Match play golf

You've heard of match play in golf, but what is it and what are the rules? 




What is match play in Golf? 

Put simply, in match play you take on an opponent hole by hole rather than compete for the lowest overall score. 

You can have singles or doubles format along with some competitions that use your handicap and some that don't. 

The lowest score on a hole (net or gross depending on the format) wins that hole and earns themselves a point. If you win a hole it's known as going 1up. Each hole you win you go up more, so 2up, 3up, 4up etc. Every time you lose a hole you take a point off. So say you were 3up and lost, you'd go back to 2up, if you lost the next it's back to 1up and so on. If you start losing overall it's known as going down, so 1down, 2down etc..  

If you draw the hole then nothing changes and the score stays as it is. 

Do Handicaps count in Match play?

In most competitions they do yes. In order to work out how many shots you'll get (or are giving to your opponent) you take the lowest handicap away from the highest and the difference is how many shots you're giving. 

Say for example your handicap is 10, and your opponents is 15. The difference is 5 so you're giving your opponent 5 shots. 

You'll be giving the shots on stroke index's 1-5. 

How does pairs match play handicap work? 

For pairs match play you all play 90% of your handicap. Then to work out how many shots you're all receiving, the lowest handicap plays off scratch (0) and the rest of the players get the difference between the lowest handicap and theirs. 

So for example:

Team 1

Player A - 9 x 0.9 = 8.1
Player B - 14 x 0.9 = 12.6

Team 2

Player C - 15 x 0.9 = 13.5
Player D - 17 x 0.9 = 15.3

Shots received (round the handicap):
Player A - 0
Player B - 4.5 (5 shots) 

Player C - 5.4 (5 shots)
Player D - 7.2 (7 shots)


What are the rules?

The good thing with match play is that to a degree you can be a little more relaxed with the rules.

For example if you putt it close, your opponent can 'give you the putt' which means you don't have to finish it off. Interestingly you opponent may choose to ignore a rule breach if they wish. If you drop the ball in the wrong place, they may choose to overlook this. 

But be aware with both of the above, the opponent makes the decision and you have to accept it whatever it is.


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