Has your marker hot-footed it with your precious numbers? Our Rules of Golf guru is here to help

Our scorecard is our responsibility. We all know how Rule 3.3b (2) works and what awaits us if the hole scores aren’t certified, or we don’t return it. That’s right, the dreaded DQ.

But what if your marker needed a fast exit after the round and inadvertently took your card with them?

Have you breached a rule and is your round about to be consigned to the cutting room floor?

Rules of Golf explained: My playing partner took my scorecard

Don’t worry. If you’re sitting on a good score, your hopes of lifting a pot won’t necessarily be jeopardised by a careless colleague. There’s an exception to Rule 3.3b (2) that says there is no penalty if the committee finds that a player’s breach was caused by the “marker’s failure to carry out his or her responsibilities”.

It quotes a marker leaving with a scorecard as being a specific example, as well as them going without certifying it, but the proviso – and it’s an important one – is “so long as this was beyond the player’s control”.

There’s an interpretation to this rule that reveals how the exception would operate. In our specific example, the Rules say a committee should try and get in touch with the marker but, if they can’t, they can accept the certification of scores by someone who saw the round.

What if the other members of your group can’t do that? If there’s no one else available, the competition committee itself has the power to give your score the OK.

Now, I’ll bet many of you have got another question in your heads right now. What if your marker has lost your card at some point during the round?

Guilty as charged on this one. Luckily, there are all kinds of gems in the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf and this is a question that’s tackled in another interpretation to Rule 3.3b.

While it states you should return the card you were given when signing into the competition, there’s nothing in the rule that requires that same card to be handed in “if it was damaged or misplaced”.

So don’t panic if your card is fluttering around the fairways. Pick up another and just make sure it’s all filled in correctly.

Have a question for our Rules of Golf expert?

Despite the simplification of the Rules of Golf at the beginning of 2019, there are still some that leave us scratching our heads. And as I’ve passed the R&A’s level 2 rules exam with distinction, I am more than happy to help.

If you’ve sent me an email and are yet to hear back from me, I will try to answer your query. I’m still inundated with requests and trying to get through them.

Just to reiterate, I continue to receive emails from players hoping I can intervene in a club rules dispute. For fairly obvious reasons, I can’t do that and would direct those players either to their county or to the rules department at the R&A for a definitive judgement.

Click here for the full Rules of Golf explained archive and details of how to submit a question to our expert.

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