News Release
Shane Owens Triumphs
Championship Preview
Fighting the Urge
Bag Storage Planned
Red (& Yellow) Stakes Explained
Mobile Website Returns
Lost Ball Explained
Press Conference Scheduled
Replay Round Returns
White Stakes Explained
3rd Set of Options begin May 1
The Quest for Gold
Deadline for 2nd Set of Options
Outstanding Balances Due
2nd Set of Options to Open April 5
Final Roster Space Explained
March 21 Deadline for Phase 3
1st Set of Options Continue
Phase 3 Starts March 1
Roster Hinges on Single Occupancy
Red (& Yellow) Stakes Explained

May 17, 2024

MARSHALL, MI — The Carl Spackler Open, a revered 54-hole amateur golf tournament with a rich history spanning two decades and crossing 13 states, has attracted 410 golfers over its existence. This esteemed four-day competition, known for its handicapped format, requires players to submit scorecards from their local games throughout the year.

Recently, the Captains Club, a group overseeing the event for 22 years, proposed changes aimed at streamlining future editions of the tournament. The proposal suggested simplifying proceedings by eliminating certain regulations, handicapping procedures, awards, designated tees, and the time-consuming scoring process.

Greg Long, Chairman of the Captains Club, emphasized the significant effort required from participants and volunteers to organize this individual golf competition. He advocated for a more relaxed approach without rules, handicaps, and competition. However, the proposal was ultimately rejected by the Captains Club, which unanimously voted to preserve the competitive nature of the Carl Spackler Open.

This decision underscores a commitment to maintain the essence of the tournament as a challenging handicapped golf event. As the event evolves, it aims to engage participants who relish the competitive spirit of golf.

In a series of upcoming articles, we will elucidate the six fundamental golf rules in their simplest forms. This article focuses on the concept of a red stakes, penalty area, yellow stakes, and its penalty.

Golf courses often designate penalty areas using colored stakes or lines. At the Carl Spackler Open, both yellow and red stakes carry the same significance to streamline regulations.

"The original intent of red and yellow stakes was to delineate water and lateral hazards," explains Jason Ridgeway. "However, to expedite play, golf courses began using red stakes to mark various hazards beyond water, prompting the USGA to relabel them as 'penalty areas'."

The penalty for a ball entering a penalty area is less severe than that for a lost ball, eliciting celebratory remarks like "Look, it's red" from players who find relief in the reduced penalty stroke.

When dropping a ball after entering a red or yellow-staked area, players must do so within two club lengths from where the ball crossed the boundary, without moving closer to the hole. However, there's no relief to be found in the nearest fairway, often leaving players with challenging chip shots.

Jason Ridgeway emphasizes several key points:

(1) Players cannot disregard the rule even if their drop area is obstructed by trees, necessitating shots back onto the fairway, sometimes in reverse. Dropping a ball 30 feet away in the nearest fairway or claiming a ball crossed a pond when it actually crossed the staked line before it constitutes rule violations.

(2) Ignoring the stake and playing the ball as it lies is an option under USGA rules, but at the Carl Spackler Open, yellow-staked hazards are treated as red for simplicity.

(3) In practical terms, a one-stroke penalty is incurred when a ball enters a penalty area. For instance, if a tee shot lands in a water hazard, players must drop another ball and add one stroke to their score, likely teeing off again from a challenging position near the hazard.

The 2024 Carl Spackler Open is gearing up with 84 golfers from 16 states set to participate in the 54-hole handicapped tournament, featuring a practice round on Wednesday, June 5. With the tournament tee measuring 6,450 yards (6,000 yards for seniors), players are in for an exciting challenge.