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LMGA Posting of Scores


Did you know that you should post a score, even in match play and even if you pick up on a few holes or don’t play all 18?

In fact, almost all matches, other than formats like Alternating Shot and Scrambles where you’re not playing your own ball, allow a player to compute a score for handicap purposes.  USGA rules (as well as the Landings Club and LMGA) require players to post all post-able scores.

There are two scenarios that can and will happen:

·         A match is over in less than 18 holes and the remaining holes are not played; and/or,

·         A player is out of a hole or a hole is conceded.  The player(s) pick up to expedite play.


For matches of less than 18 holes:

If 13 or more holes are played, the player must post an 18-hole score (if 7 to 12 holes are played, the player must post a 9-hole score). Scores for un-played holes must be recorded as par plus any handicap strokes that the player is entitled to receive on the un-played holes.

Basically, complete your score card by adding the strokes you would have received on each hole to par and record that score. 

Example: A player with a Course Handicap of 30 stops playing after 16 holes because of darkness.  Hole 17 is a par 3 and is the number 18 handicap-stroke hole.  The player will record 3 (par) plus 1 handicap stroke for a 4 on hole 17.  

Hole 18 is a par 4 and is the number 12 handicap-stroke hole. The player will record 4 (par) plus 2 handicap strokes for a 6 on hole 18.


Scoring for Holes where a Player picks up (Unfinished Holes):

A player who starts, but does not complete a hole or is conceded a stroke must record for handicap purposes the most likely score.

The most likely score consists of the number of strokes already taken plus, in the player's best judgment, the number of strokes the player would take to complete the hole from that position more than half the time.

This number may not exceed the player's Equitable Stroke Control limit which is net double bogey.  Net double bogey is par for the hole, plus any handicap strokes the player has on that hole plus 2strokes.  For instance,if Rick is on a par 4 and gets 1 handicap stroke, the maximum score on the hole is 4+1+2 or 7.   On a par 3 with no strokes, the maximum score is 5.

There is no limit to the number of unfinished holes a player may have in a round, provided that failure to finish a hole is not for the purpose of handicap manipulation.


There are three examples below but a good rule of thumb is to take 1 stroke for putts within 5 feet and 2 strokes for longer putts.  (No – we don’t all make every five footer but the rule is based on making 50.1% of them.)

Example 1: Dan and Joe are partners in a four-ball match play competition. On a hole on which neither player receives a handicap stroke, Dan lays 2, 18 feet from the hole. Joe lays 2, 25 feet from the hole. Joe holes a putt for a 3.

Dan picks up on the hole, because he cannot better his partner’s score. Dan records 4 on the scorecard because 4 is his most likely score (lies 2 plus 2 putts).

Example 2: Bob and Jack are playing a match. On a hole on which neither player receives a handicap stroke, Bob has holed out in 4; Jack has a 3-foot putt for a 5.  

Jack has lost the hole, and picks up. Jack records 5 on the scorecard because 5 is his most likely score (lies 4 plus 1 putt).

Example 3: Don and Lee are playing a match. On a hole on where Don receives a handicap stroke, Don is one foot from the hole, lying 4 (net 3 with his handicap stroke). Lee is 10 feet from the hole, lying 3. Lee misses his put and is now lying 4 about 4 feet from the hole. Lee concedes Don’s putt.

Lee records a 5 (lies 4 plus 1 putt) and Don records a 5/net 4. 

Once you think about it, it’s actually fairly simple and makes sense.  Following these rules and guidelines will allow all players to post scores for these types of matches and stay within both the rules and the spirit of the game.


Reference: USGA Handicap Manual Sections 4-1, 4-2, 4-3, 5-1a and 5-2(b)