Golf Games: Stableford Scoring

July 28, 2010

For a different way to score your game, try the Stableford System.

In Stableford scoring, points are awarded based on the player’s score in relation to a “fixed score.” The fixed score is par, plus any handicap points that are being given. Scoring is as follows:

2 or more over: 0 points
1 over: 1 point
Even: 2 points
1 under: 3 points
2 under: 4 points
3 under: 5 points
4 under: 6 points

At the end of the day, the player with the HIGHEST point total is the winner.

This system isn’t very much in the United States. On the PGA Tour, a modified version once was used in a tournament called “The International<" held in Castle Pines Colorado. That tournament, however, died in 2007.

The advantage of the Stableford system is that it speeds up play and makes for a much tighter game. Here's an example. Player A gets a 4 on a par 4, but his opponent, B, gets an 8. In regular scoring, B is now 4 shots behind A. On the next par 4 hole, A gets another Par, and B gets a bird. A now has 8 and B 11. He's still three shots out.

In Stableford scoring, however, that's not the case. Play A gets a par and 2 points. B gets a quadruple and gets no points. So at this point, he's only two points out. On the next par 4, A's par scores another 2. But B's bird scores 3. So A has 2+2 = 4 and B has 0+3 = 3. Here's it's still anyone's match.

Scoring this way speeds up play because once a double bogey reached, you can pick up the ball.

The Stableford System was invented by Dr. Frank Barney Gorton Stableford (1870–1959), to deter golfers from giving up on their round after just one or two bad holes. It was first used informally at the Glamorganshire Golf Club, Penarth, Wales, in 1898, and first used in competition at Wallasey Golf Club in Wallasey, England, in 1932.

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Comments

  • We will often play a modified Stableford which gives birdies and eagles more weight.

    > +1 = 0
    +1 = 1
    +0 = 2
    -1 = 4
    -2 = 8

    We play a weird 36 - handicap = Stableford quota and then you start taking your points from your quota and the biggest number over quota is the winner, but essentially, you can just add your handicap to the stableford points and get the same result.  (Math is not everyone’s strong suit at my club). 

    Using the modified stableford total + handicap, a 44 is a very good score, 48 is almost guaranteed winner.  Or the quota system, 8 points over quota is very good, 12 points is almost guaranteed.

    It does seem that the modified system would benefit the birdie/eagle getters, but it is viewed pretty fairly by most of our players.  Mid handicappers I think tend to come out with a higher frequency of winners, but that is also the largest percentage of our players, so perhaps it is just really fair.

    Posted by martin on 07/28

  • We use this on our annual golf trip to keep it competitive for everyone.  It allows players to have a “blow up” hole and not be penalized for the whole tournament. 

    It’s very popular with our group and makes things much more fun.  Thanks for the info!  www.wamgolf.com

    Posted by WAM Golf on 07/28

  • “Mid handicappers I think tend to come out with a higher frequency of winners, but that is also the largest percentage of our players, so perhaps it is just really fair. ” - I love this line.  I completely agree with it.

    Posted by mountainland applied technolog on 07/29

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