Golf News: Players Responsibilities


Over recent weeks there has been much discussion in regard to playing in competitions and in particular about the responsibilities of competitors and the committee. Occasionally the committee have to apply the rules, which results in people being disqualified – never a nice thing to have to do but a necessary option to keep the integrity of the game.

Every competition takes commitment from your committee, which is made up entirely of volunteers, who give their free time to run the events on your behalf. This means setting up the competitions, organising someone to run each and every event on the day. This requires organising scorecards, rules of the day, fee collection and at the end of the day checking the scorecards have the necessary information such as name, handicap, gross scores, signatures prior to publishing the results and organising the prizes.

The above briefly describes what the committee have to do but what about the player, can he/she just turn up and play or do they have responsibilities also? Of course they do, but what are they? While this is not an exhaustive list these are some of the key things a player should give their attention to when playing in a Qualifying Competition;

  • Ensure that you register to play on the day prior to teeing off.
  • Ensure that if it is an Open or National Competition you have a handicap certificate with your CDH number on it (Printable from your Intelligent Golf pages).
  • Put the correct handicap on the scorecard (ideally use the box at the top of the scorecard next to your name).
  • Assist the committee by ensuring that all other details, i.e name, date, competition, gross scores etc are clearly entered on the scorecard and that they are legible.
  • Check the gross score for each hole carefully with the marker before signing the card. If there are any doubtful issues, such as penalty strokes, discuss them with the relevant competition official before finalising the scorecard.
  • Enter the scores into the computer.
  • Return your scorecard promptly after finishing your game (within 15 minutes of coming off the course). Including any No Return Card. When entering No Returns enter the gross scores for any completed holes. Do not put down a fictitious score if you did not complete a hole simply record a NR or zero on the card and a zero on the computer.
  • Ensure that all AWAY scores are returned promptly.
  • Learn how handicaps are adjusted and make any downward handicap adjustments after playing in an away competition before the adjustments have been made by your home club.
  • Do not self adjust any handicap upwards. Upward adjustments must be posted by the HOME club before they are effective.
  • When in doubt ask a member of the handicap committee.

I do believe that everyone would enjoy their golf and incur fewer penalties if they understood the most commonly used Rules of Golf and the different formats that are played in competition, including how to calculate Stableford scores and scoring in other formats such as Bogey competitions.

That is the official stuff that is considered key by the EGU and CONGU in addition to that I have always considered “fail to prepare and you prepare to fail” an apt phrase with which to approach a competition and as such prepare as follows;

  • Check the conditions of entry for the competition, e format, handicap allowance, which course and tee to play from. This is fairly straight forward at Woodbury Park as we play on different courses, yellow, white, gold or black for the men, black and red for the ladies, but in competition the men always play from the gold tee markers and the ladies from their red tee markers.
  • Arrive early and check in to get my card and sign in on the computer (if required) prior to practice.
  • Check my scorecard and what local rules may be in use on the day.
  • Arrive at the first tee 15 minutes prior to my tee time, I can then have a few swings in the net and practice a few putts before commencing my game at the correct tee time.
  • I have a golf ball marked with my own identification mark, pitch repairer, tee pegs, ball marker and pencil in my pocket ready to start.
  • In my golf bag I check I only have 14 clubs and of course a new rule book. (I have never known all the rules). What is required is an understanding of how to use the rule book to find the correct rule and apply the correct ruling when required.
  • When play commences I feel it is important to be aware of other people. To keep a good pace of play and be in position to play my shot when it is appropriate. If I feel that the group behind are playing faster than our group I would “let them through”, even if we are being held up. You never know that precedent may encourage the people in front to speed up or do the same.
  • Remember as the marker of a scorecard, it is your responsibility to know the score of the person whose card you are marking, after each hole, not just to ask what they scored. This is the most significant role of any player to keep the integrity of each player.
  • After the final hole, check and sign scorecards and enter scores onto the computer and hand the card in within 15 minutes of walking off the course.

That is a significant amount of information for now, perhaps the above will spark some thoughts and questions that I am happy to deal with, simply email me ([email protected]) your query and I will respond.

Peter Laugher
Golf Operations Manager