Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Duties of a Marker

The Rules of Golf require that in stroke play ever competitor has a marker to attest their score on each hole of their stipulated round. Both the player and their marker have an explicit responsibility for the correctness of the player's score card. The Definition of Marker is;

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.

(Edit 23rd August 2016: A subscriber has pointed out that whilst a marker is not a referee, they can be. Recently, she was the appointed referee for a two-ball, one of the competitors had to withdraw and she then acted as both marker and referee.)
Rule 6-6a deals with recording scores;

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. 

Note that a player may have more than one marker during their round. So, if the marker they start with cannot complete their round for any reason, such as sickness or responding to an emergency, they must sign the player’s score card for the holes that they were present to witness and hand it over to another person to complete the remaining holes. If a player is not accompanied by a marker for any hole of their round they do not have an acceptable score for the competition (Decision 6-6a/2). It follows that an unaccompanied pair in a four-ball or foursome cannot return a valid score card, as they may not mark their own score card.

Rule 6-6b deals with the signing and returning of a score card;

After completion of the round, the competitor should check his score for each hole and settle any doubtful points with the Committee. He must ensure that the marker or markers have signed the score card, sign the score card himself and return it to the Committee as soon as possible.

I have heard of markers (and players!) who sign the score card as soon as they receive it, so that they cannot forget to do it at the end of the round. This is obviously not acceptable, as the Rule 6-6b starts, “After completion of the round …”.

Some Decisions relating to markers;
•    A marker does not have to be a competitor, so if a fellow competitor ceases to play during a round they may continue to mark the player’s card and may even act as their caddie for that part of the round, Decision 6-4/9.
•    If a Committee has failed to provide a marker for a competitor, they may find someone to mark their score card and the Committee should give retrospective authority to this person, Decision 6-6/1. This assumes that the person was acceptable person to the Committee and was permitted by the Conditions of Competition. Some Conditions of Competition require that the marker must have an authorised handicap, or cannot be a junior member.
•    A marker who knowingly attests a wrong score should be disqualified, whether or not the competitor was aware that one of their scores was wrongly recorded, Decisions 1-3/6 and 6-6a/5.
•    A marker is not required to follow the player around the course to witness every single stroke that is made, but Rule 9-2 does require a competitor who has incurred a penalty to inform their marker as soon as practicable.
•    A marker may attend the flagstick even if he is not a fellow-competitor. Decision 17-1/3.
•    In any circumstance, a marker (or anyone) may provide information on the Rules to the player whose card they are marking. Players and officials are encouraged to do this to prevent a player from breaching a Rule. Information on the Rules is not advice, Definition of Advice.

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Good golfing,


The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2016 and may not be copied without permission.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Penalty Statements

I have been asked to explain the wording of penalty statements, marked with an asterisk, underneath some of the 34 Rules of Golf. Such statements appear under Rules 1, 4, 6 and 18.

Usually, the wording of the statement is self-explanatory, e.g. under Rule 1-2;

*In the case of a serious breach of Rule 1-2, the Committee may impose a penalty of disqualification.

Rule 1-2 covers situations where a player exerts influence on a ball in motion, or intentionally alters physical conditions with the intent of affecting the playing of a hole (e.g. by deliberately creating spike marks on another player’s line of putt). A player is deemed to have committed a serious breach of this Rule if the Committee considers that a player’s action has resulted in themselves or another player obtaining a significant advantage, or being placed at a significant disadvantage.

One penalty statement under Rule 4 relates to the different penalties that are incurred, depending on when during a round the breach is discovered (e.g. 1st, 2nd or subsequent holes). Another relates to the requirement that any non-conforming club, or club(s) carried in excess of the permitted maximum of fourteen, must immediately be declared out of play by the player to their marker or a fellow-competitor in stroke play, or their opponent in match play. If the player fails to do so, they are disqualified. There is more information on these penalties at these blogs of mine; re conforming clubs - Rule 4-1, re damaged clubs - Rule 4-3, re maximum of 14 clubs - Rule 4-4.

Rule 5-3 covers the circumstances concerning a ball that a player deems unfit for play. The penalty statement is as follows;

*If a player incurs the general penalty for a breach of Rule 5-3, there is no additional penalty under this Rule.

So, if a player claims that their ball is unfit for play and continues play of the hole with a different ball, if it is subsequently ruled that the original was not, after all, unfit for play, the player incurs the general penalty for the breach of Rule 5-3, but not an additional penalty for wrongly substituting a ball.

The penalty statement under Rule 6-4, Caddie, states;

*A player having more than one caddie in breach of this Rule must immediately upon discovery that a breach has occurred ensure that he has no more than one caddie at any one time during the remainder of the stipulated round. Otherwise, the player is disqualified.

The penalty statement under Rule 6-8, Discontinuance of Play, Resumption of Play;

*If a player incurs the general penalty for a breach of Rule 6-8d, there is no additional penalty under Rule 6-8c.

Rule 6-8d details the procedure that players must follow when they resume their round following a suspension of play. If they do not follow this procedure they incur the general penalty of two strokes in stroke play, or loss of hole in match play. Rule 6-8c states that if a player lifts their ball without a good reason to do so, fails to mark the position of the ball before lifting it or fails to report the lifting of the ball, they incur a penalty of one stroke. However, the statement under the Rule, which obviously only applies to stroke play, limits the penalty to a total of two strokes, even if the player has breached both Rules.

Rule 18 is a Rule that most golfers will regularly experience, as it covers the situations where a ball in play is moved, whether purposely, accidentally or by the elements. In every case where a ball at rest is moved by a competitor, or outside agent, it must be replaced where it was at rest, but if it was moved by the wind, or other element, it must be played from where it comes to rest. This is where this statement under the Rule comes into play;

*If a player who is required to replace a ball fails to do so, or if he makes a stroke at a ball substituted under Rule 18 when such substitution is not permitted, he incurs the general penalty for breach of Rule 18, but there is no additional penalty under this Rule.

The penalty for a player causing their ball at rest to move, other than as a result of their stroke, is one stroke in both stroke play and match play. However, if the player’s ball is not subsequently replaced at the right spot and the player makes a stroke at it from this wrong place, the penalty increases to the general penalty, which is two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play.

Another example of how this penalty statement applies under Rule 18 is when a player, frustrated with a poor shot, picks up their ball and throws it into a nearby lake, from where it cannot be retrieved. The player then places another ball on the spot from which the original ball was lifted and holes out. The incorrectly substituted a ball under Rule 15-2, incurs a penalty of two strokes in stroke play, but the effect of the penalty statement is that they do not incur an additional penalty stroke for lifting their ball without authority.

Good golfing,

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The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2016 and may not be copied without permission.