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Welshman Frank Stableford invented the “Stableford” golf tournament format in the late 1800s to discourage golfers from giving up on a round after just one or two bad holes. It became all the rage in the U.K. and Ireland right away as those countries have wind speeds higher than your average U.S. tornado. At least one or two scores are often in the stratosphere due to the brutal conditions. Stableford rules are ideal to keep golf tournaments competitive because even if a player/team has a couple of blow-up holes, they’re still in the game.

Here’s How Stableford Works

Unlike most golf tournament formats, in a Stableford, the high score wins just like in football, basketball, and baseball (and cricket if you’re in England). In Stableford scoring, points are awarded depending on the score for each hole. A player or team scores one Stableford point for a bogey, two for par, three for a birdie, four for an eagle and five for an albatross. Double-bogies and worse just get a zero. Are you beginning to see how it became popular? Instead of a dreaded snowman (otherwise known as taking eight on a hole, ouch!), the score is zero.

The individual or team wins the Stableford golf competition by scoring the most Stableford points overall. And player handicaps can be used so this golf tournament is fair and fun for all. For example, if a player takes six shots on a par-4 hole, but is entitled to one shot because of his or her handicap, the net score is five. That’s a bogey which earns one Stableford point.

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