Rule 3 - The Competition

Purpose of Rule: Rule 3 covers the three central elements of all golf competitions:

3.1  Central Elements of Every Competition

Forms of Play. Match playMatch Play: A form of play where you or your side plays directly against an opponent or opposing side in a head-to-head match of one or more rounds. and stroke playStroke Play: A form of play where you or your side competes against all other players or sides in the competition. are very different forms of play:

You either play as an individual competing on your own or with a partnerPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. competing together as a sideSide: Two or more partners competing as a single unit in a round in match play or stroke play.. Although Rules 1-20 focus on individual play, they also apply where partnersPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. and teams are included.

Gross or Net Scores. In a scratch competition, your “gross score” for a hole or the roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. is your total number of strokes. In a handicap competition, your “net score” for a hole or the roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. is your gross score adjusted for your handicap strokes.

3.2 Match Play

Purpose of Rule: Match play has specific Rules (particularly about concessions and giving information about the number of strokes taken) because you and your opponent:

a. Result of Hole and Match

In match playMatch Play: A form of play where you or your side plays directly against an opponent or opposing side in a head-to-head match of one or more rounds. the result of the hole or match is decided as follows:

b. Concessions

You may concede your opponent’sOpponent: The person you compete against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. next strokeStroke: The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball., a hole or the match, but a concession is only made when it is clearly communicated.

A concession is final – you cannot withdraw it once made and your opponentOpponent: The person you compete against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. cannot decline the concession.

 For more information on concessions, including how they are made.

c. Applying Handicaps in Handicap Match

You and your opponentOpponent: The person you compete against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. should tell each other your handicaps before the match. If you declare a wrong handicap and don’t correct the mistake before your opponent makes a stroke:

Handicap strokes are given by hole, and the lower net score wins the hole. If a tied match is extended, handicap strokes are given by hole in the same way as in the roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee..

 For more information on applying handicaps in a match.

d. Your Responsibilities in Match Play

You have a responsibility to:

In a match, you should protect your own rights and interests under the Rules:

 For more information on responsibilities and when a penalty applies for giving the wrong number of strokes or failing to make your opponent aware of a penalty.

3.3 Stroke Play

Purpose of Rule: Stroke play has specific Rules (particularly for scorecards and holing out) because:

After the round, you and your marker must certify that your score for each hole is right and you must return the scorecard to the Committee.

a. Winner in Stroke Play

The player who completes all roundsRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. in the fewest total strokes is the winner.

b. Scoring in Stroke Play

Marker’s Responsibility. After each hole during the roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee., your markerMarker: In stroke play, the person responsible for entering your score on your scorecard and for certifying that scorecard. The marker may be another player, but not your partner. should confirm the number of strokes you took on that hole and enter that gross score on your scorecardScorecard: The document where your score for each hole is entered in stroke play..

When the roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. has ended, your markerMarker: In stroke play, the person responsible for entering your score on your scorecard and for certifying that scorecard. The marker may be another player, but not your partner. must certify the hole scores on your scorecardScorecard: The document where your score for each hole is entered in stroke play.. If you had more than one markerMarker: In stroke play, the person responsible for entering your score on your scorecard and for certifying that scorecard. The marker may be another player, but not your partner., each markerMarker: In stroke play, the person responsible for entering your score on your scorecard and for certifying that scorecard. The marker may be another player, but not your partner. must certify the scores for those holes where he or she was your markerMarker: In stroke play, the person responsible for entering your score on your scorecard and for certifying that scorecard. The marker may be another player, but not your partner..

Your Responsibility. When the roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. has ended, you:

If you breach any of these requirements, you are disqualified.

Wrong Score for a Hole. If you return a scorecardScorecard: The document where your score for each hole is entered in stroke play. with a wrong score for any hole:

Scoring in Handicap Competition. You are responsible for making sure that your handicap is shown on your scorecardScorecard: The document where your score for each hole is entered in stroke play.. If you return a scorecardScorecard: The document where your score for each hole is entered in stroke play. without the right handicap:

 For information on the Exception for failure to include an unknown penalty on your scorecard.

c. Failure to Hole Out

You must hole outHoled: When your ball is at rest in the hole after your stroke and the entire ball is below the surface of the putting green. When the Rules refer to “holing out” or “hole out,” it means when your ball is holed. at each hole in a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.. If you fail to do so, you must correct that mistake before making a strokeStroke: The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball. to begin another hole or, for the final hole of the roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee., before returning your scorecardScorecard: The document where your score for each hole is entered in stroke play..

If you do not correct the mistake in that time, you are disqualified.