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My playing partner left with my scorecard – will I be disqualified?

Has your marker hot-footed it with your precious numbers? Our Rules of Golf guru is here to help

 

Our scorecard is our responsibility. We all know how Rule 3.3b (2) works and what awaits us if the hole scores aren’t certified, or we don’t return it. That’s right, the dreaded DQ.

But what if your marker needed a fast exit after the round and inadvertently took your card with them?

Have you breached a rule and is your round about to be consigned to the cutting room floor?

My playing partner took my scorecard

Don’t worry. If you’re sitting on a good score, your hopes of lifting a pot won’t necessarily be jeopardised by a careless colleague. There’s an exception to Rule 3.3b (2) that says there is no penalty if the committee finds that a player’s breach was caused by the “marker’s failure to carry out his or her responsibilities”.

It quotes a marker leaving with a scorecard as being a specific example, as well as them going without certifying it, but the proviso – and it’s an important one – is “so long as this was beyond the player’s control”.

There’s a clarification to this rule that reveals how the exception would operate. In our specific example, the Rules say a committee should try and get in touch with the marker but, if they can’t, they can accept the certification of scores by someone who saw the round.

playing partner took my scorecard

What if the other members of your group can’t do that? If there’s no one else available, the competition committee itself has the power to give your score the OK.

Now, I’ll bet many of you have got another question in your heads right now. What if your marker has lost your card at some point during the round?

Guilty as charged on this one. Luckily, there are all kinds of gems in the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf and this is a question that’s tackled in another clarification to Rule 3.3b.

While it states you should return the card you were given when signing into the competition, there’s nothing in the rule that requires that same card to be handed in “if it was damaged or misplaced”.

So don’t panic if your card is fluttering around the fairways. Pick up another and just make sure it’s all filled in correctly.

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.

Playing partner took my scorecard? Has that ever happened to you? 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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