Golfers need to revisit the rule book

2010-01-20 00:00

MANY golfers who have been playing the game for years still don’t know some of the basic rules.

They may argue that it doesn’t really matter because they can always ask for a ruling after the game. In certain instances, the rules even allow for a golfer to play two balls so that he or she can ask the tournament committee for the correct rule.

Eighteen months ago, this column mentioned the ­famous incident involving Roberto de Vicenzo at the U.S. Masters, Augusta, when he signed for the wrong score at the 17th hole. He signed for a par four instead of the birdie that he actually made. Under the rules of golf, the higher score stands as soon as the player has signed his scorecard, but if he had made a four and signed for a three, he would have been disqualified.

In both the amateur and professional ranks, the rules state that a player is responsible for the correctness of his scores recorded at each hole on his ­scorecard. A scorecard without the player’s and the marker’s signature is punished by disqualification.

Generally, golfers know this, but what is often not known is that the addition of the scores on the card is not the responsibility of the player or marker, but that of the committee. Many golfers are under the misconception that if they sign the card for a lower gross total score for either the front or back nine, or for the total 18 holes, they will be disqualified. But it is the score at each hole that is ­important, not the total score.

Weekend club ­golfers usually fill in the card with totals, handicaps, net scores and points, and although this is not mandatory, it obviously assists the committee.

It would be worthwhile to read the rule book, and refer to rules 6-6, 33-3 and 33-5.

Local lad Neil Schietekat performed well in the Joburg Open, played at the Royal Johannesburg course last week. He was the overnight leader after his brilliant first-round nine- under 62. He would have been disappointed, though, with the remaining three rounds, with his final score at nine under par.

Charl Schwartzel won the European Tour-sanctioned event in style, with a six-shot margin. His second consecutive win in as many weeks scored him a world ranking of 35, and he seems to have the ability to be up there with the likes of Ernie Els and Retief Goosen.

LAST WEEKEND’S RESULTS:

Victoria Country Club held a four-ball alliance on ­Saturday. The winners on 82 points were R. van Niekerk, D. Mullis, Z. Pelzer and M. Cajee. In second place on 81 points were K. Allbon, I. Allbon, P. Muller and K. Ferguson.

Maritzburg Golf Club held a four-ball betterball ­medal on Saturday. The winners were M. Wulfsohn and B. Gray with net 63 and in second place were D. Bottomley and B. Steyn on net 64.

FROM THE 19TH HOLE:

The president of a golf and country club was having dinner at the club one evening. A new waitress was about to place his meal on the table in front of him. She had her thumb on a piece of fish. The president said: “You’ve got your thumb on my piece of fish.” The waitress replied, “I’m sorry sir, but I didn’t want it to fall on the floor again.”

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