Different Formats In Golf

Different formats in golf can have a big impact on how a round is played. Many golfers prefer to play in formats that allow them to use their natural swing. Others may prefer formats where they must play a certain number of shots in a certain number of holes. There are many formats to choose from, so it is important to find one that is comfortable for you.

The Different Types Of Formats In Golf

Here are the different types of formats in golf: There are stroke play formats, match play formats, and combo formats.

1. Strokeplay

In strokeplay, you simply record your score for each hole, and add up the total at the end of the round. The person with the lowest score wins.The total number of shots taken in strokeplay is known as the “gross score.” In a tour event, this is the score that counts because professional players do not have a handicap. But at the club level, each player’s handicap is deducted from the gross figure to produce a “net score,” which in most amateur events decides the winner.

2. Matchplay Singles

This format involves head-to-head competition. Every hole contributes to the state of play of the match, and individual holes are won, lost, or halved (whereby each player scores the same).For example, if the player who wins the first hole is up, the player who wins the next hole is two up, and if the player loses the next, the player is back to up.If a hole is halved, the match score stays the same. The match is decided when a player is up by more holes than there are holes left to play. For example, if a player is four up with three holes to play, this is known as victory by four and three.If the match is all square after 18 holes, a sudden death playoff ensues. The golfer with the lowest handicap gives strokes to their opponent, based on three quarters of the difference between the two handicaps.For example, if Player A has a handicap of 4 and Player B has a handicap of 16, 3/4 of the difference (12) is 8. Therefore, Player B receives a stroke from his or her opponent on each of the holes with a stroke index of between 1 and 8.

3. Stableford

This format awards points for each score gained on each hole. A double eagle is worth five points, an eagle four points, a birdie three points, a par two points, a bogey one point, and anything worse than a bogey scores no points at all.The person with the highest score at the end of the round wins. If two or more players have the same score, the player with the lowest handicap allowance is the winner.

4. Fourball betterball

This is a game that is similar to matchplay singles, only the game is played in pairs. Each player in the two pairings plays his or her own ball and the lowest score from each pair on each hole is the one that counts.In matchplay singles, the method of keeping score, and how the handicaps work, is the same as in fourball. Betterball can also be applied to stableford but seldom to strokeplay.

5. Foursomes

This is a game that is played in pairs, but here each pairing only shares one ball. One player in each pair tees off on the odd-numbered holes, the other on the even-numbered holes. Thereafter, alternate shots are played with the same ball until the hole is completed.The format is applicable to matchplay, strokeplay, and stableford. In matchplay, the pair with the lowest combined handicap gives shots to the other two players based on three-eighths of the difference.For example, if Team A has a combined handicap of 10 and Team B has a combined handicap of 26, then 8 is the difference. Since three-eighths of 8 is 2, B receives a stroke on holes with a stroke index between 1 and 6.

6. Greensomes

This is a variation of the foursomes format, the difference being that both golfers in each pair tee off and then select the more favorable of the two drives. Then, alternate shots are played as in foursomes.The handicap calculations work in the same way as with foursomes. Greensomes is also a popular stableford format.

7. Bogey

This exciting format is perfect for those looking for a challenging game of golf. The course is your opponent, and the scoring system is based on holes won, lost, or halved (as in matchplay). The only difference is that the game is not over until the last hole has been completed.Playing the bogey format is all about finishing as many holes as possible. As you play, you receive shots based on your handicap allowance. If you have a handicap of 8, for example, the course gives you six shots. You receive these shots on the holes that have a stroke index between 1 and 6.

How Is A Handicap Calculated?

Golfers of different abilities can compete on equal terms with each other by gaining their first handicap. This process involves playing usually three rounds on the same course. You then combine the scores and divide by three to arrive at a figure relative to the standard scratch score (SSS) of the course.If you play three rounds and score 86, 91, and 84, these figures are then totaled to make 261. This number is divided by three (which makes 87). If the SSS of the course is 70, then you will be given a handicap of 17. The maximum handicap for men is 28; for women the upper limit is 36.When you play in a strokeplay, your handicap is adjusted every time you play. There are three possible scenarios: 1) if your handicap was not adjusted at the start of the tournament; 2) if your handicap was decreased during a round; or 3) if your handicap was increased during a round.You can shoot better than your handicap, lowering your handicap in the process.If you shoot a score that is the same as, or one\u2013three strokes above, your handicap, this places you in a \”buffer zone\”, wherein your handicap does not move up or down. This zone allows for a minor dip in form, which does not warrant an increase in your handicap.If you shoot a score that is more than three shots above your handicap, your handicap will increase.


Golf is a game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities, no matter their level of experience. The sport has many different formats, which makes it suitable for everyone from beginners to experienced players.Whether you’re playing a friendly game with family or friends, or taking part in a competitive tournament, there’s a format for you. So get out on the course and have some fun!