This coming Tuesday the format for our play day will be Points, Putts, and Low Net (PPLN), and some of our new members may not have played this format before. PPLN is individual stroke play where you record your score for each hole, and your putts for each hole too. If you don’t complete every hole you will be disqualified
Under the Rules of Golf for stroke play you must always finish every hole you play, (Rule 3-2). However, on occasion in different formats or situations, the score you write on your card may be “adjusted”.
In the USGA Handicap Manual there is a section which covers “Adjusting Scores”.
There they list the following two ways you are allowed not to finish a hole, still put a score on your score card, and not be disqualified.
The first is: Incomplete Holes.
When you are playing with a partner as a team, and you are using the better score for the competition, you may decide to pick up your ball and not finish the hole as you are playing so badly, especially if your partner is playing well. This is allowed but you must record the score you would most likely have made.
This most likely score is the number of strokes (including penalty strokes) taken thus far, plus the number of strokes it would take you to complete the hole from that point.
On the scorecard you put an X in front of your score, i.e. X8. The most likely score cannot exceed the player’s Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) which is determined by their index.
The second is Holes Not Played.
This is rarely done, but sometimes a hole maybe under construction, or in casual play the players ahead are very slow so you want to skip a hole, or for some reason you cannot complete your round due to bad weather etc.
Your score for that hole is calculated using Par, plus any handicap strokes, aka “Pops”, to which you are entitled on that hole. If you get two “Pops” on a par 5, then your score would be 7. That is the score you put on your scorecard.
The bottom line is:
If you start a hole, and then pick up, you have to honestly calculate what your score would have been and put it down with an X. If you post scores that are below your ability level you will falsely lower your index. Not smart.
If you do not play a hole then you calculate your score for that hole using Par plus “Pops”.
Two ways, no mixing them up is allowed!
Hope this helps you.