Tourney Tips: Proper Scorekeeping

Continuing this week’s theme of tips and advice aimed at newcomers to organized competitive play, a quick breakdown of a small part of the rule book oft-overlooked when folks are advising new players. Scorekeeping is such a simple task that most assume everyone knows how to do it, but in my experience as a tournament director as well as a course manager, I’ve seen enough variations in scorekeeping style/technique to realize that a primer on the tournament-acceptable techniques is in order. So here it is, PDGA Rule 805.02 in Q&A form.

Who starts the round with the scorecard?

Playing groups are determined by the tournament director.  The first player listed or called for each group is typically the one responsible for picking up and bringing the scorecard on to the course at the start of the round.

Who keeps score when there’s only one scorecard for the group?

Everyone in the group is expected to keep score for part of the round, whether there is one scorecard for the group or individual scorecards for each player. The scorecard(s) should be rotated amongst the group so that each player has approximately equal time with it/them. (e.g. three players +18 hole round = each player scores six holes…five players + 18 hole round = each player scores 3 or 4 holes)

How and when should scores be recorded?

After each hole is completed and the group has reached the next tee area, the scorekeeper should call out each player’s name in turn, with each player responding with their score on the hole. Each score must be recorded as a numeral representing the total number of throws plus penalties on the hole. Symbols, codes, blanks, or shorthand relative to par are not acceptable score notations. If a player took a 3 on a par 4 hole, the score should only be written on the card as “3”, and not “-1” or anything else.  Scores not recorded properly can be penalized by the tournament director (2 penalty throws added to the total score).

Who adds up the scorecard at the end of the round?

Each player is responsible for adding up and writing down their total score on the scorecard at the end of the round. The total score must be written as a numeral representing the total number of throws plus penalties.  The total must be added and written correctly or the player is subject to a two throw penalty added to the correct score.

When should the scorecard(s) be turned in after the round?

The scorecard(s) should be turned in immediately after the end of the round. All players in the group should take care to check and double check that the scores have been noted and added correctly, and then the scorecard(s) should be brought to the tournament director or designated alternate. Scorecards that have not been turned in within 30 minutes of the end of the round are subject to a two throw penalty.

Am I still penalized if I am not the one who mis-added my scorecard?

Yes. You and you alone are responsible for your score. It is the responsibility of each player to ensure that their scores are recorded correctly, added correctly, and turned in after the round in a timely manner. Handing off the scorecard to be added and/or turned in after the round does not excuse a player from being penalized in the case of an error.  It is always a good practice, whether you have it in hand or not, to stay with your scorecard from the moment the round has ended until the scorecard is handed in to the TD or appropriate staff member.

This all might seem like much ado about nothing, but it won’t seem so trivial after the first time you are hit with a two-throw penalty for a mis-added or late scorecard.  It hurts because it’s such a simple penalty to avoid.  Though once you get penalized once, your vigilance goes up tenfold in an effort to never be penalized for it again.

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