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Stroke Play Guide

Stroke Play Golf

Stroke Play is the most widely used scoring system for golf competitions. But how does it work?

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What is stroke play in golf

 

Our guide to how does stroke play work!

 

Stroke play refers to a round of golf where the stokes taken over the course are added together to form a cumulative score.

 

What´s a stroke in golf?

 

A stroke in golf refers to the swing or hit that a golfer makes intending to strike the golf ball. Each swing counts as one stroke, and the goal is to complete each hole on the course in the fewest number of strokes possible. The total number of strokes taken during a round of golf (usually 18 holes) is added up to give the player’s score. Penalties incurred for rules violations also count as extra strokes. The player with the fewest strokes at the end of the round is considered the winner.

 

 

 

 

The Stroke Play Format means that the total strokes taken during the round or rounds are added together to give a cumulative score and a final score. This is the way almost all professional golf tournaments work across all golf associations worldwide, including the R&A and United States Golf Association and therefore across the PGA tour.

 

 

In the professional game, there is no change, the gross score is final. Each playing is counting golf strokes throughout their round. But at the local level including medal play, at the end of the round, you will often see the golfer’s handicap is subtracted from the total stroke play scores to give each golfer a net score. Often it is the lowest net score which wins.

 

 

match play vs stroke play

 

golf scoring systems

golf score

golf scores

golf scoring

 

How does stroke play work in golf?

In stroke play, players complete their rounds in strokes rather than points. At the end of a round, each hole is played and each shot counted, with that number of strokes then carried forward to the next hole until all holes have been completed. 

 

The player who finishes at the lowest total score we say we won because he had “the fewest strokes.”

In stroke play, players complete their rounds in strokes rather than points. At the end of a round, each hole is played and each shot counted, with that number of strokes then carried forward to the next hole until all holes have been completed.

 

The player who finishes at the lowest total score we say we won because he had “the fewest strokes.”

How is stoke played used in clubs and compeititions?

 

Strokeplay is used in most golf tournaments and on the professional tours, all golfers are regarded as equal and have a zero handicap.

 

For them, it’s the cumulative score over four rounds which decides the winner, with the lowest total taking the prize. In the event of a tie there is usually a playoff over a pre-determined number of holes, or until one of the competitors beats the score of his opponent/s on any given hole.

 

Within golf clubs, strokeplay is used for ‘medal’ competitions, usually held once a month, but in these, unlike the professional tours, handicaps are applied and it is nett scores that are counted. So if a 10 handicapper shoots gross 81 over a par 72 course, his nett score is 71 (81 minus 10). If his fellow competitor with a one handicap shoots a gross 73, his nett score is 72 (73 minus one) and he loses to the 10 handicapper.

 

 

Strokeplay is used in most golf tournaments and on the professional tours, all golfers are regarded as equal and have a zero handicap.

 

 

At a club level, we often see Stableford being used for competitions as well.

Examples

Shots Taken 93 50
Handicap 18 94
Nett Score 93 – 18 = 75 50

 

 

18 Handicap Player

Mr Pink is an 18 Handicap Golfer and plays a takes 93 shots on his latest round


Calculation

In this example, Mr Pinks Nett Score is the total shots taken minus his handicap which is 18, leaving a nett score of 75.

The benefits of Stroke play

Stroke play is by far the most popular scoring system in golf and almost everyone who has ever played the game will have recorded their total scores during the round. 

It also provides the basis of handicap calculations because it allows golfers of different abilities to play against each other – an advantage that is almost unique to golf.One drawback is that one particularly bad hole can destroy your round. 

If you normally play off an 18 handicap, which would give you a stroke a hole, and take 10 strokes on a par four (six over par), then you will have to play the 17 remaining holes with only 12 strokes left in your handicap.

Match Play Vs Stroke Play

 

Match play and stroke play are two different scoring systems in the game of golf. They have different rules and strategies, making each game unique.

 

 

Match Play

 

In match play, the game is played by holes. A player (or team) wins a hole by completing it in fewer strokes than their opponent. The match is won by the player or team that wins more holes. For instance, if Player A takes 4 strokes to complete a hole and Player B takes 5, Player A wins that hole. The score is typically reported in terms of the difference in holes won, like “3 and 2”, which means the winner was 3 holes ahead with only 2 holes to play.

 

 

An interesting aspect of match play is that once a hole has been won, it doesn’t matter how many extra strokes the losing player took on that hole. This often results in more aggressive play, as there’s less penalty for a particularly bad hole.

 

 

Stroke Play

 

In stroke play, every single stroke counts. The golfer with the fewest strokes at the end of the round (usually after 18 holes) wins. This means that one bad hole can significantly impact the overall score. Players need to be consistent throughout their round, as they cannot afford to take risks that might lead to high scores on any given hole.

 

 

Stroke play is the most common form of professional golf and the format often used in major championships. It requires a steady, consistent performance across all holes.

 

 

In conclusion, while both match play and stroke play involve the same basic golf skills, they require different strategies and can result in very different styles of play.

 

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