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How to score in a "Stableford" competition

One of the most common golf scoring systems and the one that often causes the most confusion is "Stableford". The Stableford system was developed by Dr. Frank Barney Gorton Stableford (1870–1959) and was first used informally at the Glamorganshire Golf Club, Penarth, Wales, in 1898, and first used in competition at Wallasey Golf Club in Wallasey, England, in 1932.

It was originally designed to deter golfers from giving up on their round after one or 2 bad holes because as you'll see each hole is scored individually and unlike stroke play, having a bad hole at Stableford only affects your score for that hole, not the entire round.


How does it work ?

The first thing to work out is your net par for each hole, that is to say what is the par you are expected to get at each hole after adjustment for your handicap. For example, if your handicap was 10 then you would get a stroke at each hole from stroke index 1 to stroke index 10 (`the 10 most difficult holes). So on these holes, for Stableford scoring purposes, a gross par 3 becomes a net par 4, a gross par 4 becomes a net par 5, etc.

Now, if your handicap is greater than 18, then for some holes then you'll adjust by 2 strokes on certain holes. If your a 54 handicap golfer (maximum handicap) then you adjust by 3 strokes on every hole.

Stableford scoring for each hole is then calculated using your score against the net par for that hole with points awarded as follows :

Score (v's net par)


​Stableford Points

+2 or more

Double Bogey or greater


















The Winner

Unlike other golf scoring formats, the objective is to score as many points as possible over the 18 holes. As a rough rule of thumb, if you shoot your handicap, you should end up with 36 Stableford points (2 points per hole). This doesn't precisely hold true if you have holes where you scored worse than a double bogey (which would be 3 or more strokes over par but only a maximum of 2 points missed against "Stableford par).

The other benefit of Stableford scoring is it speeds up the game. Once you have played more shots on any hole than a double bogey then you can't score on that hole and you might as well pick up your ball and start thinking about the next hole.


Still confused ?

Heres a short video to explain.....

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