Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Miscellaneous on Match Play

At this time of year golf clubs and societies in Northern Hemisphere countries are appointing captains and team squads for inter-club match play competitions. I have previously blogged on the differences between the Rules of Golf for stroke play and match play (24th February and 10th March 2012), but am now listing some miscellaneous points on match play Rules that may be new to some readers;

Once a stroke has been conceded it may not be declined or withdrawn. There is no penalty if a player continues to hole out after the concession, unless their stroke could be of assistance to their partner in a four-ball match, Decision 2-4/6. However, I would discourage anyone from doing so, as it may unnecessarily delay play. Obviously, if the player misses the putt it is of no consequence, because it had already been conceded.

A player loses the hole if they give their opponent wrong information. Under Rule 9-2b a player is deemed to have given wrong information if;

(i) He fails to inform his opponent as soon as practicable that he has incurred a penalty, unless (a) he was obviously proceeding under a Rule involving a penalty and this was observed by his opponent, or (b) he corrects the mistake before his opponent makes his next stroke; or
(ii) He gives incorrect information during play of a hole regarding the number of strokes taken and does not correct the mistake before his opponent makes his next stroke; or
(iii) He gives incorrect information regarding the number of strokes taken to complete a hole and this affects the opponent's understanding of the result of the hole, unless he corrects the mistake before any player makes a stroke from the next teeing ground or, in the case of the last hole of the match, before all players leave the putting green.

If you make a stroke and your ball hits your opponent, or their equipment, you may choose to play the stroke again, Rule 19-3. This may seem unfair if you shank your ball sideways and it hits your opponent in their groin, or hits their trolley situated several distance away, but that is the Rule! Once you have made your apologies, you can either play the ball as it lies, or drop the ball where the previous stroke was made from, without penalty.

A four-ball partner may leave their ball on the putting green, e.g. in a position where it may usefully act as a backstop, while the other partner makes their putt. Unlike stroke play, there is no penalty if the ball in motion is deflected or stopped by a ball at rest on the putting green, Rule 19-5. Note that if an opponent considers a ball might assist the player making the putt they can demand that it is lifted, Rule 22-1. 
(Edit January 31st: I have removed the words, "Providing there is no agreement between them" at the start of this bullet point, as I have been correctly notified that as there is no penalty in match play for a ball played from the putting green striking another ball on the putting green, an agreement between partners to leave it there does not breach any Rule.)

If a match involving handicaps is all square after the stipulated round, the players  should continue at the hole where the match began and the same handicap strokes should be allowed as in the stipulated round.

In a four-ball match involving handicaps, where a missing party is the person who the strokes allowance was calculated from, i.e. the lowest handicap player, the handicap strokes should still be allocated based on the missing person being present.

If a doubt or dispute arises between players in match play that cannot be resolved during play of the hole, a claim must be made before teeing-off at the next hole, strictly following the procedures set down in Rule 2-5. The player making the claim must notify their opponent that they are making a claim, agree the facts of the situation and make it clear that the Committee is being asked for a ruling. In many cases it will not be possible to obtain an official ruling in a timely manner. The match should be continued without further delay and played to a conclusion whereby there is a definitive result that takes into account an eventual ruling for the disputed hole, whether it be a win for either side, or a half.

I recommend that every golf club or society obtains a copy of my 10-page eDocument, ‘So You Are Going to Play Match Play!’ I have recently added a single page, summary check list of 12 important points that all team members should be aware of before commencing their match. Purchasers have my permission to distribute this eDocument  to any member of their Club or Society, providing it is without charge and my accreditation remains in place. Click here for details. 

Good golfing,

I have received many testimonials for ‘So You Are Going to Play Match Play!’ including these; 
“It is excellent and should be of great assistance to golfers of all categories. I like the way you’ve set it out, explaining all the relevant rules in sequence.” Ms. H.S. “Excellent document Barry. Your simple explanations mean that I learn more from your content that I do from the rule book!” Mr. G.C. “This is a must read for anyone that plays match play golf.” Mr. S.R.

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2018 and may not be copied without permission.


TiVo said...

Hi Barry.
What's the reference for "Providing there is no agreement between them, one four-ball partner may leave their ball on the putting green"? I'm not aware that there's any problem with such an agreement.


Barry Rhodes said...

Thanks, John (and others) for pointing out this mistake..

I have since edited a correction above.