Rules Guy: Is it permissible to accidentally mix up the numbers on a scorecard if the total score is correct?

Just how important is it to have the right score on each hole if the total adds up correctly at the end?

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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.

A player signs for a 2 when he made a 3 and for a 5 when he made a 4. The total score is correct; the individual scores are not. Is he in trouble or in the clear? —Andy Caprioli, Clinton Corners, N.Y.

First off, I hope this man is not your accountant.

Second, he is indeed in trouble. The player’s responsibility is to ensure that the individual hole scores are correct, and it’s the committee’s responsibility to total said scores. That the errors balance each other out is, alas, irrelevant.

hole in one
Rules Guy: Do holes-in-one count on modified par-3s?
By: Rules Guy

If a player signs for a 2 where he had a 3, he is disqualified. If his only mistake were to sign for a 5 where he had a 4, he remains in the competition, albeit with the higher score. The exception to the DQ is if he signs for a lower score because of a penalty that was unknown to him until after his John Hancock.

Moral of the story: As Rules Guy’s 5th grade math teacher used to say, “Check your work!”

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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