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The Best Golf Game Formats

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    Golf Game Formats

    One appealing facet of best golf game to lots of players is the large number of different formats in which the golf game can be played. Let’s start with the two main layouts; Match Play and also Stroke Play, and afterward we will certainly share a few other intriguing formats.

    Golf GameMatch Play

    Match Play is thought to be the original form of golf. The terms of the format are pretty straightforward;

    The game is played by holes.

    A hole is won by a player, (or team/pair) that takes the fewest strokes on each given hole.

    If both sides get the same amount of strokes, the hole is deemed ‘halved’.

    Every game starts, ‘all square’ or ‘even’.

    So for example, if you birdie (-1) the first hole and your opponent makes a par (E), then you win the first hole. You are described as ‘one-up’, while your opponent is said to be, ‘one down’.

    Golf Game

    If then on the second hole, you and your opponent both ‘halve’ the hole, you are still ‘one-up’.

    On the third hole, your opponent wins the hole, you are then deemed ‘all square’.

    The game is played throughout each hole, while the scoring is kept on a cumulative basis. The result of the game is determined when you are either, ‘up’ or ‘down’ by more holes than there are left to play.

    So for example, you play Match Play over one round, and you are ‘three up’ with only two holes left to play. You are deemed to have won the match with a margin of 3&2.

    Golf Game FormatsAnother example; you are one down with two holes to play and you lose the next hole. You are now two down, with one to play. Therefore, deemed to have lost with the result being 2&1.

    ‘Dormie’ is a term utilized when you or your opponent is ‘down’ by the very same number of holes entrusted to play. So for instance, you are ‘five up’, with five to play. That’s ‘dormie’, or ‘dormie 5’.

    If a competition ruling states that a winning result must be achieved, (not halved), then a sudden-death playoff occurs. Players will then go back to the first tee and play through until a player wins a hole.

    Match Play

    What’s interesting about Match Play? The most intriguing aspect of Match Play is the ‘concession’ ruling. Whereby your opponent can ‘concede’, or ‘give you’ a putt that is very close or they feel you won’t miss. You can also do the same offerings back to your opponent.

    This is a great time saver and also there’s a strategy that players can use in competitive matches – trust me, I’ve seen it done many times in team games. You keep the pressure off your opponent for most of the round, by ‘giving’ them putts, which are up to say about 2-3ft.

    Then later in the round when its ‘nitty-gritty time’, you can pile up the pressure by making them putt that short putt, in the hope because they haven’t had any, (or a very low amount) short putts all game, they go ahead and miss.

    Beware though, as this can happen to you too!

    Tip! In a four ball better ball, which is the term used for 2v2 Match Play – you can mix the order of the honor with your partner, (who tees off first) whenever you like between holes. The first player can get one away safe, leaving their partner a chance to open up his shoulders.

    Stroke PlayEqually, in Match Play you can mix up the order of who putts first on the green with your partner. So for example, a player close to the hole could knock in his par, leaving his playing partner a completely free birdie putt where we can be aggressive without the worry of the putt back.

    Stroke Play

    The most popular competitive format of golf around the whole world.

    It’s you, your clubs as well as a scorecard.

    The champion is the player with the lowest quantity of strokes.

    The outcome is based on either Gross Score (no handicap taken into consideration) or Net Score (the total score minus the player’s handicap).

    Unlike Match Play, an order of play, I.e furthest from the hole is used, and there are no ‘gimmie/concession’ putts in this format.

    What’s interesting about Stroke Play? You can use handicaps and make it a true level playing field for any golfer of any ability, provided the handicap is a true handicap.

    Other Interesting Formats?

    Texas Scramble – Easily my number 1 format of playing golf. Teams of 4 players all tee off and then they decide which is the best shot. Then every player in the team, all play their second shot one after another from this position. And so forth up till the ball is holed.

    Some really low scores get shot here and my old golf club would regularly run, ‘Shotgun Start’, where each hole would be filled out with a playing team. Then a shotgun is fired and everybody tees off. The idea is that everybody finishes at the same time, gets to eat at the same time and all be together for the presentation on the day.

    Shotgun StartGreensomes – 2v2 game where each pair tees off and then they hit alternative shots, once they choose which ball they think is better from the two. The scoring is used the same as Match Play and is a great game of fun and also pressure.

    Yellowsomes – The same as Greensomes, however, the catch is the opponents get to pick which shot you play. So they will, of course, choose the worst shot! So count yourself lucky if you and your partner both hit the fairway off your drive!

    Stableford – A very popular format of golf. The basics are that you are rewarded a certain number of points, based on what score you get on the hole. Par = 2. Birdie = 3. Eagle = 4. Bogey = 1. Your handicap can be used within the format, and most players do so.

    For example, having a handicap of 14, you would get 1 shot on each of the 14 hardest holes, (stroke index 1-14). Then you take your gross score and minus 1 from each hole you get a shot on. Then you earn the points accordingly.

    A player who ‘plays’ to his handicap would hit 36 points, (18 pars at 2 points each).

    What makes this format so great is that unlike Stroke Play, one or two bad high scoring stroke holes can still leave you winning. How? Let’s say you hit 10 strokes on a hole, in Stroke Play it would hurt your card a lot, in Stableford you just get 0 points, the same as you would if you had hit a double bogey.

    There are many other formats of golf out there for you to enjoy and what better time than now to get out there and start mixing up your formats!

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