Rule 3 - Stroke Play
Rules of Golf: Rule 3 - Stroke Play
All defined terms are in italics and are listed alphabetically in the Definitions section.
3-1. General; Winner
A stroke-play competition consists of competitors completing each hole of a stipulated round or rounds and, for each round, returning a score card on which there is a gross score for each hole. Each competitor is playing against every other competitor in the competition.
The competitor who plays the stipulated round or rounds in the fewest strokes is the winner.
In a handicap competition, the competitor with the lowest net score for the stipulated round or rounds is the winner.
3-2. Failure to Hole Out
If a competitor fails to hole out at any hole and does not correct his mistake before he makes a stroke on the next teeing ground or, in the case of the last hole of the round, before he leaves the putting green, he is disqualified.
3-3. Doubt as to Procedure
a. Procedure for Competitor
In stroke play only, if a competitor is doubtful of his rights or the correct procedure during the play of a hole, he may, without penalty, complete the hole with two balls. To proceed under this Rule, he must decide to play two balls after the doubtful situation has arisen and before taking further action (e.g., making a stroke at the original ball).
The competitor should announce to his marker or a fellow-competitor:
that he intends to play two balls; and
which ball he wishes to count if the Rules permit the procedure used for that ball.
Before returning his score card, the competitor must report the facts of the situation to the Committee. If he fails to do so, he is disqualified.
If the competitor has taken further action before deciding to play two balls, he has not proceeded under Rule 3-3 and the score with the original ball counts. The competitor incurs no penalty for playing the second ball.
b. Committee Determination of Score for Hole
When the competitor has proceeded under this Rule, the Committee will determine his score as follows:
If, before taking further action, the competitor has announced which ball he wishes to count and provided the Rules permit the procedure used for the selected ball, the score with that ball counts. If the Rules do not permit the procedure used for the selected ball, the score with the other ball counts provided the Rules permit the procedure used for that ball.
If, before taking action, the competitor has failed to announce which ball he wishes to count, the score with the original ball counts provided the Rules permit the procedure used for that ball. Otherwise, the score with the other ball counts provided the Rules permit the procedure used for that ball.
If the Rules do not permit the procedures used for both balls, the score with the original ball counts unless the competitor has committed a serious breach with that ball by playing from a wrong place. If the competitor commits a serious breach in the play of one ball, the score with the other ball counts despite the fact that the Rules do not permit the procedure used for that ball. If the competitor commits a serious breach with both balls, he is disqualified.
Note 1: "Rules permit the procedure used for a ball" means that, after Rule 3-3 is invoked, either: (a) the original ball is played from where it had come to rest and play is permitted from that location, or (b) the Rules permit the procedure adopted for the ball and the ball is put into play in the proper manner and in the correct place as provided in the Rules.
Note 2: If the score with the original ball is to count, but the original ball is not one of the balls being played, the first ball put into play is deemed to be the original ball.
Note 3: After this Rule has been invoked, strokes made with the ball ruled not to count, and penalty strokes incurred solely by playing that ball, are disregarded. A second ball played under Rule 3-3 is not a provisional ball under Rule 27-2.
(Ball played from a wrong place - see Rule 20-7c)
3-4. Refusal to Comply with a Rule
If a competitor refuses to comply with a Rule affecting the rights of another competitor, he is disqualified.
3-5. General Penalty
The penalty for a breach of a Rule in stroke play is two strokes except when otherwise provided.