How to Score the Unfinished Hole
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How to Score the Unfinished Hole

We’ve all done it… struggled to finish a hole and simply picked up the ball.  I’m not talking ignoring penalty strokes, I’m talking three attempts in the sand, a line drive over the green, and at this point you are holding up the group behind you.  Now what?  You have to pick your ball up and move on… but you have to mark a score down, right?


How to Score the Unfinished Hole

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. A golfer doesn’t finish a hole or simply concedes a stroke.
  2. What is the most likely outcome of the hole if the golfer were to finish out?  Think of “most likely” as in how many strokes the golfer has already taken plus your best judgement as to how many more strokes would occur to finish the hole… and a 30 foot putt isn’t a guaranteed one putt.  No cheating and be realistic.  If it would take a chip and two putts then add that to where you picked up.
  3. Grab your pencil and fill in the square for that hole an X plus the most likely score.  An example would be an X-8.  Don’t simply use the Equitable Stroke Control (ESC)™ maximum.
  4. Once you’ve finished your round check to see what the ESC limit was for that X hole.  If it is not above the maximum then the X score is the score that must be posted for your handicap posting.

There you have it!  No more confusion and a way to complete your scorecard even for an incomplete hole… even if you are on your fourth attempt in the sand.


How to Score the Unfinished Hole


For more information, check out Section 4-1 of the USGA Handicap System manual.



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