When playing a Stableford competition a group played the wrong hole. They finished the hole and realized their error. What is the penalty? Disqualification? Is it the same for a regular stroke play tournament?
Stableford tournaments are a rarity in the United States. I have never run or played in one, so my knowledge of Stableford rules is sketchy at best. I consulted a rules official at the USGA, and we came up with what we think is the correct answer, which I will share with you. However, I would suggest that you contact an official with the R&A for a definitive ruling.
In a regular stroke play tournament, if a player plays from the wrong teeing ground (the wrong hole), she incurs a two-stroke penalty and must return to the correct hole. However, if she continues play at the wrong hole and does not correct her mistake before she tees off on the following hole, she is disqualified [Rule 11-5 and 11-4b].
While Stableford tournaments are stroke play competitions, the rules vary somewhat from a normal stroke-play event. Rule 32-2 lists all the instances under which a player in a Stableford would be disqualified. Rule 11-5, Playing From the Wrong Teeing Ground, is not on that list, so playing the wrong hole would not result in a disqualification from a Stableford tournament. Rule 32-2b tells us that in all other cases where a violation would result in a disqualification, the competitor is disqualified only for the hole where she broke the rule.
Under the Stableford scoring system, players are awarded points for certain scores, and the player with the most points wins. A competitor playing the wrong hole would receive no points for that hole, and no points for the holes she skipped. So if she completed the third hole and jumped to the sixth, she would receive no points for hole four, five, and six, and would continue play at the seventh hole.
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