Rules Guy: How should you record your score if you finish the last few holes by yourself?


Can you still post your score if you play the final holes alone?

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The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

I recently won a match 3 and 2. We were a twosome, and since my opponent didn’t want to play the remaining two holes I continued alone. I made a birdie and a bogey for an 80. In the Rules of Handicapping, Rule 2.1, however, an acceptable score must be played in the company of at least one other player. I had played the minimum of 14 holes per Rule 2.2a, and applying a net-par score would result in bogey, bogey for an 82. Which score should be posted? — Tony Barra, Northville, Mich.

We trust you implicitly, Tony.

Alas, as you suggest, given the absence of anyone to attest your score when you played the last two holes, you should record the scores of net par for handicap purposes.

(For the uninitiated, net par is equal to the par of the hole plus any handicap strokes received by the player based on the Course Handicap.)

Had you played those holes with anyone present, even though the match had already ended, you would have been expected to record your actual scores.

When in doubt as to the acceptability of a score, it’s recommended that you check with the golf club you’re playing or with your local Allied Golf Association.

For more score-related guidance from our guru, read on …

Rules Guy: How do you account for temporary hole closures or yardage changes on your scorecard?
By: Rules Guy

I generally play from a set of tees one-up from the back. If there is a particular hole with an impressive tee box from the tips, however, can I move back and play from there just for that hole? Also, if it’s match play and my opponent agrees to do the same, is that okay? And would my round still be legitimate for handicap purposes? — Andy Wiegert, St. Louis, MO

Instead of bringing your driver to the tips, Andy, just bring a camera.

Rule 6.1b requires you to play from within the teeing area; which set of tee markers is for your teeing area is specified by the Committee. You as a player don’t have the right to overrule the Committee willy-nilly, or in any other manner.

In a stroke-play competition, you’d get two penalty strokes for playing from outside the teeing area and would need to correct the mistake before starting another hole or be disqualified.

In a match, technically you and your opponent wouldn’t be penalized for agreeing to play the wrong teeing area so long as you didn’t know you’re not allowed to make that switch by agreement. (Now that you’ve read that sentence, that’s no longer possible; agree to ignore a rule and you’re both disqualified under Rule 1.3b.)

As for posting a score, if a Course Rating and Slope Rating doesn’t exist for a particular combination of tee sets being played (i.e., “Black/Blue,” “Blue/White,” etc. — something more courses are doing), a temporary Course Rating and Slope Rating would need to approved and issued by the local Allied Golf Association for the score to be acceptable.

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Got a question about the Rules? Ask the Rules Guy! Send your queries, confusions and comments to We promise he won’t throw the book at you.

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