KHSAA Board of Controls finalizes state golf format

In their first meeting of the 2019-20 academic year, the KHSAA Board of Controls finalized the golf format for the upcoming season. A controversial decision made earlier this year to drop the number of  members on a qualifying team for state from five to four was revisited and the board decided to leave the team format to four or five member teams.

A big change however, was made that allows only each region’s championship team to advance to state and not the runner-up team as has been the case in the past. The board also changed the number of individuals that advance to state not on a team from three to seven.

Below is the news release from the KHSAA Board of Controls on Thursday’s changes to the golf format.

The Board of Control conducted its first organizational meeting of the 2019-20 academic year on Thursday in Covington, finalizing the format of the state golf tournament while also addressing the calendar for the state tennis championships and the future of esports.

After reviewing feedback following its earlier decision to change the team format to a four-person squad at the state tournament (which was a format of the tournament in past years), the Board of Control elected to revisit the issue at its July meeting. After significant discussion, the Board eventually settled on a final resolution to address its original concerns with the size of the field, match its boys and girls alignment, ensure all schools have an opportunity to participate in the championship regardless of squad size and complete the tournament during the mid-fall season while also addressing the team composition feedback.

After additional discussion, the Board settled on a recommendation from the work session discussion to restore the play-5, count-4 model at the state championship with the following conditions:

» That four or five players may be entered at the region level with the lowest four scores constituting a team score;
» the winning team at the region qualifying for the state tournament with four to five golfers comprising a team at the state tournament with the lowest four scores comprising the team score and team substitution provisions remaining as they are in current rules;
» that for 2019 and 2020, the next seven individual finishers not on the qualifying team advance to the state tournament;
» that only the 12 qualifying regional winners are eligible for the team championship regardless of the number of individuals that quality from a team at region play;
» that pace of play, both from a length of the round and individual hole standards be a continued emphasis with staff reviewing with Golf House of Kentucky the need for continual emphasis and the KHSAA producing, well in advance, additional hole-by-hole pace of play guidance for the state championship course;
» that continual review be done of the alignment in golf to determine the options for increasing the number of regions as a means of enticing newer programs to be created and older ones expanded due to advancement opportunities as well as addressing region entry over-crowding issues;
» that the regional advancement formula for individuals be reviewed after 2020 in the event of the need for adjustment in state qualifying based on region size for the future;
» that following the 2020 tournament, any further adjustments be implemented with a process for continual review;
» that all twelve region qualifying teams will play both rounds of the state tournament; and
the top 42 individuals from the first day of play (plus any ties involving the 42nd position).

“Clearly there were many issues identified not only with the prior format, but also other issues surrounding golf and participation levels as the board conducted its first comprehensive review of golf in many years,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett. “There are no easy answers. KHSAA Championships are not simply for elite programs and schools flush with participants and historic past performances, nor are they solely for team competition. The Board has the daunting requirement of also ensuring there is an opportunity for students from all levels of involvement, whether the school has one golfer on their roster or 40.

“The board has charted a course to address these issues and looked at many options. Clearly, it is not the role of the KHSAA to rigidly implement copies of events at other levels of play, and we are thankful when our students get the opportunity at those levels. But for the vast majority of high school students, there will be no college or professional opportunities and for the 94% who won’t play competitively after high school [per NCAA statistics], it is critical that all of them have opportunities to experience the best participation opportunity around, a high school postseason championship.”