The Stableford format is a popular format as it allows an individual golfer to play the course on his/her own merits but, in the event of a bad hole, allows the golfer to pick up the ball and move onto the next hole.
This can help to speed up the round and reduce frustration in a golfer who is not playing very well.
Example of Format
Stableford is a competition which can be played as an individual competition, a team competition or a combination of both.
Golfers are allocated a certain number of points on a hole depending on the net score of the player (or team). The aim of Stableford is to accumulate the most number of points over the course of 18 holes.
Depending on a players handicap a certain number of strokes are allocated on each hole.
The table of points is based on the net score of the individual player (after handicap adjustment) or the best team score as follows:
Double Bogey or worse - 0 points
Bogey - 1 point
Par - 2 points
Birdie - 3 points
Eagle - 4 points
Albatross - 5 points
Example—Golfer off 22 Handicap
If a golfer plays off a 22 handicap then they will receive 22 shots during the course of the round - 1 on each of the 18 holes and 2 strokes on those holes which are rated in difficulty of 1, 2, 3 and 4.
In this case a par 4 hole which is rated number 3 in difficulty will ensure the golfer receives 2 shots on the hole thus making the hole a Par 6. So if this golfer then scores a 5 on the hole this equates to a net birdie thus scoring the person 3 points (refer above table)
Example—Golfer off 14 Handicap
If a golfer plays off a 14 handicap then they will receive 14 shots during the course of the round - 1 on each of the 14 hardest holes. No strokes will be received on the holes rated 15, 16, 17 and 18 in difficulty.
In this case a par 4 hole which is rated number 11 in difficulty will ensure the golfer receives 1 shot thus making the hole effectively a par 5. So if this golfer then scores a 5 on the hole this equates to a net par thus scoring the person 2 points (refer above table).
Key Features of Stableford
Each player plays their own golf ball and records points based on their net score
Points are awarded according to the above table and reflect the difference between the Net Score of the golfer against the par of each particular hole
Once a player has reached a certain number of strokes the ball can be picked up without penalty and move onto the next hole
Each hole has a difficulty rating (as noted on the scorecard) which helps the golfer to determine if they receive an extra shot relative to the par of that hole
Points, once awarded, cannot be taken away. This means that a player who has played a good first 9 and then faded may still be in the running to win a prize for the good holes they played
Positives of Stableford
It allows each golfer to feel as though they have played the golf course with their own ball. This is often important to participants especially if they have not played a particular golf course before
Once a player has reached a certain number of strokes the ball can be picked up without penalty. This helps a player who may have been struggling on a given hole simply move onto the next hole
Good scores on individual holes are rewarded with a greater number of points allocated. Other formats (particularly Par) may not always reward good play fairly
Stableford can be a fast format if the standard of golfers is intermediate or higher
Points, once scored, cannot be taken away. This helps to relieve pressure on a player who may have started well but faded badly
Negatives of Stableford
Stableford is a format most suited where the standard of players in your field is intermediate or higher. Beginner golfers may feel intimidated (even though they can pick up their ball after a certain number of strokes) playing with better golfers
Stableford can be a slow format if the standard of golfers is beginner or thereabouts
Overall Comment on Stableford
A format where good play is rewarded. Generally is only used where the standard of golfers in the field is intermediate or higher. Used on occasion for Corporate Golf Days.