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Shot Clock, Timeouts & Ref: New Competitive Elements Revealed
November 06, 2023, Orlando, FL


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TGL presented by SoFi begins a new era in golf with a shot clock, timeouts, and a referee as part of the game.

This will be 3 vs. 3 team golf over 15 holes, live in prime time from SoFi Center. And we’re excited to reveal more about our competitive format, including several new elements that incorporate fundamentals from other sports like a shot clock, timeouts, and a referee to our new tech-forward, team golf league.

These competitive elements in TGL will feel familiar to many as they are prominent in other team sports like basketball, football, and hockey. But how will they work in team golf?

Shot Clock

Yep, we’ll have a golf shot clock. Here’s how it will work:

The basics: Each player will have 40 seconds to hit their shot, or their team will receive a shot clock violation and a one-stroke penalty.

The details:

  • Shot Clock Enforcement: The ref (more on that below), in coordination with a booth official, will be responsible for starting, management and enforcement of the shot clock inside SoFi Center.
  • Stopping and Resetting the Shot Clock: The shot clock will be stopped and reset any time the following occurs:
    • A player has completed their turn.
    • A player incurs a shot clock violation and receives a one-stroke penalty.
    • A player calls a timeout.
    • A player incurs a Rules of Golf penalty.
    • The referee or booth official determines the shot clock must be reset to accommodate a special circumstance.

The 40-second timeframe for our Shot Clock is based on a former USGA Local Rule and a current USGA Recommendation on pace of play.


The basics: Four timeouts are available to each team to use in a match but only two timeouts can be used per session. And it's use them or lose them, there's no carryover from Triples (session 1) to Singles (session 2). Want to try and throw Tiger off his game as he lines up a putt? Could be the right moment for a timeout...

The details:

  • Triples (session 1, holes 1-9): Each team gets two timeouts.
  • Singles (session 2, holes 10-15): Each team gets two timeouts.
  • Timeouts may be called by any team member who will signal or verbally call them out to the ref, who will acknowledge the call.
  • For the team playing their shot, timeouts may be called at any point before the shot clock expires. Remember, that means they have 40 seconds. The opposing team has until the other team’s player has addressed the ball to call a timeout.
  • A team cannot call back-to-back timeouts while on the current shot. They must wait until the shot is hit following a timeout before calling a second timeout.

The Ref

The basics: This is a team sport and just like football and basketball, we’ll have a ref to keep an eye on the action. TGL’s rules will be rooted in the traditional rules of golf played on the PGA TOUR, as well as inherent local rules needed for the league’s unique competition format, technology, and venue.

The details:

  • Our ref has experience with timeouts, shot clocks, and the dynamics of team sports. They will be on the field of play at SoFi Center to administer TGL’s rules and unique situations.
  • Additionally, a booth official, who is an expert in the rules of golf, will be monitoring the action.

For more on the TGL match format click here.