Looking to double up? Our Rules of Golf expert looks at whether you can compete in multiple formats at once

You won’t often find me traversing the course during the week – 9 to 5 and all that. So when the competition season gets into full flow that can present a problem if I’ve also got a raft of club knockout matches to fit in as well.

I’m forever trying to organise them within a pretty tight window, so when Steve Deacon’s email popped into my inbox I was up for a little detective work.

“Can a member play in a match play knockout event whilst also playing in a club Stableford the same time?”

I’m sure a few of you will be interested in this one. So what’s the answer? Can you double dip when a club tournament is on? Let’s take a look…

Rules of Golf explained: Combining match play and stroke play

You need to dig around a bit to find the answer, but it’s found in the Committee Procedures in the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf.

You can do it, but don’t be surprised if your club are not a fan. A section detailing what to do during a competition considers the question of combining match play and stroke play and says it is “discouraged as certain Rules are substantially different between the two forms of play”.

That said, if you ask to do it, or just crack on by yourselves and then ask for a ruling, “the Committee should make its best efforts to support the players”.

Let’s say you do go ahead. We already know the rules can differ for match play and stroke play so does one set take precedence?

Yes. If your committee allows you to play a match when a stroke play competition is being held, the Committee Procedures say “the players should be told to apply the Rules for stroke play”.

That has some very practical effects you might not have considered. For a start, concessions are out. Here’s another. Usually, if you play out of turn in match play your opponent has the option of recalling your stroke. They lose that privilege if you’re combining match play and stroke play.

So you need to have your wits about you if your committee give you the green light. It’s all well and good me writing ‘no concessions’, but it’s natural when thinking about match play to just give and go in certain circumstances.

If you’re playing in a medal, though, forget to hole out and then hit from the next tee, you’re going to get disqualified.

If it’s a Stableford, it’s going to mean writing a zero on the card for that hole. Is it a costly mistake that could outweigh the convenience? You decide.

Have you ever had a go at combining match play and stroke play? How did you get on? Was it a breeze, or did you make a mistake that cost you strokes or a hole? Let me know with a tweet.

Have a question for our Rules of Golf expert?

Despite the simplification of the Rules of Golf, there are still some that leave us scratching our heads. And as I’ve passed the R&A’s Level 3 rules exam with distinction, I’ll try to help by featuring the best in this column.

You can read all of Steve’s Rules of Golf explained columns here.

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap.

Handicap: 10.9

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