There are two basic forms of golf – Stroke Play and Match Play.
Many other golf competition formats exist that are based on these two fundamental forms of golf, some of which are officially recognised in the rules of golf and some of which are not.
Both forms of play can be played as individual or team formats.
A form of play where a player or side competes against all other players or sides entered in the competition.
A form of play where a player or side plays directly against an opponent or opposing side in a head-to-head match.
A player or side wins a hole in the match by completing the hole in fewer strokes than their opponent(s). If the scores are tied then the hole is halved.
A player will often concede a hole to his/her opponent if it becomes evident part way through a hole that a player has no chance of winning or halving the hole.
The match is won when a player or side leads the opponent(s) by more holes than remain to be played.
The regular form of stroke play is ‘medal’ format where a player’s or side’s score for a round is calculated as the total number of strokes taken to hole out on every hole. The winner is the player or side who completes the round in the fewest total strokes.
A form of stroke play where a player’s or side’s score for a hole is based on points awarded by comparing the player’s or side’s number of strokes on the hole (including strokes made and any penalty strokes) to par. Points are awarded as follows:
More than one over par or no score returned – 0 Points
One over par – 1 Point
Par – 2 Points
One under par – 3 Points
Two under par – 4 Points
Three under par – 5 Points
Four under par – 6 Points
The competition is won by the player or side who completes the round with the most points.
A player who does not hole out under the Rules for any reason gets zero points for the hole.
To help pace of play, players are encouraged to stop playing a hole when their score will result in zero points.
Bogey / Par
A form of stroke play that uses the same scoring approach as in match play, but rather than playing against an opponent, a player or side plays against par.
A play or side wins a hole by completing the hole in fewer strokes than par, halves a hole completed in par and loses a hole completed in a score over par.
The competition is won by the player or side with the highest total of holes won versus holes lost (that is, adding up the holes won and subtracting the holes lost).
A form of stroke play where a player’s or side’s score for a hole is capped at a maximum number of strokes set by the Committee, such as two times par, a fixed number or net double bogey.
A form of play where two partners compete as a side by playing one ball in alternating order on each hole.
One player will tee off on all the odd numbered holes and the other player tees off on all the even number holes. After the tee shot shots are hit alternately by each player until the hole is completed. Penalty shots do not affect the order of play.
Foursomes may be played as a match-play competition between one side of two partners and another side of two partners or a stroke-play competition among multiple sides of two partners.
A variation of foursomes where both players of each side make a tee shot and each side selects which one they prefer. The players then play alternate shots from that point forward until the hole is completed.
A form of play where sides of two partners compete, with each player playing his or her own ball. A side’s score for a hole is the lower score of the two partners on that hole.
Fourball may be played as a match play competition between one side of two partners and another side of two partners or a stroke play competition among multiple sides of two partners.
Scoring is usually stableford or medal (i.e. regular stroke play).
Each player in a side (of two, three or four players) tees off on each hole and the players decide which shot is best. Other players then pick up their balls and all players in the side play their second shot from that position and the procedure is repeated until the hole is finished. The lifted balls must be dropped within six inches of the selected position. If on the green, the balls are to be placed on the same spot.
Usually each side is required to use a set number of drives from each member of the team during the round.
A form of stroke play (usually scored as a stableford) for a team of 3 where one score counts on the first 6 holes, two scores count on the middle 6 holes and all three scores count on the last 6 holes.
A form of stroke play (usually scored as a stableford) for a team of 3 where one score counts on the first hole, two scores count on the second hole and all three scores count on the third hole. This sequence is repeated on each subsequent set of three holes.
A form of stroke play (usually scored as a stableford) for a team of 3 where two scores count on each hole but one of these must be the yellow ball player.
Player A is nominated as the yellow ball on hole 1, Player B on hole 2 and Player C on hole 3. The pattern repeats on each subsequent set of 3 holes.
One score counts on the first hole, two scores count on the second hole and all three scores count on the third hole. This sequence is repeated on each subsequent set of three holes.