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Lanto Griffin

Do I need to initial changes on a scorecard?

So you need to change a hole score and your marker has approved. Do you need to scrawl your moniker in the margins? Our Rules of Golf guru has the answer

 

There are those whose scorecards look like a piece of art – clean numbers, neat, and everything filled out with precision.

Mine looks like the rest of my personal life, a disorganised mess of crossings out, numbers crammed into tiny margins, and a smattering of my initials, SC, where we’ve come to adding up and I’ve had to change a hole score where a mistake has been made.

Yes, I should clearly pay more attention – or do better at maths – but it got me thinking about the practice of essentially countersigning any alterations.

Plenty of us do it, of course, and maybe you can tell me where the practice started, but is it required under the Rules? Or are we all wasting our time?

golf scorecard rules

Golf scorecard rules: Should I initial changes?

The answer is the latter. Rule 3.3b (2) states a player must carefully check the hole scores entered on the scorecard and must make sure both they and the marker certify those scores. But you knew that, of course.

It also says a player “must not change a hole score entered by the marker except with the marker’s agreement or the committee’s approval”.

But when that happens, doesn’t that require a smorgasbord of signatures? No.

Rule 3.3b (2) reveals no extra certification is required when changes to hole scores are made on a scorecard.

When a change has been approved, “neither the player nor the marker is required to initial or make any extra certification of the changed score”.

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.

What do you think about this golf scorecard rule? 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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