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Stableford Golf Rules Explained

There is a simple way to explain Stableford scoring in golf for novices. It is a handicap competition where points get awarded depending on the score achieved for each hole.

STABLEFORD FORMAT: The aim of Stableford Rules in golf is speeding up the game. It is especially helpful when there are slow paced golfers.

This type of handicap scoring in golf allows a player to pick up his ball if he can no longer score points on that hole.

Competitors score one point for a bogey and two points for achieving par. They get 3 Stableford points for a birdie, 4 for making an eagle, and five for scoring a ‘3 under par‘ albatross.

Players work out their nett score for each hole according to their handicap allowance. The team or players who score the most points outright wins.

How do you calculate the nett score in this competition format? You get extra strokes depending on the stroke index. The score card shows the stroke index for each of the 9 or 18 holes.

Stableford Handicap Scoring

At amateur level the handicap system of scoring allows for inexperience adjustments. Unlike stroke play golf tactics, players do not count the total number of shots taken.

For example: A player takes six shots on a par-four hole. That means his nett modified score would be five if his handicap allowance is one shot for that hole.

Note: The intention in traditional golf scoring methods is to achieve the lowest score. The objective of playing under the Stableford Rules format is to finish with the highest score.

Stableford Scoring Chart: Points System

  • 3 Under Par Albatross: Five Points
  • 2 Under Par Eagle: Four Points
  • 1 Under Par Birdie: Three Points
  • Par: Two Points
  • 1 Over Par Bogey: One Point Scored
  • 2 Over Par (or more): No Points Scored

Note: Scoring 4 under par is very unlikely. But it is achievable from a high handicap golfer.

Using Stableford scoring play is a popular format in the sport of golf. It gives beginners an opportunity to record a competitive score even when they shoot an occasional bad hole. That is why it gets played regularly in club level golf competitions around the United Kingdom.

Who Invented Stableford Rules Golf?

Dr. Frank Stableford invented the Stableford scoring system format back in 1931. He was a golfer associated with the Wallasey and Royal Liverpool Golf Clubs. The first competition played under the Stableford golf scoring rules took place at Wallasey on May 16th in 1932.


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Stableford Rules: A Scoring Method in the Sport of Golf Explained Simply for Beginners