What Happens If You Sign An Incorrect Scorecard?

Rule 3.3b details all scenarios and outcomes if you do

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

The rules of golf can be complex. Here we'll help you understand the scenarios and outcomes should you sign an incorrect scorecard.


After each hole during the round, the marker is responsible for recording the number of strokes taken. This is known as the gross score. At the end of the round, the marker must certify the scores taken on each hole by signing the scorecard to attest this.

It is the player's responsibility to check the scores entered by the marker. If there are changes to be made, these can only be done so with the agreement of the marker or the approval of the competition committee. 

If you are unsure who the competition committee is, you should speak with the Professional/Assistant Professional. Once both parties are satisfied, both must sign the scorecard and submit it to the competition committee. 

If you breach any of these requirements, then you will be disqualified.

Disqualification If Marker Knowingly Marks The Wrong Score

Pretty self-explanatory, right? If the marker witnesses the player take more strokes than they claim and they are complicit in recording an incorrect score, then both will be disqualified. The player is disqualified for recording an incorrect score whilst the marker is disqualified for serious misconduct.

Wrong Score For a Hole

If a scorecard is returned with a wrong score for any hole, then one of two things can occur:

1.       If the returned score is higher than the actual score, the higher score for the hole stands and the player's position in the competition remains.

2.       If however, the returned score for a hole is lower than the actual score then the player is disqualified.

Scorecard Must Be Identifiable To Correct Hole

It might sound obvious but this one always divides opinion. From the eyes of the rulebook at least, it's very clear. Each hole score must be identifiable to the correct hole. Whilst the overall score for the round might be the same, each hole score must be correct otherwise the player will be disqualified. 

Matthew Wolff, Eddie Pepperell, Thomas Detry and even the Tiger slayer, Y.E. Yang, have all fallen foul of this before.

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No player will be subject to penalty if the breach is a result of a marker failing to carry out their responsibilities.

For example, there is no penalty if the marker leaves the course without certifying a player's scorecard or if they leave the course with the scorecard in their possession so long as this was beyond the player's control.

In these instances, report it to your competition committee or Club Professional. They will attempt to contact the marker and any additional playing partners to verify the score but if that's unsuccessful, they can certify the score themselves. 

Wrong Handicap On Scorecard

It is the player's responsibility to ensure their correct handicap is recorded on the scorecard. Even if you are given a pre-recorded scorecard by the competition committee prior to the round, the player must ensure the handicap is true and if not, correct this with them prior to submitting the scorecard.

If you return a scorecard without the right handicap:

1.       If the handicap is too high and this affects the number of strokes a player is given, or if no handicap is shown, the player is disqualified from the competition. (This only applies to Nett competitions and not Scratch events)

2.       If the handicap on the scorecard is too low, there is no penalty and the score stands using the lower handicap

Information In Wrong Location May Still Be Accepted

Providing all requirements that we’ve mentioned here have been met, there is no penalty if correct information is returned in an incorrect place.

For example, you mark your own score as “Player A” but your marker's score in the “marker's” section. Providing both parties inform the competition committee beforehand, this error will be deemed administrative and accepted.

James Hibbitt

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.