Monday, 29 August 2011

Concession of Stroke, Hole or Match

The concession of a player’s next stroke only applies in match play. In stroke play, a putt cannot be conceded; no matter how short it is, because the player must hole out on every hole of the stipulated round (Rule 3-2).

These are the essential things you need to know about concessions in match play;
  • A player may concede a match at any time prior to the start, or before the finish of that match.
  • A player may concede a hole at any time prior to the start or before the finish of that hole.
  • A player may concede his opponent's next stroke at any time, provided the opponent's ball is at rest. The opponent is considered to have holed out with his next stroke, and the ball may be removed by either side.
  • A concession may not be declined or withdrawn.
The last point is the one that many golfers query. Most of us have experienced the situation where we conceded an opponent’s short putt but they go ahead and putt anyway, often missing the hole because they are not concentrating. It does not matter. The concession has been made and nothing that happens after the concession can alter their score.

The only time that a concession of a hole is not valid is when the result of the hole has already been decided, even if the players are not aware that this is the case. For example, if A concedes a hole to B and it transpires that B had played a wrong ball during play of the hole the hole was already lost before the concession was made (Decision 2-4/9).

Be extremely careful before conceding a hole to an opponent, especially when they are claiming to have won a hole because of a Rule that you were not aware of. Decision 2-4/12 provides a good example; in a match between A and B, A putts out of turn, B incorrectly claims that A loses the hole for putting out of turn, A protests but concedes the hole. Although there was no basis for B claiming the hole, A’s concession stands because it cannot be withdrawn.

Once a match has been decided it cannot be conceded. So, if a player wins a match and then realises that he is not able to play in the next round he may not concede the match to the beaten opponent. The winner’s next round opponent would win the match by default (Decision 2-4/19).

Finally, be aware that concessions can be implied; so picking-up an opponent’s ball-marker implies the concession of their next stroke; saying “let’s move on to the next hole”, when you cannot find your ball implies concession of a hole; lifting your ball and shaking hands with your opponent implies the concession of the match.

Good golfing,

I have just downloaded my book, ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’, to my iPhone, using Kindle for iPhone. It cost me just $9.99 (~€6.90). It is also available on Kindle for PC, Kindle for iPod, Kindle for Android and Kindle for Blackberry, at the same price. Of course, it is also available on the Kindle itself. The Kindle for iPhone app is a free download at the iTunes app store. So, now I carry around my 999 questions, answers, references and explanations on the Rules of Golf in my pocket, on my iPhone. Brilliant!


Anonymous said...

Even though it is allowed for a player to concede a hole to his opponent, it is not allowed to subsequently concede holes to each other, thus effectively shortening the match. See decision 2-4/22.

This actually happened a couple of months ago during our national competition. It was a hot day and two players decided 13 holes should earn them the right to call it a day and enjoy drinks on the nineteenth. They decided to concede holes to each other, depending on the outcome of the other matches played that day. Instead, they got disqualified for not finishing an 18-holes match.

Barry Rhodes said...


Good point. In the circumstances that you describe, by agreeing to concede holes to each other they were effectively agreeing to waive the Rules in breach of Rule 1-3.