“A kid grows up faster on the golf course. Golf teaches you how to behave.” – Jack Nicklaus

It appears that this is a clear case of honest naivete on the part of Zach and unfortunate misjudgment on the part of Mr. Landenberger of the WPGA and on the part of Zach’s golf mentor.

But one of the most valuable lessons he may have learned is that “officials” and people who appear to be in charge and know all the rules are not infallible.

We encourage Nash to make his own exhaustive study of the rules next time BEFORE turning over his trophy, even when his instinct tells him to do so.

I couldn’t live with myself if I kept this medal

Instinct is a great guide in most situations, but when it comes to games with rules, gut instinct unchecked can sometimes have undesirable results. Impressive sportsmanship, Awesome Integrity, Zach!

Waterford Wolverines Boys Golf Team Members (L-R) Garrett Buri, Grant Beck, Zach Nash, Matt Puetz, James Maney
Waterford Wolverines Boys Golf Team Members (L-R) Garrett Buri, Grant Beck, Zach Nash, Matt Puetz, James Maney

Zach Nash of Waterford, Wisconsin shot a 77 to win the junior (13-14 age division) Wisconsin PGA tournament. Unfortunately, he didn’t discover until afterwards, at the Rivermoor Golf Club, while chatting and sharing a soda with his mentor and golf pro Chris Wood, that he had been carrying one of his friend’s clubs with him throughout the tournament, making a total of 15 clubs in his bag.

That’s one too many. It seems the 4-4 rule he had broken calls for a two stroke penalty for each hole played with more than 14 clubs, with a maximum of four penalty strokes.

Since he hadn’t noticed the extra club until after the tournament, signing an incorrect scorecard disqualified him without recourse.

Zach Nash pumps his fist after making a putt in recent action. (Mike Ramczyk/Standard Press)
Zach Nash pumps his fist after making a putt in recent action. (Mike Ramczyk/Standard Press)

With his proud Iowan grandparents watching, Zach had just skillfully beaten 31 other players in his division, but he knew “knew right away I couldn’t live with myself if I kept this medal, so it was pretty instantaneous.”

He unflinchingly called Andy Landenberger, junior tour director for the WPGA, to disqualify himself and surrendered his medal.

Nash, who has been golfing since he was about 10, wasn’t about to soil golf’s reputation by fudging. Understandably, the young man was disappointed and moved to tears as he relinquished his win to the runner up Dane Reinhardt, who had finished the tournament with an 80.

He’s just “a regular teenager who talks back to his parents and picks on his siblings,” according to his dad. But his parents, grandparents, Rivermoor Golf Club and his mentor couldn’t be more proud of Zach’s show of honesty and good sportsmanship.

Just days after his faux pas, Nash played in another tournament, making sure to count his clubs no fewer than three times. The experience has made him a better golfer, he said, and “It kind of got me to be more aware of all the rules, especially 4-4.”

Nash, who planned to try out for the Waterford Union High School golf team, was just about to enter his freshmen year of high school at the time his gentlemanly conduct was reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in September 2010.


JS Online: “Great show of sportsmanship by the kid, but it appears that all of those involved don’t actually know the rules as well as they think they do, because he is the rightful winner and should be allowed to keep the medal. USGA Rule 34/1-B prohibits imposing a penalty on a player for a rules violation after a competition has closed, unless the player knew that they committed the infraction while the competition was still open. Given that he didn’t realize he had the extra club until well after he received the medal, the tournament committee is not allowed to assess any penalty strokes. ” – bma725 

Beautiful Rivermoor green and fairway.
Beautiful Rivermoor Golf Course green and fairway.

TheBlaze: “Maybe he’d like to run for congress in about 20 years. Parents should have their children read this article. Zach has set an amazing example for all of us.” – Narya 

the medal should be returned to Zach Nash

Topix:  “Once the competition is closed this penalty cannot be imposed (See Rule 34-1 b.) Nash should be commended for the attempt to disqualify himself, but according to the rules of golf he should not be disqualified and the Committee should allow him to keep his 1st Place Trophy.

Mr Landenberger, junior tour director of the WPGA should know better than to accept the returned medal and present it to the 2nd place finisher – it should be returned to Zach Nash.” – EriK (Palatine, IL)

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