A marker is one who is appointed by the Committee to record a competitor's score in stroke play. He may be a fellow-competitor. He is not a referee.In my last blog I left readers to ponder whether a marker should sign the score card of a player who has played a number of strokes when the marker was not present. At first, it would seem obvious that the marker has to be present during the whole stipulated round in order that they can properly attest the player’s gross scores for each hole. Decision 6-6a/2 is relevant;
Q. A plays three holes by himself while his marker, B, rests. B then resumes play and marks A's scores for the holes he (A) played alone as well as his scores for the remainder of the holes. Should A's card be accepted?However, it would seem that it is not quite that clear-cut. I am sure that every one of us has marked a player’s card without witnessing every single stroke they made. For example, their ball may have been in the woods on one side of a fairway and our ball may have been in the rough behind a steep mound on the other side; or their ball may have been under a bush and they had a ‘fresh air’, or ‘whiff’ in trying to strike it; or they may have incurred a penalty because their stroke from a pot bunker hit the lip and rebounded hitting them on the leg. If we did not personally witness every stroke and/or penalty does it mean that we cannot sign their card as marker? Of course it does not. Rather surprisingly, Rule 6-6a, which deals with the recording of scores, does not offer much guidance;
A. No. A should have insisted on B accompanying him or have discontinued play and reported to the Committee. Since A was not accompanied by a marker for three holes, he did not have an acceptable score.
After each hole the marker should check the score with the competitor and record it. On completion of the round, the marker must sign the score card and hand it to the competitor. If more than one marker records the scores, each must sign for the part for which he is responsible.The only other Decision on this subject is 6-6a/4, in which the marker refuses to sign the competitor's card after a dispute over a penalty incurred, which is not really relevant to the subject of this blog.
The point to remember is that the Rules require the marker to sign the player’s card so that he has a score that is acceptable for the purposes of the competition. The rules recommend that a marker should check the score with the competitor after each hole although this is not mandatory. Ultimately, this is a game that relies on integrity of the player and the witnessing of every stroke by their marker is not specifically required. If a marker says that they will not sign the card because they could not be sure of the score the player made, or they were not accompanying the player on every stroke, then it becomes an issue that the Committee has to deal with, as to whether the player’s score is acceptable, or not, based on whatever evidence that they can gather.
I have one final point on this subject. In some playing groups it is common for one person to mark all the scorecards, including their own. This is not an acceptable practice in competitions and must be discouraged.
It is a truism that golf brings the best out in a good man and the worst out in a bad man.
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