Unlike many sports, it is the players and their designated markers who bear the responsibility for recording their scores in golf, but the burden isn’t too great as there are only a few key things to remember to avoid falling foul of golf’s scorecard Rules (Rule 3.3b). Here are some of the golf scorecard essentials.
Recording the correct handicap on the card is solely your responsibility as the player. If you fail to record your handicap, or play off a handicap higher than that to which you are entitled (and this affects the number of strokes received), you will be disqualified from the handicap element of a strokeplay competition, though your score will still stand in any concurrent scratch competition. If you record too low a handicap on your card, your net score will stand based on that handicap.
At the end of the round, all you are signing for is your gross score on each hole. You do not have to add your scores up, record your net score, or allocate Stableford points in a Stableford. Most golfers do mark such things on their cards (and rightly so to help the Committee), but you cannot be penalised for getting the maths, the net score or the Stableford points wrong. It is also helpful to the Committee if the player records the date on their card, particularly if playing consecutive days without scorecard labels.
Should you sign for a gross score on a hole lower than that actually taken, unfortunately you will be disqualified. Should you sign for a higher score on a hole than that taken, the higher score stands, but you will not be disqualified. Contrary to what some believe, you do not need to initial mistakes or corrections on the scorecard. Nor do you need to always mark your score immediately on completion of a hole, especially if it is your honour on the next tee.
The scorecard must be signed by you and your marker (or markers if another person has had to take over) and returned as soon as possible on completion of the round. Sometimes, this will be to a recorders’ area, but mostly the box in the clubhouse. Once it has been returned, no alterations can then be made to the scorecard.
If one or both of the required signatures are missing, you will be disqualified under Rule 3.3b. Returning the card “as soon as possible” doesn’t mean immediately, nor does it mean hours later. And even if computerised scoring is in operation, it is what is recorded on the physical scorecard that is all-important, rather than what might be input in error into a computer.
It is always worth an extra dose of concentration to make sure everything is spot-on before signing and returning your card, especially in the excitement of a good round. There is nothing worse than the round of a lifetime being spoilt by an elementary scorecard mistake!
The player’s score is kept on his or her scorecard by the marker, who is either identified by the Committee or chosen by the player in a way approved by the Committee. The player must use the same marker for the entire round, unless the Committee approves a change either before or after it happens.
(1) Marker’s Responsibility: Entering and Certifying Hole Scores on Scorecard. After each hole during the round, the marker should confirm with the player the number of strokes on that hole (including strokes made and penalty strokes) and enter that gross score on the scorecard. When the round has ended:
(2) Player’s Responsibility: Certifying Hole Scores and Returning Scorecard. During the round, the player should keep track of his or her scores for each hole. When the round has ended, the player:
In addition to the above and to help the Match Committee score competitions quickly, players should also: