A colleague asked me whether a player who cannot score any points on a hole in a Stableford competition may continue play of the hole, or
whether this constitutes practice and incurs a penalty.
I found this to be an intelligent question which sent me to do a quick research and below is what I found out.
The phrase ‘constitutes practice’ from Rule 7-2 clarifies; Strokes made in continuing the play of a hole, the result of which has been decided, are not practice strokes.
Decision 7-2/1.7 further clarifies;
This phrase covers situations in which a player plays the remainder of the hole with one ball in play.
Its interpretation is not restricted to continuing the play of the hole in accordance with the rules and includes, for example, situations where a player plays a ball from a spot close to where his original ball went out of bounds or in the area where it was lost.
The same principle applies in match-play where a player putts out after their putt has been conceded.
Decision 2-4/6; Rule 2-4 does not cover the question of whether a player may putt out after his next stroke has been conceded.
A player incurs no penalty for holing out in such circumstances. However, if the act would be of assistance to a partner in a four-ball or best-ball match, the partner is, in equity (Rule 1-4), disqualified for the hole.
The last sentence in this decision also applies in stroke-play. A four-ball player must not continue play, if by doing so it would be of assistance to their partner.
The penalty for doing so is two strokes for each partner.
Decisions 30-3f/6 and 30-3f/7 are relevant.
The author is a R&A Certified Tournament Administrator and Referee. He is also a Teaching Professional and a member of the Professional Golf Association of South Africa. For feedback, Email: