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21
Other Forms of Individual Stroke Play and Match Play
Purpose: Rule 21 covers four other forms of individual play, including three forms of stroke play where scoring is different than in regular stroke play: Stableford (scoring by points awarded on each hole); Maximum Score (the score for each hole is capped at a maximum); and Par/Bogey (match play scoring used on a hole by hole basis).
21
Other Forms of Individual Stroke Play and Match Play
21.1

Stableford

a

Overview of Stableford

Stableford is a form of stroke play where:
  • A player’s or side's score for a hole is based on points awarded by comparing the player’s or side's number of strokes (including strokes made and penalty strokes) on the hole to a fixed target score for the hole set by the Committee, and
  • The competition is won by the player or side who completes all rounds with the most points.
The normal Rules for stroke play in Rules 1-20 apply, as modified by these specific Rules. Rule 21.1 is written for:
  • Scratch competitions, but can be adapted for handicap competitions, and
  • Individual play, but can be adapted for competitions involving partners, as modified by Rules 22 (Foursomes) and 23 (Four-Ball), and for team competitions, as modified by Rule 24.
b

Scoring in Stableford

(1) How Points Are Awarded. Points are awarded to a player for each hole by comparing the player’s score to the fixed target score for the hole, which is par unless the Committee sets a different fixed target score: Hole Played In  More than one over fixed target score or no score returned - 0 Points  One over fixed target score - 1 Point  Fixed target score - 2 Points  One under fixed target score - 3 Points  Two under fixed target score - 4 Points  Three under fixed target score - 5 Points  Four under fixed target score - 6 Points A player who does not hole out under the Rules for any reason gets zero points for the hole. To help pace of play, players are encouraged to stop playing a hole when their score will result in zero points. The hole is completed when the player holes out, chooses not to do so or when his or her score will result in zero points. (2) Score Entered for Each Hole. To meet the requirements in Rule 3.3b for entering hole scores on the scorecard:
  • If Hole Is Completed by Holing Out.
    • When Score Would Result in Points Being Awarded. The scorecard must show the actual score.
    • When Score Would Result in Zero Points. The scorecard must show either no score or any score that results in zero points being awarded.
  • If Hole Is Completed Without Holing Out. If the player does not hole out under the Rules, the scorecard must show either no score or any score that results in zero points being awarded.
The Committee is responsible for calculating how many points the player gets on each hole and, in a handicap competition, for applying handicap strokes to the score entered for each hole before calculating the number of points. See Committee Procedures, Section 5A(5) (the Terms of the Competition may encourage but not require players to enter the points awarded for each hole on the scorecard)
c

Penalties in Stableford

(1) Penalties Other Than Disqualification. All penalty strokes are added to the player’s score for the hole where the breach happened, but there are three exceptions: Exception 1 – Excess, Shared, Added or Replaced Clubs: If a player breaches Rule 4.1b (Limit of 14 Clubs; Sharing, Adding or Replacing Clubs During Round), the Committee will deduct two points (if the breach applies to only one hole) or four points (if the breach applies to two or more holes) under Rule 4.1b from the player’s total points for the round. Exception 2 – Time of Starting: If a player breaches Rule 5.3a by (1) arriving late but within five minutes after the starting time or (2) starting early but within five minutes of the starting time (see Rule 5.3 Penalty Statement, Exceptions 1 and 2), the Committee will deduct two points from the player’s total points for the round. Exception 3 – Unreasonable Delay: If a player breaches Rule 5.6a, the Committee will deduct one point for the first breach and an additional two points for the second breach from the player’s total points for the round. (For a third breach of Rule 5.6a, see Rule 21.1c(2).) For each exception, the player must report the facts about the breach to the Committee before returning the scorecard so that the Committee may apply the penalty. If the player fails to do so, the player is disqualified. See Committee Procedures, Section 8; Model Local Rule K-3 (how to adopt Pace of Play Policy in Stableford with deduction of points used in the penalties for breach). (2) Disqualification Penalties. A player who breaches any of these four Rules is not disqualified but gets zero points for the hole where the breach happened:
  • Failure to hole out under Rule 3.3c,
  • Failure to correct mistake of playing from outside the teeing area in starting a hole (see Rule 6.1b(2)),
  • Failure to correct mistake of playing a wrong ball (see Rule 6.3c), or
  • Failure to correct mistake of playing from a wrong place when there is a serious breach (see Rule 14.7b).
If the player breaches any other Rule with a penalty of disqualification, the player is disqualified.
d

Exception to Rule 11.2 in Stableford

Rule 11.2 does not apply in this situation: If a player’s ball in motion needs to be holed to get one point on the hole and any person deliberately deflects or stops the ball at a time when there is no reasonable chance it can be holed, there is no penalty to that person and the player gets zero points on the hole.
e

