Stableford Golf Scoring System – The Full Guide!

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When it comes to playing golf and enjoying the sport, people are always looking for different ways to improve their game and challenge themselves.

There are a lot of different basic formats out there including match play, stroke play, best ball and scramble, but many might not have tried the Stableford scoring system. 

Want to give it a go? Follow our guide to find out all of the basics so you can try it next time you hit the course. It might take a bit of getting used to, but you’ll be on your way to becoming a pro before you know it!

Stableford Golf Scoring System - The Full Guide!

What Exactly Is The Stableford Scoring System?

Stableford is a scoring system where points are awarded for the number of shots taken relative to par. This is used instead of counting the total number of strokes taken, like in stroke play.

However, the difference is that there is a major goal difference. The lowest score is always the aim with in stroke play, whereas, the highest score is the aim with the Stableford scoring system.

The standard point values for Stableford are as follows:

  • 0 points – Double Bogey or Worse, (2 strokes or higher over par)
  • 1 point – Bogey (1 stroke over par)
  • 2 points – Par
  • 3 points – Birdie (1 stroke under par)
  • 4 points – Eagle (2 strokes under par)
  • 5 points – Albatross or Double Eagle (3 strokes under par)
  • 6 points – Condor (4 strokes under par)

Although this scoring system shows the standard Stableford point values, some modifications are commonly used.

Stableford systems don’t need to be fixed in a particular way and they can be changed to suit any sort of golfer and their skill level. This is called a Modified Stableford scoring system and there have been a few famous cases seen throughout the sport.

For example, in the PGA’s 2019 Barracuda Championship, they used a modified Stableford scoring system, where they had different point values from the ones we previously mentioned. Here’s what the point system looked like:

  • -3 points – Double Bogey or Worse (2 strokes or higher over par)
  • -1 point – Bogey (1 stroke over par)
  • 0 points – Par
  • +2 points – Birdie (1 stroke under par)
  • +5 points – Eagle (2 strokes under par)
  • +8 points – Albatross or Double Eagle (3 strokes under par)

This example of the Modified Stableford scoring system worked really well because it encouraged the golfers to take more risks and be more aggressive with their approach to the course.

This is because there was much more to be rewarded for, rather than more points being lost for bogeys. The risk was heavily outweighed by the potential rewards.

Handicaps In The Stableford System

For those golfers who love to use a handicap with their play, this can be the case with Stableford systems as well. This, of course, is encouraged for people of varying skill levels but it all comes down to the golfers playing and their decision.

For example, a 5-handicap golf player would only get 1 stroke on the five hardest holes on that specific course.

So, if the hole in question was typically a par-5, then the golfer would have 6 strokes to hit their desired target. This means that they would receive par points for hitting 6 strokes, rather than the 5 that you’d expect usually.

History Of The Stableford Scoring System

History Of The Stableford Scoring System

This system was created by Dr. Frank Barney Gorton in the late stages of the 1800s as a way to keep things interesting. For example, if a golfer had a poor start to their game, then this system allowed them to still have something to play for, keeping them engaged.

This was initially intended for casual players who were looking to have some fun. Initially introduced in Glamorganshire Golf Club in Wales, it was then formally inducted into competition golf at Wallasey Golf Club, England in 1932. 

Since then, it has found its way to golf courses all around the world and helps golfers of all levels to improve their game and play in different ways.

Final Thoughts

That’s the end of our guide. The Stableford scoring system is a great way for people who enjoy golf to see things a bit differently and take their game into a different area.

With regard to who can play like this, there are varying skill levels involved, with people being able to change the point scores to suit their own game.

The Modified Stableford scoring system is a great alternative for golfers to make their own rules and still enjoy the general outline and effects that the Stableford system has. Why not give it a try yourself? You might be surprised by the results!

David Shelly
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