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Golf Scoring: Strokeplay and Matchplay

Aug 17, 2007
One of the good things about golf is that the handicap system allows players of different standards and abilitites to compete against each other. There are various types of competitions or ways of scoring golf which suit different playing abilities and different numbers of players. Two of the most well known methods are strokeplay and matchplay.

Strokeplay
Strokeplay, or medal play, as it is sometimes known, is generally thought of as the most demanding form of competition play. The scores for each hole are added up and a gross score is calculated from these. If strokeplay is being used in a professional competition then the gross score is used to determine the winner. However, if the competition is for amateurs then the players' handicaps are deducted from the gross score to give a nett score. Quite simply, the player with the lowest gross score is the winner of the professional competition and the player with the lowest nett score is the winner of the amateur competition.

In a strokeplay competition you can be competing against a whole host of other players rather than having just one opponent. Your playing partner is known as the marker, which basically means that you exchange scorecards at the start and mark each others card throughout the round.

You have to have a good mental approach when playing strokeplay and not let certain things get to you. Always concentrate on the shot you are playing and try not to think ahead or go over previous holes in your head. In fact, try to put the score out of you head completely!

Matchplay
Matchplay is a type of competition where you play against an individual or in a partnership against another partnership. Holes are scored one by one with the player with the lowest score (either gross or nett depending on how you are playing) winning the hole.

At the start of the round both players are level. If player A wins the first hole then he goes one up while player B goes one down. If they draw on a hole then the hole is 'halved' and each player's score remains the same. If player A wins the next hole then he goes two up and player B goes two down but if player B wins the hole then they go back to being level and the match is 'all square'.

If eventually player A is three up at the 15th hole - i.e. three up with three to play- then he is 'dormie' three which means he cannot lose unless they have to play extra holes. If A gets to the stage where he is, for example, three up with two to play or two up with one to play then he has won. This is abbreviated to saying he has won 3 and 2 or, 2 and 1.

If the round finishes all square then depending on the rules of the competition the players either start at the first hole again (which becomes the 19th) and continue playing until someone goes one up or the match finishes there.
About the Author
Lisa Davies is a freelance witer. For more information about golf scoring visit our site How To Break 80 - Golf Fundamentals at http://www.the-golf-master.com
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