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Golf club committee

The prizes were handed out but the committee got my score wrong – should the results be changed?

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

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.

This is outlined in two places in the Rules. In Rule 20.2d (2) and in Section 7 (D) of the Committee Procedures found in the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf.

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.

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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