About Match-play—Part 1


I have previously written articles on the differences between the Rules of Golf for stroke-play and match-play. Today, let me focus on points in the match-play rules that may be new to some readers:

  • Once a stroke has been conceded it may not be declined or withdrawn. There is no penalty if a player continues to hole out after the concession, unless their stroke could be of assistance to their partner in a four-ball match, Decision 2-4/6.

However, I would discourage anyone from doing so, as it may unnecessarily delay play. Obviously, if the player misses the putt it is of no consequence, because it had already been conceded.

  • A player loses the hole if they give their opponent wrong information. Under rule 9-2b a player is deemed to have given wrong information if;

(i) He fails to inform his opponent as soon as practicable that he has incurred a penalty, unless (a) he was obviously proceeding under a rule involving a penalty and this was observed by his opponent, or (b) he corrects the mistake before his opponent makes his next stroke; or


(ii) He gives incorrect information during play of a hole regarding the number of strokes taken and does not correct the mistake before his opponent makes his next stroke; or

(iii) He gives incorrect information regarding the number of strokes taken to complete a hole and this affects the opponent’s understanding of the result of the hole, unless he corrects the mistake before any player makes a stroke from the next teeing ground or, in the case of the last hole of the match, before all players leave the putting green.

  • If you make a stroke and your ball hits your opponent, or their equipment, you may choose to play the stroke again, rule 19-3.

This may seem unfair if you shank your ball sideways and it hits your opponent in their groin, or hits their trolley situated several distance away, but that is the rule! Once you have made your apologies, you can either play the ball as it lies, or drop the ball where the previous stroke was made from, without penalty.



The author is a R&A Certified Tournament Administrator and Referee and he is a Teaching Professional. He is also a member of the Professional Golfers Association of South Africa. Feedback: or call +265 888 346 510.

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