The Marker: What (or Who) Is It, and What Are the Duties?

A marker in golf writes down the scores
The job of a 'marker' in golf? Marking down a competitor's scores. Michael Cohen/Getty Images

In golf, the "marker" is someone who is tasked with recording your scores. Think of it this way: The marker is the one marking down your scores on the scorecard.

Markers, in this sense, are probably most visible to recreational golfers when we are watching the pros play on TV. You know how tour players exchange scorecards at the beginning of the round? That's because they are serving as each other's markers.

If you play a round of golf and a marker is keeping your score, he or she will give you your scorecard at the end of the round for you to check and sign. It is the player's responsibility to make sure the scores are correct before signing the scorecard, even when a marker was the person writing down your scores.

"Marker" is a term that appears throughout the Official Rules of Golf, so ...

The Rulebook Definition of Marker

The definition of "marker" as it appears in the golf rules maintained by the USGA and R&A:

"A 'marker' is one who is appointed by the Committee to record a competitor’s score in stroke play. He may be a fellow-competitor. He is not a referee."

 

Rule 6-6 - which addresses Scoring in Stroke Play - includes this section:

a. Recording Scores
After each hole the marker should check the score with the competitor and record it. On completion of the round the marker must sign the score card and hand it to the competitor. If more than one marker records the scores, each must sign for the part for which he is responsible.

b. Signing and Returning Score Card
After completion of the round, the competitor should check his score for each hole and settle any doubtful points with the Committee. He must ensure that the marker or markers have signed the score card, sign the score card himself and return it to the Committee as soon as possible.

Several Decisions on the Rules relating to markers also appear under Rule 6, see here.

Disambiguating 'Marker'

The word marker is used in several other contexts in golf, too, so try these other pages if you were looking for info on a different type of marker:

The Duties of a Marker

You are most likely to have a marker, or to serve as one, during a tournament or competition.

What are the duties of a marker? If you are serving as a marker for another golfer, you should:

  • Observe, as best you can, each stroke the golfer plays;
  • Count those strokes, plus any penalty strokes that may be necessary to add;
  • Double-check the score with the golfer after each hole (this is not required, but is strongly recommended) and write it down;
  • Total and sign the scorecard at the end of the round;
  • Turn the scorecard over to the golfer.

As noted at the beginning, making sure the scores on the card are correct is the obligation of the golfer, who should check and sign his or her scorecard after the marker has done so. The marker, even if it's another golfer, is not subject to penalty if there are any good-faith mistakes on the scorecard.

However, if the marker knowingly writes down an incorrect score, or knowingly attests (by signing the card) to an incorrect score, the marker (if it's a fellow-competitor) will also be disqualified. And if that marker is not a golfer, it's doubtful the Committee would ever again make use of that individual.

If the marker and the player disagree about a hole score, the marker can decline to sign the scorecard. In that case, the Committee would have to speak to both the marker and golfer and make a ruling.

Return to the Golf Glossary index for more information.