Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ask Linda #1051-Match does not start on first hole

Hi Linda, 
Someone told me that you must start a match play game from the first tee because of the stroke indexes. He claimed that if a match started on the 10th hole someone could be put at either an advantage or a disadvantage. Does it make a difference, and must you start on the first tee only in match play?
Thank you in advance.
Lou from South Africa

Dear Lou,

Ideally, a match should begin on the first or tenth hole. However, if there are several matches scheduled, and the Committee decides to shotgun the matches (start them all at the same time), matches may begin on different holes. This is often done with team play.

There should be little or no advantage to either player in a match beginning on the first or tenth hole. The handicap holes are divided evenly, with the odds on one nine and the evens on the other. One nine may be more difficult than the other, but everything should even out over the course of the match.

Regardless of a real or perceived advantage or disadvantage, players must begin play on the hole to which they are assigned by the Committee.

Don’t forget that if you need to play extra holes to settle the match, the first extra hole will be the next consecutive hole. In other words, if you begin play on the 10th hole and the match is all square on the 9th hole (after 18 holes of play), your first extra hole will be the 10th hole.

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