Golf’s Stableford scoring system rewards golfers with points on a hole-by-hole basis for shooting certain scores. The lower your score, the more points you receive. The golfer with the most points wins. The Stableford system is a popular format at golf clubs and is often used for charity outings. The system tends to benefit higher-handicap players because a very high score on a hole is not penalized with negative points.
Here’s how to calculate a Stableford score.
- First, you need to know your course handicap. Use your USGA handicap index to get the conversion to the course handicap. Ask a golf professional if you need help.
- Once you have the course handicap, you need to figure out your adjusted par. If your handicap is 18, then you will add 1 stroke to par each hole to get your adjusted par. If you are a 10 handicap, then you will add 1 stroke to par on the 10 hardest handicap holes to get your adjusted par.
- Before you start the round, write your adjusted par on the scorecard to prevent later confusion. After every hole, fill in your gross (non-adjusted) score and any points you may have earned in the box below your score.
- Decide on the point system. Typically, the value system that is followed is: 0 points – 2 strokes or more over adjusted par; 1 point – 1 stroke over adjusted par; 2 points – your adjusted par; 3 points – 1 stroke under your adjusted par; 4 points – 2 strokes under your adjusted par; 5 points – 3 strokes under your adjusted par.
- Play using the scoring system.
If you reach 2 strokes over adjusted par on a hole before completion of the hole, you may pick up the ball. It has no effect on your score and it speeds up play.
Some formats subtract points for bogeys, double-bogeys or worse. This just adds more calculations and possible errors when figuring scores. Use a positive-point-only format to eliminate confusion.