Ladies – Game formats explained


The scoring system is named after Dr Stableford – and hence why it takes a capital S.  He invented this concept of scoring, although the scoring system itself is different from the one that Dr Stableford explained and instigated at his clubs.

The Stableford scoring system is popular as it speeds up play.

It allows you to not have to play out each hole – no need for long embarrassing trudges back to the tee to play three off the tee when a drive is unexpectedly lost.  No grinding it out to record an 8 or 9 on the scorecard as can be the case in medal play.

The idea is very simple.  Make par on a hole, based upon your handicap, and you get 2 points.  A handicap-adjusted score of one over par is 1 point, 1 under par is 3 points, 2 under par is 4 points and so on.  (The most you can score on any one hole would be 10 points, but that would require making a hole in one on a par five on which you were receiving two extra strokes.)

In order to work out on which holes you get the extra strokes you need to look at the Stroke Index.  A handicap 12 player gets an extra shot on Stroke Indexes 1 to 12; a 28 handicapper would get two extra shots on holes with a stroke index 1-10 and one extra shot on those with a stroke index 11-18 (so 28 shots altogether).

Thus if a hole is par 4, Stoke Index 10: for our 12 handicapper it would be, in effect, a par 5 (one extra shot); for our 28 handicapper a par 6 (two extra shots); and for anyone with a handicap of 9 or less it would be a par 4 (no extra shots).

So if both our players holed out in 5 shots, the 12 handicap would score 2 points and the 28-handicapper, 3 points – you may hear people call this “five for two” and “five for three”.

Some prefer to work out the points by adjusting the par of the hole, as explained above and work out the score based on the gross score on the hole.  Others prefer to calculate the Stableford points on the net score, and compare this with the course par of the hole.

The common name for a no score is “A Blob”.

Hopefully this will help new ladies to understand why we sometimes seem to be talking Double Dutch.  It seems confusing at first but you will pick it up after a few rounds.



Every other shot/tee shot; Foursomes is really no more complicated than that.  Each player in a pair hits every other shot, so if one hits the tee shot, the other plays the second shot and they then alternate on every shot until their ball is holed out.  One player will hit all the tee shots on the even-numbered holes and the other on the odd-numbered holes.  Should the pair have to play a provisional ball or another ball at any point, again it is whoever didn’t hit the original shot who will play again from the tee or wherever it was played from.



The only real difference between greensomes and foursomes, other than slightly different handicap allowances, is that in greensomes both players tee off and then choose which ball to play from there.  The player whose drive or tee shot is not chosen plays the second shot, and they then play alternate shots from there until the ball is holed out.  On the next hole, both players again tee off and the process is repeated. There is nothing to stop the same player’s drive being selected all the way round in normal greensomes, though certain versions vary this.  For example, in St Andrews Foursomes, you still select the better drive, but then one partner plays all the second shots on the odd-numbered holes, and one on the evens.  In the appropriately named Gruesomes, your opponents get to choose which drive you should use, and you can imagine what that might sometimes mean for your scoring, and indeed pace of play, if you’re forever having to chop it out of the bushes!


4 Ball Better Ball

The Stableford system is usually used for this format.  However, in 4BBB Stableford two players play as partners although every hole is played by each of them, using their individual full handicaps.  At the conclusion of the hole, the player recording the highest number of points has his or her score entered on the card.


Texas Scramble

In the purest, simplest form of Texas Scramble all members of the team – teams are normally of 3 or 4 players – tee off.  Then one of these drives is chosen to be used for the next shot and all members of the team place their balls where the chosen drive ended up, and all the team play a second shot from this spot. The best second shot is then chosen and all players play from that spot and so on, including everyone putting from the same best spot.