When Round Ends in Stableford

A player’s round ends when the player:
  • Holes out on his or her final hole (including correction of a mistake, such as under Rule 6.1 or 14.7b), or
  • Chooses not to hole out on the final hole or already cannot get more than zero points on the hole.
21.2

Maximum Score

a

Overview of Maximum Score

Maximum Score is a form of stroke play where a player’s or side's score for a hole is capped at a maximum number of strokes set by the Committee, such as two times par, a fixed number or net double bogey. The normal Rules for stroke play in Rules 1-20 apply, as modified by these specific Rules. Rule 21.2 is written for:
  • Scratch competitions, but can be adapted for handicap competitions as well, and
  • Individual play, but can be adapted for competitions involving partners, as modified by Rules 22 (Foursomes) and 23 (Four-Ball), and for team competitions, as modified by Rule 24.
b

Scoring in Maximum Score

(1) Player’s Score on Hole. A player’s score for a hole is based on the player’s number of strokes (including strokes made and penalty strokes), except that the player will get only the maximum score even if the actual score exceeds the maximum. A player who does not hole out under the Rules for any reason gets the maximum score for the hole. To help pace of play, players are encouraged to stop playing a hole when their score has reached the maximum. The hole is completed when the player holes out, chooses not to do so or when his or her score has reached the maximum. (2) Score Entered for Each Hole. To meet the requirements in Rule 3.3b for entering hole scores on the scorecard:
  • If Hole Is Completed by Holing Out.
    • When Score Is Lower Than Maximum. The scorecard must show the actual score.
    • When Score Is Same as or Higher Than Maximum. The scorecard must show either no score or any score at or above the maximum.
  • If Hole Is Completed Without Holing Out. If the player does not hole out under the Rules, the scorecard must show either no score or any score at or above the maximum.
The Committee is responsible for adjusting the player’s score to the maximum for any hole where the scorecard shows either no score or any score above the maximum and, in a handicap competition, for applying handicap strokes to the score entered for each hole.
c

Penalties in Maximum Score

All penalties that apply in stroke play apply in Maximum Score, except that a player who breaches any of these four Rules is not disqualified but gets the maximum score for the hole where the breach happened:
  • Failure to hole out under Rule 3.3c,
  • Failure to correct mistake of playing from outside the teeing area in starting a hole (see Rule 6.1b(2)),
  • Failure to correct mistake of playing a wrong ball (see Rule 6.3c), or
  • Failure to correct mistake of playing from a wrong place when there is a serious breach (see Rule 14.7b).
If the player breaches any other Rule with a penalty of disqualification, the player is disqualified. After applying any penalty strokes, the player’s score for a hole cannot exceed the maximum score set by the Committee.
d

Exception to Rule 11.2 in Maximum Score

Rule 11.2 does not apply in this situation: If a player’s ball in motion needs to be holed to score one lower than the maximum score on the hole and any person deliberately deflects or stops the ball at a time when there is no reasonable chance it can be holed, there is no penalty to that person and the player gets the maximum score on the hole.
e

When Round Ends in Maximum Score

A player’s round ends when the player:
  • Holes out on his or her final hole (including correction of a mistake, such as under Rule 6.1 or 14.7b), or
  • Chooses not to hole out on the final hole or already will get the maximum score on the hole.
21.3

Par/Bogey

a

Overview of Par/Bogey

Par/Bogey is a form of stroke play that uses scoring as in match play where:
  • A player or side wins or loses a hole by completing the hole in fewer strokes or more strokes than a fixed target score for that hole set by the Committee, and
  • The competition is won by the player or side with the highest total of holes won versus holes lost (that is, adding up the holes won and deducting the holes lost).
The normal Rules for stroke play in Rules 1-20 apply, as modified by these specific Rules. Rule 21.3 is written for:
  • Scratch competitions, but can be adapted for handicap competitions as well, and
  • Individual play, but can be adapted for competitions involving partners, as modified by Rules 22 (Foursomes) and 23 (Four-Ball), and for team competitions, as modified by Rule 24.
b

Scoring in Par/Bogey

(1) How Holes Are Won or Lost. Scoring is done as in match play, with holes being won or lost by comparing the player’s number of strokes (including strokes made and penalty strokes) to the fixed target score (typically par or bogey) set by the Committee:
  • If the player’s score is lower than the fixed score, the player wins the hole.
  • If the player’s score is the same as the fixed score, the hole is tied (also known as halved).
  • If the player’s score is higher than the fixed score, or no score is returned, the player loses the hole.
A player who does not hole out under the Rules for any reason loses the hole. To help pace of play, players are encouraged to stop playing a hole when their score exceeds the fixed score (as they have lost the hole). The hole is completed when the player holes out, chooses not to do so or when his or her score exceeds the fixed score. (2) Score Entered for Each Hole. To meet the requirements in Rule 3.3b for entering hole scores on the scorecard:
  • If Hole Is Completed by Holing Out:
    • When Score Results in Hole Being Won or Tied. The scorecard must show the actual score.
    • When Score Results in Hole Being Lost. The scorecard must show either no score or any score that results in the hole being lost.
  • If Hole Is Completed Without Holing Out. If the player does not hole out under the Rules, the scorecard must show either no score or any score that results in the hole being lost.
The Committee is responsible for deciding whether the player won, lost or tied each hole and, in a handicap competition, for applying handicap strokes to the score entered for each hole before deciding the result of the hole. Exception – No Penalty If No Effect on Result of Hole: If the player returns a scorecard with a hole score lower than the actual score but this does not affect whether the hole was won, lost or tied, there is no penalty under Rule 3.3b. See Committee Procedures, Section 5A(5) (the Terms of the Competition may encourage but not require players to enter the result of the hole on the scorecard).
c

