fbpx
world handicap system

You’ve got one job – just check the scorecard!

Another professional has had their dreams crushed following a scoring infraction. But our expert says the rules are very clear

 

Golf is a strange sport. Is there another game we play where we’re so fixated on being seen to follow the rules, while conversely complaining that many of those rules are “stupid”?

We abhor those we believe have bent or broken regulations, but simultaneously are outraged when the same rules penalise someone in a manner we perceive to be unfair.

There was the usual outrage online when it was reported James Hart du Preez was handed a two-shot penalty following the second round of stage one PGA Tour Q-School.

Ryan French, of Monday Q Info, wrote that his score of 74 at the University of New Mexico’s Championship Course was correct but, a couple of hours after leaving the scoring area, he was contacted by a rules official to say his marker David Hansen had failed to add his signature to the card.

It was a pivotal penalty as du Preez, known for being one of the longest hitters in the game, would narrowly miss out on qualifying.

“I have played over 300 professional events all over the world,” he told French. “I have never seen this happen”.

It’s definitely unfortunate but the Texan should look a little harder. It happens frequently at amateur level. As a rules official, I’ve even disqualified a competition winner after both he, and his marker, failed to sign the card.

But it’s also Golf 101. From the very first time you tee it up competitively – playing the lowliest competition on the ladder – you know that both you and your marker have to sign the card.

We all must have done it hundreds of times over the years. It’s like breathing. Once that final shot has been played, make sure the card is correct.

Was it down to du Preez that his playing partner, who’d shot 80, inadvertently failed to live up to his responsibilities?

Golf scorecard rule: ‘The player MUST make sure that the marker certifies the hole scores on the scorecard’

golf scorecard rule

Well, yes. Because the Rules of Golf are clear that the player MUST make sure the marker “certifies the hole scores on the scorecard”.

Even then, there are caveats. Rule 3.3b (2) allows a committee to not add a penalty when a marker fails to carry out their responsibilities, such as leaving “without certifying the scorecard”, if this was “beyond the player’s control”.

And the penalty was even modified too. As I wrote earlier, the chances are you’d get disqualified for this in your weekend comp. But a Local Rule, only added to the book in January, can change that sanction to two strokes in “situations where the committee feels it is more appropriate”.

Ah, but why do we need this rule at all at the top professional events, where there are leaderboards all over the shop and scorers following groups?

You might very well question their relevance in the elite game, but the Rules are not written exclusively for the highest level.

They’re universal. When you’re playing in your club medal on a Saturday with one other player and you are the only ones who have witnessed each other’s rounds, the verification required by adding another signature to your card becomes far more important.

That scrawl is a written and binding declaration that everything occurred as you said it did.

Take away that requirement, take away the need for a witness to corroborate, and you might as well write down any number you want.

Should there be different rules for your weekend game then there are on the PGA Tour? Well, you’d certainly start a debate.

Or you could just make sure your scorecard is filled in properly. You’ve got one job. Just do it.

Now have your say

What do you think? Is this a golf scorecard rule that should be changed, or is it just something players should get right? Leave me 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.

Latest Posts

the open rules

Rules of Golf

You’ll never see these Open rules in play at your club!

By

Read full article about You’ll never see these Open rules in play at your club!
open pace of play

Rules of Golf

How are The Open cracking down on slow play?

By

Read full article about How are The Open cracking down on slow play?

Rules of Golf

I had a brain freeze! But did it ruin someone’s Open chances?

By

Read full article about I had a brain freeze! But did it ruin someone’s Open chances?
golf rules questions

Rules of Golf

5 Rules of Golf mistakes you’re all making

By

Read full article about 5 Rules of Golf mistakes you’re all making
2023 Rules of Golf changes replacing golf ball on spot

Rules of Golf

England Golf extend period for preferred lies

By

Read full article about England Golf extend period for preferred lies
rules beginner

Rules of Golf

What are the key rules beginner golfers should know?

By

Read full article about What are the key rules beginner golfers should know?
Want to play the same game as the pros? That means playing the same Rules!

Rules of Golf

Want to play the same game as the pros? That means playing the same Rules!

By

Read full article about Want to play the same game as the pros? That means playing the same Rules!
gary woodland

Rules of Golf

Can you look into a player’s bag to see what club they’re using?

By

Read full article about Can you look into a player’s bag to see what club they’re using?
winter rules

Rules of Golf

5 Winter Rules Golfers Break!

By

Read full article about 5 Winter Rules Golfers Break!