The Penalty For 15 Clubs In A Stableford Fourball Match

A friend of mine emailed me with the question below regarding a golfer having 15 clubs in a stableford fourball match:


“If you have time I have a question on the rules…

I was playing a fourball stableford competition yesterday, on the first green my playing partner discovered he had 15 clubs in his bag. I know in stroke play it would be a 2 stroke penalty, how is it applied in a stableford fourball?

The committee allowed my own score to stand on the first and did not deduct 2 points.”


“As your playing partner discovered that he was carrying 15 clubs during play of the first hole in stroke play he incurred a penalty of two strokes (Rule 4-4). If it was during play of the second, or any other hole, a maximum penalty of four strokes would have been incurred. Rule 31-6 confirms that in a four-ball stroke play competition the side is penalised for a breach of Rule 4.

For the way this is applied in a Stableford competition Note 1 to Rule 32-1b states,

Note 1: If a competitor is in breach of a Rule for which there is a maximum penalty per round, he must report the facts to the Committee before returning his score card; if he fails to do so, he is disqualified. The Committee will, from the total points scored for the round, deduct two points for each hole at which any breach occurred, with a maximum deduction per round of four points for each Rule breached.

Of course, once a player discovers that he started with 15 clubs he also has to declare which one he is taking out of play and if he subsequently uses this club during the round he is disqualified. If either player in a four-ball is disqualified under Rule 4 the penalty applies to his partner as well (Rule 31-7).”

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Disclaimer: Whilst every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of this information on the Rules of Golf I am human and have been known to be wrong! Neither I, nor anyone connected with, shall be held responsible for any losses caused by reliance upon the accuracy or reliability of such information. Readers should refer to the full text of the rules and decisions as published in the official publications of the R&A and the USGA, The Rules of Golf 2008-2011 and Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2008-2009.

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