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Tournament Formats

Blog Post 1

Tournament Formats and Allowances

Match Play

Singles Match Play

In singles match play, the match is won by the player who is leading by a number of holes greater than the number of holes remaining to be played. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9‐3c of the Handicap Manual should be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The higher‐handicapped player receives the full difference between the Course Handicaps of the two players; the lower‐handicapped player shall play from scratch.

Example: A player with a Course Handicap of 17 shall receive four strokes from a player with a Course Handicap of 13. The player receives them on the holes allocated as the first four handicap‐stroke holes.

Four‐Ball Match Play

In four‐ball match play, two play their better ball against the better ball of two other players (Rules of Golf, Rule 30 and Definitions). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9‐3c of the Handicap Manual should be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The Course Handicaps of all four players are reduced by the Course Handicap of the player with the lowest handicap, who shall then play from scratch. Each of the three other players is allowed 100 % of the difference.

In mixed four‐ball match play, strokes are taken as assigned on the players’ respective stroke allocation tables. The committee in charge of the competition designates the tees to be played.

Foursome Match Play (Scotch)

In a foursome match, two play against two and each side plays one ball. In a foursome during any stipulated round (playing the holes of the course in their correct sequence), the partners play alternately from the teeing grounds and alternately during the play of each hole (Rules of Golf, Rules 29, 29‐1 and Definitions). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9‐3c(iii) of the Handicap Manual should be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The allowance for the higher‐handicapped side is 50% of the difference between the combined Course Handicaps of the members of each side. (When selected drives are permitted, the allowance is 40%.)

Chapman or Pinehurst Match Play

In a Chapman or Pinehurst match, two play against two. Each partner plays from the teeing ground and each plays his partner’s ball for the second shot. After the second shot, partners select the ball with which they wish to score, and play that ball alternately to complete the hole. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9‐3c(iii) of the Handicap Manual should be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The partner with the lower Course Handicap receives 60% of his Course Handicap. The partner with the higher Course Handicap receives 40% of his Course Handicap. The percentage allowances are added together before rounding, and the total is rounded off with .5 or more rounded upward. The side with the higher Course Handicap receives the difference between the Course Handicaps of the sides. The lower‐ handicapped side shall play from scratch.

Stroke Play

Individual Stroke Play

Allowance: Each competitor receives his full Course Handicap. (A plus Course Handicap shall be added to the gross score to determine the net score.)

Four‐Ball Stroke Play

In four‐ball stroke play, two competitors play as partners, each playing his own ball. The lower of the partners’ scores is the score for the hole (Rules of Golf, Rule 31 and Definitions). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9‐3c of the Handicap Manual should be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Men receive 90% of Course Handicap; Women receive 95% of Course Handicap.

In mixed four‐ball stroke play, strokes are taken as assigned on the players’ respective stroke allocation tables, and players shall play from the sets of tees designated by the committee in charge of the competition.

Example: If men are playing the middle tees and women are playing the forward tees, strokes shall be taken by men as they are allocated from the middle tees, and by women as they are allocated from the forward tees.

Note: It is recommended that committees consider it a condition of four‐ball stroke play competitions that the Course Handicaps of the members of a side may not differ by more than eight strokes. A side with a large difference between Course Handicaps has an advantage over a side with a small Course Handicap difference. If a difference of more than eight strokes cannot be avoided, it is suggested that an additional 10% reduction be applied to the Course Handicaps of the members of each side with a Course Handicap difference exceeding eight strokes

Foursome Stroke Play (Scotch)

In foursome stroke play, partners play one ball. The partners play alternately from the teeing grounds and alternately during the play of each hole (Rules of Golf, 29‐1). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9‐3c(iii) of the Handicap Manual should be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The allowance is 50% of the partners’ combined Course Handicaps. When selected drives are permitted, the allowance is 40%. A plus combined Course Handicap shall be added to the gross score to determine the net score.

Scotch – Format Definition

Threesome is a match in which one plays against two, and each side plays one ball. Foursome is a match in which two play against two, and each side plays one ball. In a threesome or a foursome during any stipulated round the partners shall play alternately from the teeing grounds and during the play of each hole. Penalty strokes do not affect the order of play, this form of play can be used in either a stroke play or match play format.

Chapman or Pinehurst Stroke Play

In Chapman or Pinehurst stroke play, two players play as partners, each playing from the teeing ground and each playing his partner’s ball for the second shot. After the second shot, partners select the ball with which they wish to score, and play that ball alternately to complete the hole. After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9‐3c(iii) of the Handicap Manual should be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: The player with the lower Course Handicap is allowed 60% of his Course Handicap. The player with the higher Course Handicap is allowed 40% of his Course Handicap. The total is rounded off with fractions of .5 or more rounded upward.

Pinehurst or Chapman – Format Definition

A team consists of two players. On each hole, a player and his/her partner drive from the teeing ground. On the second stroke, player A will play player B’s ball while player B will play player A’s ball. Prior to the third stroke, the partners must make a choice which ball they will play. There will be only one ball played by each team after the second stroke. Penalty strokes do not affect order of play. If the players choose the ball played on B’s second stroke, player A will play the third stroke and they will play alternate strokes until the ball is holed. At no time will a player strike the same ball twice in succession.

Stableford Competition

The reckoning in Stableford competitions is made by points awarded in relation to a fixed score (usually par or net par) at each hole as shown in the table.

Hole Score Points
> +1 0
+1 1
Even 2
-1 3
-2 4
-3 5
-4 6

The winner is the competitor who scores the highest number of points (Rules of Golf, 32‐1b). After handicap allowances are determined, Section 9‐3c of the Handicap Manual should be applied in competitions from different tees, or in competitions between men and women from the same tees.

Allowance: Players use full Course Handicaps and strokes as they are allocated on the scorecard.


Scramble Tournaments

Scramble

A team consists of four players paired in the same group. On each hole, each player drives and the best tee shot is selected by the team. Each team member then plays a second shot from the spot where the selected tee shot lay and the best second shot is then selected in a similar manner. This process is repeated until the hole is completed. A tournament committee may wish to include additional requirements for a scramble tournament. The most common addition is requiring each team member to use his/her drive a minimum number of times during the stipulated round, generally 2‐3 times. The preferred method of pairing for such an event is to balance each team with a composition of players of similar handicaps.

Four‐Man Scramble

Break field into A, B, C, D players using the following percentages and tees:

  • A players use 20% of handicap and play from the back tees
  • B players use 15% of handicap and play from the middle tees
  • C players use 10% of handicap and play from the middle tees
  • D players use 5% of handicap and play from the forward tees

After individual handicap percentages have been calculated, round each to a whole number and add all numbers together to determine the team handicap. Other potential rules:

  • No one person can hit two shots in a row except on the putting green.
  • Committee will require each player’s drive to be used 3 times.

Two‐Man Scramble

Break field into A and B players using the following percentages:

  • A Players use 35% of handicap
  • B Players use 15% of handicap

After individual handicap percentages have been calculated, round each to a whole number and add all numbers together to determine the team handicap. The Committee will require each player’s drive to be used 6 times.