Should there ever be an exception for a scorecard error?

Steve Carroll: The junior in the clubhouse cut a rather forlorn figure as the scores rolled round the big TV screen.

She was never going to have won the competition anyway but her name was now right at the bottom of the list – with the words DQ afterwards.

A succession of well-wishers came up to her in the clubhouse, patting her on the shoulder and telling her it wasn’t a big deal.

She had signed for an incorrect score (a lower one) and, under the rules, had been eliminated from the competition.

In another example, a fourball that won a Texas Scramble found themselves without anything to show for it.

Their ‘score’ was correct but, in a format where each player had to record four drives, they had entered them incorrectly.

Each player had hit their requisite tee shots but the scorecard, when signed and handed in, said otherwise.

This year, new rules now allow limited exceptions where disqualification won’t be enforced if a scorecard is incorrectly returned – such as if a player did not know they had incurred penalty strokes.

Should there be more? Should golf be more lenient, and consider more circumstances, when it comes to disqualifying someone from a competition?

Or is there never any excuse for handing in an incorrect scorecard? card

James Savage: Of course there should be exceptions, this is golf not the EU Referendum. If a player makes an honest mistake in a club comp they shouldn’t be penalised with a DQ.

Dan Murphy: No. There is an argument that an NR should result in going up 0.2 though…

In pro golf, I don’t think you should have to mark your card. I don’t see Andy Murray going to back to his seat between games and updating a piece of paper. We all know what the scores are. There’s a person whose job it is to record the scores.

In amateur golf, clearly you need to have a reliable record of each round. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to be responsible for writing down the gross scores of yourself and a playing partner, cross-checking them and signing your own card. Not doing this is a DQ offence.

Anything beyond that, such as working out stableford scores and adding it all up should not be penalised. It’s not a maths lesson.

Jamie Millar: Maybe something like a three strikes and you’re out ruling should be enforced? It could be far more lenient is an honest mistake is made.

SC: Playing Devil’s Advocate, is this fair on the people who do check their cards and hand them in correctly? After all, it’s only putting numbers on a piece of paper and then adding them up?

Craig Middleton: Three strikes is risky. How many players do you think would be tempted to use two of their strikes to try and win a comp?

Mark Townsend: Like everything in golf if there was more common sense then it would be far better off.

Mark Roe and Jesper Parnevik forgetting to swap their scorecards over at the start of the round at the 2003 Open and then getting disqualified was a nonsense.

Likewise Ian Poulter accidentally dropping his ball on his ‘lucky marker’, moving the marker and getting penalised a shot. You could go on forever listing strange DQs. And all of them are ridiculous.

Tom Lenton: If you shoot a bad score and get it wrong, who cares? If, and on the rare occasion, you shoot a low one, you are always going to be extra careful and double check, and triple check, before handing it in.


SC: There are myriad of ways you can fall foul of this. I know someone who was disqualified for not entering their handicap on the card.

TL: The person who then disqualified them is a prime example of someone without common sense. Go look at the board and write on the person’s handicap. Perhaps the player wasn’t sure as they may have had a score pending to lower or raise their handicap.

JS: There are too many sticklers at golf clubs who just can’t wait to enforce the rules. They are very sad individuals.

Jordan Elliott: I was once playing in a friendly best two from four in a York City Supporters day.

We signed for the correct score, however the marker had put the gross score under the wrong person’s name (but the nett score was correct regardless).

There was then uproar in the clubhouse as to what the rule was. Was it DQ or no points on that hole? It was then decided that we were to receive a 2 point penalty and we subsequently lost the competition by 1 point…

Sometimes it seems that no-one actually knows the rules, but people just make them up to suit.


DM: I have great sympathy for someone DQd because their playing partner fails to sign their card.

At most clubs these days, all you have to do is tap your gross scores into a computer and as long as the same numbers are on a card and it is signed then you have no problem. Job done.

SC: That is a very good point. Computers do take a lot of the stress out of the adding up process.