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golf concession rules

Are you allowed to concede holes to shorten a match?

Strapped for time in match play? Can you and your opponent take action to speed things up? Our rules expert has the answer

 

Sometimes we enter into something with best intentions. For me, it’s playing the club match play competitions. I know I’m probably not going to have the time to play them, but I can’t help it. The whiff of combat gets the blood flowing.

Most of the time, these games take place for me in a rush. I’m squeezing them into the calendar. More fool me, right?

But are there things I can do to speed things along? If my opponent agrees, can we agree to shorten a match by conceding holes? Before we’ve even teed off, could I give you the 1st and you give me the 2nd? Let’s consider some golf concession rules…

golf concession rules

Concession golf rules: Can you concede holes to shorten a match?

You can concede the next stroke of your opponent, a hole, or even the match. Rule 3.2b (1) has more.

It says you can concede that stroke at any time before it is made. You are allowed to concede a hole at any time before it’s completed. And you can concede the match at ant point before the result is decided.

What you can’t do, though, is club together and concede holes to ensure you get off the course a bit quicker. You’ll need to delve into the clarifications for this one, but it is there in Rule 3.2b (1)/1.

“A player and opponent are not allowed to agree to concede holes to each other to shorten the match,” it says.

It then gives a clear example of what this looks like in practice. “For example, before starting a match, a player and their opponent agree to alternate the concession of holes 6, 7, 8 and 9 to each other.”

The penalty for doing this depends on how ignorant you are of the rules. If the pair of you know that this is not allowed – and here I am telling you that it isn’t – and you start the match without first cancelling that agreement then you both get disqualified under Rule 1.3b (1).

But, if you didn’t know you were breaking the rules and that the agreement was not allowed then the result of the match would stand.

Now have your say?

What do you make of these golf concession rules? Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation with the Rules of Golf? Let me know by leaving a comment on X.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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