Here is an overview of the most common types of games. These are:
- Counting game
- Match Play
- Stroke Play
- Flag Stroke Play
- Texas Scramble (Captains Choice or Louisiana Scramble)
- Classic Foursome
- Further golf game forms – golf game variants
This counting method was invented by the English doctor Gordon Stableford in 1898, and is based on the principle that a particularly bad result on a hole does not count as heavily during the round as in the classic counting game and can therefore be more easily made up for.
The player receives 2 points for the performance that he is supposed to achieve according to the handicap (“net par”) for each hole; for each stroke he needs less he receives one point more, on the other hand for one stroke needed more (“net bogey”) he receives one more point, for two or more additional strokes he receives no more point. With a result of 36 Stableford points (18 holes times 2 points = 36) the player has reached his handicap.
You have a handicap of 36, which means you can play every hole 2 over par ( 18 holes with two strokes more each = 36).
One hole is now par 4 – your “net par” in this case is 6 ( 4+2).
If you play the hole with these 6 strokes, you will receive 2 stableford points for your score. If you need 7 strokes, you get one more point. If you play the hole with more strokes, you get no more points. However, if you play the hole with fewer strokes than your “net par”, you will receive the following points:
5 strokes – 3 points
4 strokes – 4 points
3 strokes – 5 points
2 strokes – 6 points
1 blow – 7 points
The advantage of this counting method is that a player can lose at most 2 points on a completely badly played hole, which he can make up with good stroke numbers on other holes.
More about how to calculate Stableford points (With online calculator)
In this classic form (stroke play or medal play), the total number of strokes counts. The player who needed the fewest strokes for the round is the winner. This result would be “gross”. There is also the possibility of a “net count”(strokes minus handicap). This is used to calculate the handicap or for matches between golfers of different skill levels.
If a handicap tournament is played as a counted match, the results are nowadays converted into stableford scores by the tournament management using computer software.
In match play, each golfer plays against every other golfer individually. Each hole is played separately and the golfer who completes the hole in fewer strokes wins the hole. At the end of the match, the golfer who has won the most holes wins.
In stroke play, each stroke a golfer takes to reach the green is counted, and at the end of the game, the stroke totals of all players are added together. The golfer with the lowest stroke count wins.
Flag Stroke Play
Form of counting betting game. Each player can play as many strokes as the sum of his handicap and the course standard. A flag is placed where the ball lies after the last stroke. The player who gets the farthest wins. The game can also go beyond the 18th hole.
Example: You have a handicap of 36 and the course standard (SSR) is 72, so you may play 108 strokes( 36+72) then your flag is stuck.
Texas Scramble (Captains Choice or Louisiana Scramble)
A four-ball team game. Each player tees off, then it is decided which ball is best. At this point, within one club length (no closer to the hole) the other three players drop their balls – all four balls are played on. At the green, all other 3 balls are placed within 10 cm ( not closer to the hole ) of the best ball. This is a counting game, where the handicap of the team is usually 1/8 of the added handicaps of all four players.
In the “Florida Scramble” variant, the player who has played the best ball must always sit out.
A team game, two against two, each team plays with one ball, which is played alternately by the two playing partners. Both players tee off alternately. Normally, in a counted betting game, the game is played with 7/16 of the combined total handicap and the net score is used for scoring. In hole play, 3/8 of the combined handicap is used.
Further golf game forms – golf game variants
Foursome with selection drive (Greensome)
Variation of the classic foursome. Both players of each team tee off at each hole. Then it is decided with which ball to continue playing alternately. The scoring is done according to the rules of the classic foursome as a counting game, according to Stableford or as a hole betting game.
Chapman Foursome (American Foursome)
Variation of the classic foursome. Here both players of each team tee off at each hole, and then each player hits the ball of his teammate once. Before the 3rd stroke, a decision is made as to which ball will then be used in turn to finish the hole according to the rules of the classic foursome.
In the variant ” Canadian Chapman foursome “, each player continues to play his own ball once more, then continues to play with one ball alternately as above.
Four ball aggregate
Two against two. The round results of the playing partners are added to the team’s total score (or the point results, if played according to Stableford scoring)
Sunningdale – Two-on-two
Hole play without handicap. That player who is behind by more than two holes will be awarded an additional stroke on the next hole. For each additional hole lost, the trailing player is awarded one additional stroke each until he wins a hole, at which time all extra strokes are forfeited.
Three-ball with scoring
Hole betting game for three players. Each player plays two independent hole betting games – 6 points are awarded for each hole. The first player gets 4, the second 2, the third 0 points. If all three players achieve the same score, they all receive 2 points each. If there are two best players, they each receive 3 points and the third player is left empty-handed. If there is one best player and the other two are tied, the distribution of points is 4-1-1. For the calculation of the handicap, the player with the best handicap is set with handicap 0, the other players receive as handicap the full difference of their handicap to the best one or 3/4 of this difference.
Fourball- Bestball (Fourball)
Two against two, each player plays with one ball, but per hole only the better result per team is scored. Is played as a counting game, according to Stableford but also as a hole betting game.
Game against par
Each player plays each hole against his own net par. The net par counts 0. If the player achieves a lower number of strokes, a plus is written, if the player achieves a higher number of strokes, a minus is written. The player who has the highest plus number wins.
A variant that is often played by professional golfers at invitational tournaments. Each hole is played for a certain amount of money (amateurs play for a stake that is still allowed by the rules). The winner of the hole and the money is the player who has the lowest number of strokes. If a hole is split, no one gets the stake – the money is added to the stake of the next hole.
Bestball is a hole betting game in which a player with a low handicap plays against the best ball of two or three other players with higher handicaps. No handicap is considered and each player plays with his own ball. The player who achieves the lowest number of strokes is the winner. Scoring is the same as in normal hole betting.
In Best-Shot-Duo, two players play together and select the best shot from each of them to play on from there. The team’s shot total is counted at the end and the lowest score wins.
In Alternating Shot, two players play together and each golfer takes turns playing a shot. The team’s stroke count is counted at the end and the lowest score wins.
In Greensome, two players play together and choose the best shot after teeing off. The other golfer then plays from that point and so on until the green is reached. The team’s stroke count is tallied at the end and the lowest score wins.
In Skins, several players play against each other and each hole has a set monetary value. The golfer who completes the hole in the lowest number of strokes wins the monetary value of the hole.
Nassau is a golf game variation in which three separate bets are placed: on the overall score, the score of the first nine holes, and the score of the last nine holes. The golfer who wins the total score, the score of the first nine holes and the score of the last nine holes wins the Nassau bet.