Stableford Scoring

How to Calculate your stableford

Your guide to the Stableford scoring system, the calculator and how it works. 

How to Calculate your Stableford



Stableford is one of the most widely used and best golf scoring systems that can help improve your golf. Its a point system rather than the traditional stroke play. Unlike traditional scoring methods, it provides a format for scoring points where the points scored are more important than the gross score. It takes into account your golf handicap and how well you play a particular hole. Its a golf scoring system for beginners, but stapleford golf is used widely in amateur competitions.


Quick Links

When playing the game of golf, many different scoring methods can be used.



The Stableford format is one kind of golf scoring systems used in a tournament format that involves scoring points based on each hole you play. It allows for more aggressive play as it does not consider your net score but looks at each hole and gives a score based on each hole. It is an excellent format for friendly and professional golf tournaments. Unlike stroke play that counts the total number of strokes played on every hole, what is great about this golf score system is that it does not ruin your entire scorecard if you play a terrible hole and have a few double bogeys or worse holes.



On the next golf hole, you can score points again, focusing on getting the most points on every individual hole. This is why the modified Stableford system is a popular format for tournament play with non-professionals. The golf Stableford approach helps the average golfers learn to play consistently well, a few bad holes do not kill your score as you just score zero points, and it encourages aggressive play to some degree helping club golfers improve their game.

1. What is Traditional Stableford Scoring System?


The Stableford Points system is a way to score golf where points awarded on each hole are added together to give your overall Stableford points for the round. What matters is the number of strokes taken per round, not the total number of strokes taken like when playing stroke play. The benefit of the Stableford scoring system is that if you have a bad hole and get a high stroke count on one hole, it does not ruin your entire game like in stroke play. You can still score points again on the next hole.

The person or team with the most points wins the competition (if there is one)

So in summary, the scoring system is devised to account for each player’s handicap, ensuring that it rewards performance relative to their ability. The objective is to achieve the highest possible score. 

2. Modified Stableford Scoring Format


To use the Stableford scoring system, you must first calculate how many points you scored on each hole. To do this, you must calculate your awarded shots on each and every hole.


Awarded shots are how many additional strokes per hole you are awarded based on your handicap.


The number of points awarded on each hole is determined by the number of strokes taken to par the hole before being adjusted in relation to the player’s handicap. 


To do this, we need to look at the stroke index on the scorecard.

If you are an 18-handicap golfer, you would naturally be awarded one additional stroke per hole.


But for a 24-handicap golfer, you would receive one extra stroke per hole plus one extra stroke on the 6 most difficult holes based on their stoke index.

3. Stableford – How to work out Stableford points


Once you know how many strokes/shots you have been awarded, you can quickly convert your shots into stableford points. The table below shows how to turn your strokes into points. This is the basis for Stableford golf tournaments.



Stableford points are awarded as follows:



  • • 6 points – Four strokes under
  • • 5 points – Three strokes under
  • • 4 points – Two strokes under
  • • 3 points – One stroke under
  • • 2 points – Level par
  • • 1 point – One stroke over
  • • 0 points – Two strokes or more over


By assigning your awarded shots to each hole on the golf course, you can begin to work out your Stableford score when playing golf. You net scores should be 36 points stableford if you are playing to your handicap.This is your net score/par for each hole. And this is the benefit of the Stableford scoring system.



If you score a net par, you will score 2 points. If you take one stroke less shots, then you will be awarded three points. If you take one stroke more, you will receive one point.


You can quickly convert your shots into points by working out the difference.

4. An Example for Stableford Scoring


So, let’s imagine you are an 18 golf handicap golfer and you played a par four hole. You took five strokes. To calculate your Stableford score, we will follow the below logic.

You can quickly convert your shots into points by working out the difference

1) Firstly, we must work out your allowance per hole. You do this by assigning each of your handicap strokes against the relevant hole. 



You do this by assigning one additional short to each hole (in order of stroke index difficulty starting from 1, 2, 3 etc) until you have used up all your strokes


In this example, you can work out the number of strokes per hole by allocating one additional stroke to each of the 18 holes. This means that on a par 4, you can take five shorts; for a par 3, you can take four shorts; for a par 5, you can take six shots.

2) As you took five shots (a bogey), you would have scored 2 points as you had one extra shot allocated based on the Stableford scoring system. 



To calculate Stableford points for your entire round, you can add up all your Stableford points hole-by-hole you


Examples of different number of strokes taken:


If you had taken six shots, a double bogey, you would have only scored 1 point as you took one more than your shot allowance on that hole.
If you had taken seven shots, you would have scored 0 points
If you had taken four shots you would have scored 3 points
If you had birdied the hole and taken three shots, you would have scored 4 points


The biggest challenge is remembering to allocate the right shot allowance per hole. A 9-handicap golfer will get 9 additional shots allocated to the holes with stroke index 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. On the hole with a stroke index 10, you do not receive any additional stroke, and to score stableford points, you will need to play par to get 2 points.


Whatever your handicap – you should be looking to score a minimum of 36 points (2 points per hole x 18 holes). If you score 36 points, then you are playing to your handicap. If you score less than 36, your game was below your handicap. If you score more, then you are playing better than your handicap.



Anything around 43 to 45 points or more – means you are a bandit…or just improving quickly:) This is the basis for Stableford rules.



While this may sound simple, its a great format but not used within the PGA Tour even though it would allow very aggressive golf, asking PGA Tour golfers to get the highest score possible on each hole.


18 Handicap Player


Mr Pink is an 18 Handicap Golfer and he will receive one shot per hole.


Par 3 Example


Mr Pink knows he should take 4 shots to complete a Par 3, as he receives one shot per hole. If he plays +1, he would have played 4 and get 2 points. If he plays 0 (i.e. par), he would have played one under his awarded shots and therefore he would get 3 points. If he plays a -1 (Birdie), he would have played 2 under his awarded shots and would get 4 points

5. The History Of Stableford


The history of Stableford scoring is a fascinating tale. 



We believe it starts with Frank Stableford who was a member of Glamorganshire Golf Club before he moved to Wallasey Golf Club and refined it. Some claim it was in Scotland, but what is sure is that the Scots were always looking for new ways to make golf more interesting, so they came up with the idea of awarding points instead of strokes as a way to keep score on each hole.



This system spread quickly through Europe and became popular because it allowed players with different levels of skill an opportunity to compete against one another fairly.

The Stableford Scoring System

If you are looking for system to help calculate your Stableford scores, then you can join our golf handicap calculator and start adding your scores.

Every time you add a round of golf, we will calculate your points and record your scores so you can see how your game is improving. You can join Mulligan+ for free


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