Penalties in Par/Bogey

(1) Penalties Other Than Disqualification. All penalty strokes are added to the player’s score for the hole where the breach happened, but there are three exceptions: Exception 1 – Excess, Shared, Added or Replaced Clubs: If a player breaches Rule 4.1b (Limit of 14 Clubs; Sharing, Adding and Replacing Clubs), the Committee will deduct one hole (if the breach applies to only one hole) or two holes (if the breach applies to two or more holes) under Rule 4.1b from the player’s total of holes won versus holes lost. Exception 2 – Time of Starting: If a player breaches Rule 5.3a by (1) arriving late but within five minutes after the starting time or (2) starting early but within five minutes of the starting time (see Rule 5.3 Penalty Statement, Exceptions 1 and 2), the Committee will deduct one hole from the player’s total of holes won versus holes lost. Exception 3 – Unreasonable Delay: If a player breaches Rule 5.6a:
  • Penalty for first breach: The player gets one penalty stroke on the hole where the breach occurred.
  • Penalty for second breach: The Committee will deduct one hole from the player’s total of holes won versus holes lost.
  • For a third breach of Rule 5.6a, see Rule 21.3c(2).)
For each exception, the player must report the facts about the breach to the Committee before returning the scorecard so that the Committee may apply the penalty. If the player fails to do so, the player is disqualified. (2) Disqualification Penalties. A player who breaches any of these four Rules is not disqualified but loses the hole where the breach happened:
  • Failure to hole out under Rule 3.3c,
  • Failure to correct mistake of playing from outside the teeing area in starting a hole (see Rule 6.1b(2)),
  • Failure to correct mistake of playing a wrong ball (see Rule 6.3c), or
  • Failure to correct mistake of playing from a wrong place when there is a serious breach (see Rule 14.7b).
If the player breaches any other Rule with a penalty of disqualification, the player is disqualified. See Committee Procedures, Section 8; Model Local Rule K-4 (how to adopt Pace of Play Policy in Par/Bogey with deduction of holes used in the penalties for breach ).
d

Exception to Rule 11.2 in Par/Bogey

Rule 11.2 does not apply in this situation: If a player’s ball in motion needs to be holed to tie the hole and any person deliberately deflects or stops the ball at a time when there is no reasonable chance it can be holed, there is no penalty to that person and the player loses the hole.
e

When Round Ends in Par/Bogey

A player’s round ends when the player:
  • Holes out on his or her final hole (including correction of a mistake, such as under Rule 6.1 or 14.7b), or
  • Chooses not to hole out on the final hole or has already lost the hole.
21.4

Three-Ball Match Play

a

Overview of Three-Ball Match Play

Three-Ball Match Play is a form of match play where:
  • Each of three players plays an individual match against the other two players at the same time, and
  • Each player plays one ball that is used in both of his or her matches.
The normal Rules for match play in Rules 1-20 apply to all three individual matches, except that these specific Rules apply in two situations where applying the normal Rules in one match might conflict with applying them in another match.
b

Playing Out of Turn

If a player plays out of turn in any match, the opponent who should have played first may cancel the stroke under Rule 6.4a(2): If the player played out of turn in both matches, each opponent may choose whether to cancel the stroke in his or her match with the player. If a player’s stroke is cancelled only in one match:
  • The player must continue play with the original ball in the other match.
  • This means the player must complete the hole by playing a separate ball in each match.
c

Ball or Ball-Marker Lifted or Moved by One Opponent

If an opponent gets one penalty stroke for lifting a player’s ball or ball-marker or causing the ball or ball-marker to move under Rule 9.5b or 9.7b, that penalty applies only in the match with that player. The opponent gets no penalty in his or her match with the other player.
21.5

Other Forms of Playing Golf

Although only certain forms of play are specifically covered by Rules 3, 21, 22 and 23, golf is also played in many other forms, such as scrambles and greensomes. The Rules can be adapted to govern play in these and other forms of play. See Committee Procedures, Section 9 (recommended ways to adapt the Rules for other common forms of play).
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