The competition’s over, the winners announced, and the vouchers handed out. But there has been an admin mistake. What happens now? Our expert takes over…
This one’s a favourite of rules quizzes but I have seen it happen in real-life – most notably when I did it at my own captain’s weekend. How embarrassing.
The exam question usually focuses on a winner’s prize being awarded to a player, only for another player to then tell the competition committee – usually later on down the track – that they returned a lower score.
Someone has a look and discovers they were right. The committee had failed to record their number.
Variations of this also include a committee adding up someone’s score incorrectly and inadvertently failing to give them a prize.
We’re focusing on competition admin here, not anything a player has done themselves, and it does bring up some interesting rules quandaries – especially when the prize-giving is done and everyone has gone home.
How is it resolved? Sweep it under the carpet and forget about it? Say it’s too late to do anything? Or do we need a new prize-giving? Read the following about golf rules mistakes and make sure you get the numbers right!
Golf rules mistakes: What happens when there is an admin error?
In the exam question outlined above, it gets awkward for the competition committee. The answer is they have to get the prize back and re-award it to the player with the lower score.
The first says that for an administrative mistake – a “procedural error in relation to the administration of the competition” – there is no time limit for correcting a mistake, even if a match play result is final or “a stroke play competition has closed”.
It gives some examples, which include: Miscalculating a handicap which results in the wrong player winning the competition, or giving a prize to the wrong player because they’ve failed to post the winner’s score.
“In this situation,” the Rule adds. “The mistake should be corrected and the results of the competition should be amended accordingly”.
The Committee Procedures are similarly firm: “If necessary, the Committee should retrieve any prizes mistakenly presented and award them to the correct players.”
Eek. Probably best to double-check those scores just once more then!
Got a question for our expert?
Despite the changes to the Rules of Golf in 2019 and 2023, there are still some that leave us scratching our heads. I’ll try to help by featuring the best of your queries in this column.
Have you ever seen this golf rules mistake happen in a golf competition? Let me know by leaving a comment on X.