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golf scorecard mistake

Help! I put my scores in the wrong box – is there a penalty?

You’ve made an admin error on your scorecard. Are you going to pay the ultimate penalty? Our rules expert has the answer

 

You might not need a maths degree to work out a scorecard but they still seem to cause countless controversies in club golf.

Missing names, signatures and, occasionally, hole scores, all add up to an administrative headache for those committee members dealing with competitions.

Rule 3.3b (2) lays down some pretty stringent scorecard responsibilities for players around checking and certifying scores. The penalty for getting these wrong is usually disqualification.

And yet…

What if you put scores in the wrong location? What if your front nine scores are in the back nine part of the card, and vice versa? Is there anything you can do about this golf scorecard mistake?

If you’ve ever found yourself in this pickle, there are a couple of clarifications in the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf that might interest you…

golf scorecard mistake

Golf scorecard rule: Scorecard mistakes

The first clarification says information put in the wrong location on the scorecard might still be acceptable. It reveals there is no penalty if the “correct information is mistakenly entered on the scorecard in a place other than where it was expected to be”.

The key is that each hole score on the card has to be identifiable to the correct hole.

Helpfully, it gives a couple of useful examples to illustrate this point. The first shows a player and marker signing the card in the wrong slots. So the player signs in the marker’s column and so on. In this case, the scorecard is certified so it doesn’t matter.

The second has the player’s scores recorded on the marker’s scorecard and vice versa. Here, the clarification says the scorecards are fine “so long as the players tell the committee which scorecard belongs to which player”.

The second clarification builds on this with another example. Say your marker enters your front nine scores in the back nine boxes and the back nine in the front. It’s easily done when you’re playing a format that has you seeing off from somewhere other than the first, right?

The clarification says: “The scorecard will still be acceptable if the mistake is corrected by altering the hole numbers so they go with the right score for each hole”.

You can, literally, change the hole numbers on the scorecard.

If you don’t fix that error, though, and certify a hole score that’s lower than was actually taken on the hole then disqualification awaits.

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 been stung by a golf scorecard mistake? Let me know by leaving a comment on X.

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