This month, we look at the common situation where a player starts a hole but fails to complete it, and how they should record their score when this happens.
Common Scenarios and Exceptions
Several situations may lead to a player not holing out. Some of these include:
Result of the hole decided: In instances where the outcome of the hole has already been determined, players may choose not to complete the hole fully. For example, if your partner has already recorded a better score in a Four-Ball format, you may decide to pick up your ball to speed up play.
Conceded hole in match play: In match play, an opponent may concede a hole if they believe the player would have holed out with their next stroke. In such cases, the player can proceed to the next hole without playing another shot.
Net Double Bogey limit reached: Players have a maximum number of strokes they can take on a hole, set at Net Double Bogey (par of the hole + two strokes + any additional handicap strokes a player is entitled to). If a player reaches this limit, they may pick up their ball and move on to the next hole.
Recording a Score
When a player starts a hole but does not finish it due to any of the valid reasons mentioned above, they are required to record their most likely score or Net Double Bogey, whichever is lower.
The most likely score is:
- The number of strokes already taken to reach a position on a hole, plus
- The number of strokes the player would most likely require to complete the hole from that position, plus
- Any penalty strokes incurred during the playing of the hole.
Guidelines for Determining Your Most Likely Score
On the putting green: If the ball lies on the putting green and is within 1.5 metres from the hole, you should add one additional stroke to your current score.
Between 1.5 to 20 metres from the hole: from this range, you should add 2 or 3 additional strokes, depending on the ball’s position, the difficulty of the green, and your ability.
More than 20 metres from the hole: from this distance, you should add 3 or 4 additional strokes, depending on the ball’s position, the difficulty of the green, and your ability.
A most likely score is a reasonable assessment of the number of strokes needed to complete a hole when the golfer didn’t hole out. For example, in a Four-Ball match-play competition, a player’s partner holes out in three strokes while the player’s ball is five metres away from the hole in four strokes, with no improvement possible for the side. To save time, the player may pick up and record a most likely score of six or seven for handicap purposes, following the guidelines above.
There is no limit to the number of most likely scores that can be recorded within a player’s adjusted gross score, provided that the failure to hole out is for a valid reason and not for the purpose of gaining an unfair scoring advantage.
The most likely score on any hole cannot exceed Net Double Bogey for handicap purposes.
Quote of the Month
‘Golf is a compromise between what your ego wants you to do, what experience tells you to do, and what your nerves let you do.’—Bruce Crampton
The Handicaps Team