I received this interesting question, which I think many Club golfers will relate to;
“In a club singles strokes competition, playing in groups of four, one of the groups decides to play a friendly four-ball match during the competition. Also, they agree in advance to play the match play order of play from each teeing ground during the round. What is the ruling please?”First I have copied this related Q&A directly from the USGA web site;
Q. Our group has a season long match play competition. Some of the players want to play in our weekly stroke play competition, and play their match at the same time. Is this permissible?Now, let me clarify that this latter question concerned playing stroke play and match play competitions at the same time, which as I understand, is different from the circumstances of my subscriber’s question, where the 'match' is only a ‘friendly’ four-ball, probably with a small wager on the result. In this case, providing all four players strictly observe the Rules of Golf for singles stroke play, they are not breaching Rule 33-1. So, for example, players must not ask for, or receive, any advice from the other players in the group, must hole out on every hole, and must not ignore any breach of a Rule made by a fellow competitor that they observe.
A. No. Rule 33-1 states that certain special Rules governing stroke play are so substantially different from those governing match play that combining the two forms of play is not practicable and is not permitted. The results of matches played and the scores returned in these circumstances must not be accepted.
Because they are playing in a singles stroke play competition the players should observe the order of play for that competition and not the four-ball order. A Committee could rule that by agreeing to play in four-ball match play order the players were agreeing to breach Rule 10-2a, which would result in their disqualification.
My recommendation is that players should refrain from these friendly four-ball wagers whilst playing in a competition as four singles. Apart from the obvious chance that a Rule of stroke play golf may be accidentally, or unwittingly breached, it is also likely to be detrimental to a player’s concentration if they have to keep track of their own singles score, the player whose score they are marking and the hole by hole status of the four-ball wager.
If you are any way unsure about the many differences between the Rules for stroke play and match play I recommend that you purchase my 10 page eDocument, ‘So You Are Going to Play Match Play', for just $7 (€5.50 / £4.50). Click here for more details.
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