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Explained: What is a Marker in a Golf Tournament?

Explained: What is a Marker in a Golf Tournament?

Did you know that golf is the only game in the world where fellow competitors keep each other’s scores?

If you’ve been around the game of golf for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of a marker (and no we aren’t talking about a ball marker that you would use on the greens).

However, you may not know what a marker’s role is in a golf tournament. Here’s everything you need to know regarding a marker in golf.


What is a Marker in Golf Tournaments?

Every player must have a marker when playing in tournaments. This is one of the rules of golf. A marker is someone on the course that is tasked with keeping up with a golfer’s score on each hole.

This is a serious job that can lead to disqualification. So, if you’re playing in an official stroke play golf tournament, a fellow competitor will usually mark down your scores for you.

In exchange, you will also be in charge of marking down your competitor’s scores. This is how it works in matchplay.


Responsibilities of a marker

Being another golfer’s marker is a huge responsibility, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. Remember that your playing partner is also keeping your score for you as well so it’s an even trade. These are the main tasks you must complete to be a marker.

  • Watch: This may seem like a no-brainer, but to keep proper track of another golfer’s score you must watch them hit every shot.
  • Count:Add up the strokes on each hole and any penalty strokes they may have suffered (e.g. hitting the ball into a water hazards or out of bounds).
  • Confirm:Ask the golfer to tell you their score after each hole. This isn’t a rule but it’s a good practice to avoid any type of confusion or disagreement later on. It’s not a good idea to have any sort of dispute about the score after the round is finished.
  • Add: Count up all of the strokes at the end of the round and sign the golfer’s scorecard.
  • Swap: After you’ve signed the other golfer’s scorecard, hand it to them. They will then give you your scorecard. Each scorecard will be double-checked by both of you.


Do pros use the same marker for every tournament?

Professional golfers on the PGA Tour usually don’t use the same person as a marker for every tournament. This is because the four playing groups are chosen randomly and are different at each tournament.

In PGA tournaments, there is a cut after the second round. This means that the playing field is cut in half and foursomes are reduced to two. A golfer will likely have to choose a different marker for the third round. Pros will not use the same marker at every tournament. They will typically have two markers during a four-day event.


What is a non-competing marker?

As its name implies, a non-competing marker is someone who is in charge of keeping a player’s score but they are not playing in the tournament. Though the concept sounds a bit odd, it’s actually quite common at The Masters down in Augusta, Georgia.

A non-competing marker will be assigned to any golfer who plays solo at The Masters’ third or fourth rounds. This is done to not only keep up with the pro golfer’s score but to keep the usual rhythm of a twosome.

One of the most well-known non-competing markers is Jeff KnoxHe has had the honor of playing alongside Rory McIlroy and Jason Day at The Masters. Though Knox’s score never counts because he is never officially in The Masters tournament, he has beaten both McIlroy and Mize.

Knox has never played on the PGA Tour but he’s considered a guru of Augusta National because he’s been a member for such a lengthy period.