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One Golfer’s Opinion
We all play golf for sport, but also hopefully we have some fun along the way as well. There are multitudes of scoring formats in golf, but traditional stroke play leads the way in America. However, some of golf’s other scoring formats may be something to consider for a nice change, and even a better way for a wide variety of skill levels to compete with each other.
Here are a few of my favorites scoring formats and tournament options to consider, the next time you head out with your regular 4-some.
Select shot/Captain’s Choice: A traditional format and easy golf moneymaker for charitable organizations. All team members (usually a 4-some) hit a shot, and then the team (or Captain) selects the best shot, and repeats that pattern until the ball is holed out.
Interesting adaptation: These tournaments, if they are always held on the same local course, can become predictable and boring. It’s cool however, when you see a new variable thrown into an old tournament style. I once played in select shot tournament in Pensacola, FL, where the committee drew out the tee box location for each hole during the pre-tournament briefing. Here’s how it worked. The course’s tee boxes were Red (forward), White (middle), and Blue (back). They placed 6-red golf balls, 6-white golf balls, and 6-blue golf balls in a box (you could do the same with strips of paper or poker chips). They then asked the course pro to draw out the balls, one-by-one, without looking. Each ball’s color would then determine the tee box location for each hole. For example, hole #1 – a blue golf ball was drawn – meaning each team tee’d off on the blue tees on number #1 … and so on through 18-holes. Team Captains would circle the correct tee box on the scorecard for each hole and make sure the team tee’d off from the right color tee box. This slight adaption to the traditional select shot format made the tournament interesting and random because some of the Par-5s were played off the Reds, some of the Par-3s off the Blues, and so on.
Think about implementing this adaption to your next weekend round with your regular 4-some and you’ll see, this will shake things up a bit and provide you with a different perspective of your local course.
Stableford Scoring: Stableford scoring is a very under-utilized (and under-valued) scoring system in America. Very popular and widely played in the U.K., Stableford is fun to play and makes it possible for golfers of all levels to compete with each other. We play Stableford regularly in the groups I play in (with full or ¾ handicap included). We have found that it speeds up the rounds due to the 0-points option for double bogey or worse, and thus a pick-up or “blob” if you crank a couple OB or lose a ball.
Here’s how it works: Players received full or ¾ handicap off their established (or figured) handicap.
· 0 points – Double Bogey or worse
· 1 point – Bogey
· 2 points – Par
· 3 points – Birdie
· 4 points – Eagle
· 5 points – Double Eagle
Targeted Score (with handicap or without) is 36-points. A scoring example, with handicap, would be a person with a 10-handicap would get 1-stroke on each of the first 10 most difficult holes as ranked by the course/on the scorecard. As an example, on the number 1 handicap hole (a Par 4 in this example), the golfer scores a 6. The golfer would then have a 6 for a 5 (with handicap stroke deducted) for 1-point. Without his/her handicap included, the 6 would be a double bogey and the member would score 0-points on the hole.
Including the handicap as a factor makes it possible for a wide range of golfers to compete fairly. We give 100% handicap in our group, so if a member has a 20 handicap then they get 2-strokes on the #1 and #2 handicap holes on the scorecard and 1-stroke on all the others. We’re pretty generous, but you can set your own guidelines depending on your group. Scores above 36 are rare (if handicaps are accurate) but an occasional 40-something will be turned in due to a good round. If someone in your group posts two or three 40+ point scores in a row … time to adjust that handicap.
Think about using this format exclusively the next time you go on a “Buddy trip” or play a new course as a group. During a group trip to St. Andrews in April 2013, we tracked the daily totals for an overall champion, but also awarded daily champions using the Stableford scoring system. Below is the scoring from our trip (names changed to protect the innocent). As you see, there were only a few scores above 36 in five full rounds and the “Scottish Golf Trip 2013” champion was a 14-handicap.
||Old Course-St. Andrews
||Day 1 – Round 1
||Day 2 – Round 1
||Day 2 – Round 2
||Day 3 – Round 1
||Day 3 – Round 2
|Golfer AA (14)
|Golfer BB (22)
|Golfer DD (10)
|Golfer EE (14)
|Golfer GG (20)
|Golfer HH (24)
BIO: Keith Cook is a contributing editor for localgolfer.com. His career highlights include rounds in nearly every US state and numerous countries throughout the world. He is a retired 29-year US Military Veteran and Ashford University Alumnus living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer.
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