Saturday, February 11th, 2012
A player has several responsibilities when he or she plays in either matchplay or strokeplay competition. The player has the responsibility for knowing the conditions under which the competition is being held and for declaring the handicap under which he or she will play.
In strokeplay, the player is entirely responsible for making sure that his or her correct handicap is recorded on the card before it is handed in. Furthermore, a player must not offer advice to any player, except for a fellow team member. The player has full responsibility for the correctness of his or her score on every hole. Disqualification will result if the player returns a card with a score marked lower than when was actually taken, for any hole.
If the card has a score higher than taken, the score marked down will stand— as the Argentinian Roberto de Vicenzo found to his cost in the US Masters in 1968. A player must also play without undue delay, and bad weather is not necessarily a reason for discontinuing play. However, at the first sign of ligthning, players are strongly advised to put their clubs away and seek safe shelter.
On every score-sheet distributed to spectators at the Masters at the Augusta National, there is a message from its founder, the great Bobby Jones: “In golf, customes of etiquette and decorum are just as important as rules governing play.”
Golf has always been revered for its insistence on the highest standards of behavior, despite the fact that the vast array of accepted conventions have never actually been set down in the same way as the rules. How we behave and treat other golfers— simply etiquette— is as important as how we play. It is the application of good manners and courtesy to others on the course.
The Rules of Golf do not spell out penalties for breacjes of etiquette; there is no two-shot penalty for those who digress. Etiquette us a voluntary code. It has evolved over the years into an essential element in making golf different from other sports that rely on a referee or umpire to enforce rules and behavior.