Marker In Golf (What Do They Do?)

What does playing as a marker mean in golf?

In this article, we are describing a marker as someone who records and writes down scores

The definition of a marker according to the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the Royal and Ancient (R&A) is:

“In stroke play, the person responsible for entering a player’s score on the player’s scorecard and for certifying that scorecard. The marker may be another player, but not a partner.”

Who can mark golf scorecards? 

The tournament committee will select a marker for a player or tell a golfer how to pick a marker.

📢 Need To Know: When the USGA states “not a partner”, the organization doesn’t mean a playing partner in the group, it is referring to an actual team partner. For example, in a two versus two stroke-play match, you can’t record your team member’s scores.

What Responsibilities Does A Marker Have During Round Of Golf

Markers are usually going to take your score down when you’re participating in a tournament or some sort of competition with prizes involved. Markers are also used in junior and collegiate events. 

If you’re going to play a round with your friends for fun, even if you decide to make wagers, you usually won’t find the group designating markers or recording each other’s scores. Most friends will trust you. 

If you do take the role of a marker while in a tournament your responsibilities include the following:

  • Check with the person whose score you are recording what they shot on the hole after every hole. This isn’t a mandatory rule with the USGA or R&A but it is extremely important to do so the other player doesn’t get disqualified and different scores don’t occur. It’s always good to double-check and make sure.
  • Watch the other player throughout their round and count their strokes. Obviously, you’re trying to focus on your game and shoot low but it’s not hard to watch them hit.
  • Record any penalty strokes if they splashed their ball into the water or landed it out of bounds. On these holes, it’s definitely good to double-check because some people don’t add up penalty strokes correctly. 
  • Carry some extra pencils in your golf bag in case you lose yours. (Not required but recommended)
  • Sign their scorecard at the end of the round. Tally up their strokes and then compare the two cards. If they were your marker then do the same thing with your own strokes.
  • Lastly, give your scorecard to the golfer you were marking so they can turn it in.

📢 Need To Know: Should a competitor and their marker have a disagreement over a certain score, the marker can refuse to sign the card. This would lead to a tournament director or committee having to discuss what happened on the hole with each player and determine a ruling. 

Are Markers’ Duties Different For Stroke Play vs Matchplay

Markers’ responsibilities remain the same for both stroke play and matchplay in terms of writing down each other’s scores but can be trickier since holes can be conceded and matches can end with remaining holes. 

If a player doesn’t hole out on every hole, the player is still required to write down their most likely score for handicap purposes according to Rule 3.3 of the USGA.

If two players competed against each other and the match ended but they decided to continue playing for fun, the true scores for every remaining hole still have to be recorded.

The USGA states the following rule if the players do not play the remaining holes:

“If a match ends with holes left to play and the players do not play the remaining holes, net par should be recorded as the hole scores for the remaining holes (keeping in mind at least 7 or 14 holes must be played for a 9- or 18-hole score to posted).”

Can a marker be disqualified from a golf tournament?

If a marker were to purposely write down the wrong score they would be disqualified from the event, not the player.

Depending on how strict the tournament is, for example on the PGA Tour, if you turned in a scorecard without the marker’s signature you would be disqualified from the tournament. 

There are different scenarios in which if you have a wrong number on your scorecard you won’t always be disqualified. The USGA explains in its rules:

“If you return a scorecard with a wrong score for any hole: If your returned score for a hole is higher than your actual score, your higher returned score for the hole stands. If your returned score for a hole is lower than your actual score or no score is returned for a hole, you are disqualified.”

Marker Disambiguation In Golf

There are other meanings for the word “marker” in golf. They can include:

  • A ball marker, which is used to mark the golf ball on the green. You can place your marker behind your golf ball and pick it up and clean it or place it back after an opponent has put if the ball was in their line.
  • A yardage marker, which is usually a plastic pole on the fairway used to measure the distance to the green.


What is a markers score on a golf scorecard?

A marker’s score on a golf scorecard is the score recorded by a person who accompanies a player during a round of golf but is not actually playing in the game. The marker’s role is to keep track of the player’s score and ensure that it is accurately recorded on the scorecard.

Why do golfers use markers?

Golfers use markers to mark the position of their golf ball on the putting green before lifting it. This is important when other players are still putting or if the ball is in the way of someone else’s shot. The marker is typically a small coin or an object that is placed behind the ball and then removed once the ball is returned to its original position.

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Lawrence Smelser has been part of the Golfible writing staff since 2019 and is a freelance golf journalist. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour including the U.S. Masters with He holds a journalism Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas. Learn more about our team at Golfible on our About Us page.

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