Strokeplay

Strokeplay is one of the most common formats in golf, with the concept being to go around the course in as few strokes as possible.

In Strokeplay players must record their score on every single hole, it doesn’t matter how many shots they’ve had, they must still produce a score.

At the end of the game, the scores are added up to give an overall total. The winner is the one with the lowest amount of strokes.

Stableford

Stableford is an alternative to simple Strokeplay, the Stableford system has become the go-to scoring system for amateurs across the globe, as it allows players who have a bad hole to stay in the game.

One of the main reasons the Stableford is so popular is it should speed up proceedings. Golfers who are not playing well on a particular hole can simply pick their ball up (without scoring any points) and try again on the next. That means that you don’t have to finish each hole to put in a Stableford score at the end of your round.

The system works by awarding points based on your strokes on each hole. Points are awarded as such:

6 points – Four strokes under
5 points – Three strokes under
4 points – Two strokes under
3 points – One stroke under
2 points – Level par
1 point – One stroke over
0 points – Two strokes or more over

At the end of the round, your total points for each hole are added together and the player with the highest total Stableford score is the winner.

Par

Par is similar to the Stableford scoring above but against the course. In Par, there are only three possible outcomes for a hole.

A hole is either won, lost or halved, depending on your stroke score.

At the end the player with the most “Wins”/”Pluses” will be the winner. 

Strokes per hole Result
Below par Win (also called a “plus”, scored as a +1)
Level par Half (also called a “tie”, scored as a 0)
Above par Lose (also called a “minus”, scored as a -1)

Match Play

The format pits one player against another. That differs from Strokeplay, which sees players attempting to master the course with the lowest score they can achieve.

In match play, competitors attempt to beat each other to the best score on each hole, with the player with the lowest score winning the hole to go 1-up (+1). Therefore, each hole produces a winner (+1) & a loser (0)

The game aims to win as many holes as you can in that manner until there are no longer enough holes for the opponent to come back.

Foursomes

Foursomes is a golf format whereby a pair of golfers form a team and play a single ball between them. They take alternate shots with this ball, so the format is also known as Alternate Shot.

Teammates decide which of them will tee off on the even-numbered holes and which on the odd-numbered ones. The players then play alternate shots throughout the play of that hole.

At the end, the scores are added up to give an overall total. The team with the least number of strokes wins the game.

Texas Scramble

Texas Scramble, or simply a ‘Scramble’ is one of the most popular golf formats that can be played in teams of twos.

In its purest, simplest form, all members of the team get the chance to hit every shot.

After all have teed off, the team decides which drive is the best. From there, all members of the team place their golf balls where the chosen drive ended up, with all members playing a second shot from this spot.

From these second shots, one is chosen and all play a third shot from there – and so on until the ball is holed.

Each team returns one score for each hole and the team with the lowest score for the round wins.

One of the main attractions of the format is that golfers with less ability can join in with little fear of embarrassment or of being a burden to other players. If a golfer’s drive whimpers off deep into a nearby undergrowth, then there is no issue – just choose one of the other team members’ drives.

Fourball

Four-ball is a team format in golf where a team of two golfers each play their own golf ball. The teammate with the lower score on each hole provides that team’s score for that hole.  For this reason, the format is also often called Four-ball Better Ball (4BBB) as the better score of the pair is counted each time.

It is different to foursomes golf – one of the other non-singles formats – as that’s when players take alternate shots with the same ball.

Each team member should record their score for each hole.

At the end of each round, the lowest scores from both teammates will be added up. The team with the lowest score wins the round.

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