses held on the same day, as well as some complaints about State Day held on days other than Tuesday.  Unfortunately, this is not an option as the courses determine the days that they will allow our State Day tournaments to be held.  We are very lucky to be able to access these courses at such reduced rates and their first priority must be to their own membership. 

5. Rules Officials for State Days
Rules officials on site for state day was also a popular suggestion.  The VSWGA does not have the volunteer capacity to have rules officials at each State Day. We suggest you have your USGA App ready to look up rules or play two balls in when there is uncertainty and ask the Pro when you have completed your round.  We do have new rules committee members that are going to rules training. Any other members who are interested in volunteering on the committee and participate in rules training and applying that learning to events, is welcome! Reimbursement for training is available. It also is our members responsibility to know the rules/know where to get help with a situation and be able to apply procedures for playing two balls and determining the answers once the round is completed.

6. Registering as a Single
We would like everyone to know that when you register as a single you do NOT need to get approval from the other players already registered for that tee time. The only time you need approval (behind the scenes) is if you are registering players other than yourself.

7.  Shotgun Starts for State Days
Several suggestions were made to hold a few shotgun start State Days. This is not doable as the events would need to start at 8: 30 to allow the club’s membership to access the course in a timely fashion.  Depending on the location of the State  Day this could be too long a travel time for participants to arrive in time.  We will, however, in certain circumstances work with a course to allow for a shotgun start if the course can make it work for them.  This year we will be doing a shotgun start at Quechee per course request.

8.  Pace of Play (POP)
No more TURTLES was a common theme in the survey results.  Turtles will now be referred to as “slow play”. Women who have repeated slow play will be asked to schedule late tee times. We will continue to emphasize playing golf and having a good time at the proper Pace of Play (POP). Pace of Play will continue to be monitored and slow play addressed.  The following new Pace of Play policy is published in the 2024 Member Handbook:

A player’s starting time and finishing time must be recorded on the completed scorecard. The finishing time is the time recorded when the group finishes the 18th hole and marks the time on the scorecard. Players who finish 15-20 minutes or more behind the group in front of them will receive a warning after the first occurrence via email. The second infraction results in a slow play designation via email for the next 4 weeks. The third infraction results in an additional 8 weeks of the slow play designation. With this designation, the player is requested to reserve a tee time in one of the last 4 time slots of a State Day event. If the player feels that there were extenuating circumstances not considered by the committee, they are encouraged to reply via email with more information.

9. Chits
Chits are meant to be used at the participating courses as a thank you for letting us play.  A suggestion was to investigate allowing other options for chit redemption, such as Golf and Ski Warehouse.  As these alternatives do not have ‘skin’ in the game we will continue to support our member courses.  Essentially the chits are “cash” and some courses are expanding their use beyond pro shop purchases to membership dues. We are attempting to collate a list of courses that offer other options for our chits. 

10.  Rangers on State Days
Some of the courses we play have a staff to provide rangers, but most do not. We will encourage club reps to enlist members who are not playing (or other club members (husbands, kids, et al) to act as rangers or spotters on difficult holes. However, it is our responsibility as players to ensure we are keeping up with the group in front of us and to use the split up to catch up method if needed.

11.  Sarah Hunter Golf Tournament
Although the Sarah Hunter Golf Tournament is not a VSWGA sponsored event, we thought it worth noting that the change of location was made as Manchester Country Club no longer wanted to hold the event.  Several VSWGA members felt it was important to continue the tournament to honor the female golf professional Sarah Hunter who was murdered in 1986.  Thankfully, Haystack Country Club stepped up to sponsor this long-standing event.

Feel free to contact any Board member if you have questions or concerns.