She reports her score but you count more. Now what?

DEAR GGG: My fellow competitor said she had a 5 on the last hole, but I count 6. I really do not want to make a scene. What should I do when I am sure someone has reported an incorrect score?

Image of golf scorecard

A: Ooh, this is a touchy situation. So touchy, in fact, that many women golfers would rather not go there. They would rather record an incorrect score for a companion than confront her.

And in match play, this is perfectly OK. If your opponent said she had a 5 and you would rather tie or lose the hole than object, you may do so. After all, this incorrect score is hurting no one but yourself. And, by recording a lower score, your opponent will keep her index from rising, which ultimately hurts no one but herself.

However, in a stroke play contest, you have an obligation to the rest of the field to make sure your companions are playing by the rules and correctly recording scores. After all, suppose someone in another foursome finishes second because someone in your foursome has recorded a lower-than-true score?

In stroke play, you are going to have to speak up. In match play, you may want to speak up — and before anyone in your match tees off on the next hole, or forever hold your peace.

First, go over the shots in your memory to be sure you are not mistaken. If it turns out you are correct or even uncertain, find your voice.

Here are your key talking points in response to an incorrect score.


You can say, “What? No way you had a 5.” This approach is not recommended if you would like to maintain a civil relationship.


You can turn to your other companions before you question the perpetrator and enlist them to gang up on her. You could all accuse her of cheating! Again, see previous talking point.


“Let’s see, I remember your first went into the fairway, your second went into the pond, then you were dropping 3 and hitting 4, right, and two-putting for 6?” Before you then say, “Or am I wrong?” your companion will most likely say, “Duh, I miscounted.”


You can say, “I had you at 6. Let’s count together.” Probably together you will find the missing stroke.

Obviously, we prefer some options over others. But GottaGoGolf urges all golfers to endeavor to report their scores correctly — and to be receptive to recounts.

Even recreationally, tis noblest to report accurately. We remember years ago playing 18 with a friend who took mulligan after mulligan, did not count her drops when balls went into hazards, and seemingly forgot putts. At the end she announced with smug glee, “Finally, I broke 100!”

We did not break 100. And we did not play with her again.

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