We’d Better Get A Referee – Video Challenge

Watch this video and let me know your decision(s).

What happened and what penalties apply in MATCHPLAY

The player on screen touches his ball when not allowed to
– 1 penalty stroke under Rule 9.4b and
– under Rule 9.4a the ball must be replaced on its original spot

The player off screen advises an incorrect number of strokes they have taken in contravention of Rule 3.2d(1). Unless this is corrected before their opponent makes another stroke or takes a similar action (such as conceding the player’s next stroke or the hole) they will incur the general penalty (i.e. loss of hole).

The on screen player plays from the wrong place (as they did not replace their ball on its original spot) so incurring the general penalty (loss of hole) under Rule 14.7a. Note that this penalty could be avoided by replacing the ball on its original spot at any time before the stroke was made.

So both Players incur a loss of hole penalty and both penalties could have been avoided until the stroke was made by the player on screen.

So what is the result of the hole?

The only result I can come up with is that both players lose the hole, and therefore the match score is unaffected. I’d be very pleased to hear any other points of view put forward. Even better if someone has a definitive answer!

6 thoughts on “We’d Better Get A Referee – Video Challenge

  1. In your 1st video challenge your answer, that both players lost the hole, is incorrect. The out-of-shot player gave his wrong score BEFORE the in-shot player incorrectly played his chip so he immediately lost the hole.


      1. I am having second thoughts… I do see Stuart’s logic now. The opponent’s failure to provide correct information did not crystallise into a loss of hole until Stuart played his next stroke (from a wrong place). So the loss of hole penalties appeared to have occurred exactly simultaneously. I cannot find anything in the books that provides guidance on such a situation.

        I “feel” that the opponent should lose the hole but that is not enough for a ruling. The only wording that might possibly give some wiggle room is that R3.2d says the opponent must correct his mistake “before” Stuart plays his stroke, whereas that loss of hole penalty incurred by Stuart for playing from a wrong place occurs when the stoke is actually made. I’m not convinced and I have added this as a discussion point rather than an assertion. Grateful for any thoughts.


      2. Following Peter and your responses I’ve moved away from the penalties being exactly simultaneous.

        I think we would all agree that as soon as a loss of hole penalty is incurred the hole is decided and any further penalties are of no relevance.

        My thought now is that while I could have checked my swing on the downswing to avoid making a stroke (and then replacing the ball in its correct position to avoid the penalty), my opponent would have had to get my attention before this point in time to correct his score. Within normal golf etiquette this would need to have been before I got into “the zone” in order to play my shot. (How would the average golfer react to an opponent shouting “no I’ve played 4” during their backswing!)

        As ever, willing to be persuaded otherwise…


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