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Golf is essentially a self-regulating game. Players are responsible for knowing the rules and are expected to apply them correctly, with all formats of competition.

However, at times golf can be a complex game with a myriad of terminology, formats and rules. Please read below for a brief summary on the various individual and team competitions that you may come across as a member of Hastings Golf Club.

If you are uncertain about any aspects of competition or rules, please discuss your query with your Club Captain, or Golf Professional. They would be more than happy to assist.

Golf Games for Individuals

There are four basic games of golf that are played between individuals:

• Stroke
• Stableford
• Par
• Match play.

The rules of golf define Stableford and Par as types of stroke play, but because they are scored differently we treat them here as separate games. A brief description of each is given below.

In Stroke games the actual number of strokes and any penalties the player may incur for the whole game is the score. That number is then reduced by the player’s golf handicap to give the result. The lowest result is the winner.

In Stableford competitions players score a number of points on each hole. Each player’s golf handicap is used in conjunction with the index and par for each hole to give a target score. If the target is achieved or bettered, points are scored. There is a single point awarded if the target is missed by one stroke. The result is the number of points. The player with the most points is the winner.

Par is a competition, where, like Stableford, a target on each hole is established for the player. A player scores on a hole if the target for the hole is equalled or bettered.

Match play
Match play is a knockout competition. Each hole is won or drawn and the player winning the most holes is the winner.

Team Games

Matches between golf clubs are called pennants. They can be for various grades and can be for various categories of players such as juniors and women. Pennant games are always match play (see above for description).

Ambrose is a golf game played between teams, usually of four players.

Despite the name, foursomes are played between teams of two with each team sharing a ball.

Four Ball.
Four ball competitions are also played between teams of two but each player uses his/her own ball. Four ball competitions may be ‘better ball’ or ‘aggregate’.

In a four ball, better ball competition only the better score of the team is used.

In aggregate, four ball games, the two scores are added together.

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