Format & Rules

Invitational tournaments are generally scramble style competitions. The scramble format enables golfers of varying levels of skill to participate in a competitive yet enjoyable tournament. Amateur golfers will play in teams of four. Each team must have a combined USGA Handicap Index of at least 43.0. Only one player per team may have a USGA Handicap Index of 8.0 or below.

This is the format used at the National Finals. While not a strict requirement, local Invitational events are highly encouraged to use this format. Please confirm the tournament format for your specific local Invitational event by contacting the person listed on the Tournament Schedule page.

If your foursome wins your local tournament, you will earn an invitation to compete in the 72-hole National Finals at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. The tournament will be held March 18-22, 2020 and played on the renowned Ocean Course, Cougar Point and Turtle Point courses.

Finals tournament format

This year’s National Finals will be a 72-hole cumulative scramble tournament. Your team will play at three Tour-quality courses:

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort was the host of the 1991 Ryder Cup, 2007 Senior PGA Championship, 2012 PGA Championship and will be the host of the 2021 PGA.

The Ocean Course is the fourth course to have hosted each of the PGA of America’s major championships and is ranked 25th among the 100 Greatest U.S. Golf Courses by Golf Digest.

Official rules


All play in Invitational tournaments is governed by the USGA Rules of Golf, as amended by local rules and those set forth below regarding the scramble format. As scramble play is not recognized in the Rules of Golf, the organizers of the Invitational have established the following rules to govern those Invitational tournaments conducted as scramble competitions. Except as set forth below or otherwise modified locally, the USGA Rules of Golf govern all play.

The following are the recommended rules for Liberty Mutual Insurance Invitational scramble style golf tournaments.

Section 1. Rules of play

Scramble format

All four members of the team shall hit one tee shot on every hole. The team then selects one tee shot and continues play from that point. This procedure is repeated until the ball is holed out.

Three tee shot requirement

Each player’s tee shot must be used at least three times during the 18-hole competition.

Section 2. Team formation and handicaps

Handicap requirements

Each team in the Invitational must consist of four amateur golfers whose combined USGA Handicap Indexes total 43.0 or higher. In addition, a team may only have one member whose USGA Handicap Index is 8.0 or lower. All four team members, however, may compete with USGA Handicap Indexes higher than 8.0. There is no maximum limit to each team’s total USGA Handicap Index.

Penalty for violating handicap requirements

If a team or any of its members is found to have violated any of the Invitational handicap requirements, that team shall be disqualified and shall not be eligible to receive any prizes nor shall it be invited to attend the National Finals.

USGA handicap index

Invitational golfers who have a USGA Handicap Index must provide their GHIN (Golf Handicapping Information Network) number (except in those states which are not on the GHIN System) and present a USGA Handicap Index card to be verified upon registration. Please note that the Liberty Mutual Insurance Invitational handicap requirements refer to the USGA Handicap Index and not the Home Course Handicap. The USGA Handicap Index is the number with a decimal point on each player’s USGA Handicap card. The Home Course Handicap does not contain a decimal point.

Liberty Mutual Insurance Invitational index

The local tournament committee or chairperson may provide a golfer who does not have a USGA Handicap Index with a Liberty Mutual Insurance Invitational Handicap Index that may be used for the tournament. The Liberty Mutual Insurance Invitational Handicap Index will be determined in accordance with the USGA’s “Second Best Handicap” system as follows: to create a player’s Second Best Handicap, the Tournament Committee simply asks each un-handicapped player to submit his/her best three scores made on a regulation course (one with a par of 68 or more) in the last 12 months. The scorecards from these rounds must be attested by the golf professional. The player’s Second Best Handicap is the second best score he/she has submitted minus 70 for men or 73 for women. For example, if a male player submits scores of 92, 96 and 98, his Second Best Handicap would be 96 (second best score) minus 70 (for men) or 26.

Effective date of USGA Handicap Index

The effective date of each Invitational golfer’s USGA Handicap Index is the later of (1) the day the golfer registers and pays his/her entry fee, or (2) the day sixty days prior to the tournament date. The date of registration is defined as the date of payment.

Amateur status

All participants in the Invitational must comply with the USGA Rules of Amateur Status. Any team which contains a golf professional is ineligible to compete and win prizes.

Section 3. Threesomes and ineligible teams

Absent team member

In the event a team member has less than four players, that team is not eligible to win team prizes because it cannot meet the requirement that each team use at least three drives from all four players. Teams with less than four golfers should be notified prior to teeing off that they are ineligible for team prizes; however, failure to so notify shall not affect a team’s eligibility. Although three-person teams are non-competing, the individual members of a three-person team are, however, eligible to win individual prizes (longest-drive, closest-to-the-pin, hole-in-one). All golfers in Invitational events, whether they are members of competing foursomes or non-competing threesomes, are only permitted to take one shot from each ball location. In other words, under no circumstances can a golfer take a second shot at any time, on behalf of an absent team member or otherwise.

A player withdraws during play

If a player withdraws before the team has used at least three of that player’s tee shots, the team shall be disqualified. If a player withdraws after three of his shots have been used, the team shall continue to play a three-person scramble with each remaining player hitting only one shot from each ball location.

Section 4. Scoring

Competition is “at scratch” — without handicaps

Once each team has been formed in accordance with the handicap requirement set forth above, the competition is conducted without handicap strokes. This is called competing “at scratch.”

Host golf professional is responsible for tabulating scores and resolving rules or scoring disputes

One of the responsibilities of the club professional at the club hosting the event is tabulating the team’s scores. In addition, the host golf professional will be responsible for working with the Tournament Committee to resolve any rules or scoring disputes.

Breaking ties

In the event of a tie, the golf professional shall break the ties by matching cards among the tied teams. The matching of cards shall begin with the number Men’s number 1 handicap hole (not the first hole) and continue with the Men’s number 2 handicap hole, etc. until the tie is broken. This is the only acceptable method for breaking ties at an Invitational tournament.

Section 5. Miscellaneous rules

Rain outs

While every effort should be made to complete an 18-hole event, the weather may not allow everyone to finish their round. If the whole field does not complete 18 holes, the host professional should help score the event using the following guidelines.

  • Determine how many holes all the teams have completed; scoring must be based on the same number of holes. For example, if half the field played 13 holes and half completed 12 holes, you have a 12-hole tournament and only the first 12 holes completed by each team should be considered in the scoring.
  • Determine each team’s score relative to par for the appropriate number of holes. Scores must be determined relative to par (i.e., how many strokes under/over par) because each team will have played a different assortment of holes with a different total par.
  • If ties exist, the Golf Pro should match cards based on the hole scores on common holes starting with the lowest handicap hole.

Committees decisions are final

Invitational Tournament Committee decisions are final and not subject to appeal. This rule does not prevent a Committee from correcting an incorrect ruling and imposing or rescinding a penalty.

Handicap disputes settled by arbitration

All handicap disputes shall be settled by arbitration with the USGA (or the governing state golf association) in accordance with USGA Rules.