Golf Scoring Methods

Golf scoring methods can be split into two categories, individual and team play.

Individual scoring methods include:

Stroke Play:- The player with the least number of strokes required to complete the course is considered the winner. See artical Scoring Explained for more information about stroke play.

Match Play:- In match play each hole is contested individually. The player who takes the lowest number of strokes on that hole wins the hole. If the number of strokes are even, the hole is considered to be halved. The player who wins the most holes wins the game. Should there be less holes left to play than are required for a player to lose the lead, the game is considered over and the remainder of the holes are not played. Dormie is used to refer to the situation where the number of holes remaining is equal to the leading player’s lead.

Stableford:- In Stableford play, players are awarded points for each hole. The number of points received is based on the number of strokes taken to finish the hole compared to the par of that hole, which is adjusted up or down depending on the players handicap. Unlike most scoring systems in golf, the player with the most points wins the game.

The UK points system is as follows:

Number of points Strokes over / under par
0 +2
1 +1
2 0
3 -1
4 -2
5 -3
6 -4

If a player takes more than two strokes over par they do not need to complete the hole and take a score of 0.

Team scoring methods include:

Foursomes:- This is played between two teams of two players. Each team only has 1 ball and the two team members take turns hitting alternate shots using it. Player A tees off on the first hole, then player B takes the next shot. Player A then takes the third and so on. Irrespective of who putted the ball, player B will tee off on the second hole, player A the third, etc. Foursomes can be scored using either stroke play or match play.

Four Ball Better Ball:- This is also played between two teams of two players. Each player has their own ball and the team takes the score of the lowest scoring team member for each hole.

Greensomes:- This method is similar to Foursomes, except both players tee off and the best shot from the two is chosen. The player with the weaker first shot takes the second and play alternates from there.

Bloodsomes:- This is a variation of Greensomes where the opposing team chooses which tee shot play should continue from. The player whose tee shot was not chosen plays the second and play alternates from there.

Scramble:- This is a method whereby each player in the team (usually 4 players per team) tees off. The best shot is chosen and the location of the ball is marked. All team members then take their next shot from the marker. This allows the team to take the best shot from 4 everytime, resulting in much lower scores. For this reason the handicap for the team is 1/10th of the total combined handicaps of the players. Scramble is scored using stroke play.

Texas Scramble:- Texas Scramble uses the same rules as Scramble, but adds an extra requirment. The team must take at least 4 tee shots from each team member. This stops the issue of always choosing the player who has a significantly better tee shot, over the weaker players.

Some team games use a Shotgun Start whereby each team starts on a separate hole and a shotgun is fired to start the competition. This reduces the time required for the competition as all holes can be played simultaneously.

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