What the heck is Stableford Scoring in golf?

Here’s a brief history of Stableford scoring and how to keep score using it:


  • Dr. Frank Stableford introduced his scoring system in 1932, and it quickly gained popularity among golfers. It was first used at the Wallasey Golf Club, and its simplicity and effectiveness led to its adoption by many golf clubs and organizations worldwide.

How to Keep Score Using Stableford Scoring:

  1. Assigning Points: In Stableford scoring, golfers earn points on each hole based on their performance relative to a predetermined target score, which is typically par. The number of points awarded for each score relative to par is as follows:

    • Double Eagle (3 under par): 5 points
    • Eagle (2 under par): 4 points
    • Birdie (1 under par): 3 points
    • Par: 2 points
    • Bogey (1 over par): 1 point
    • Double Bogey or worse (2 or more over par): 0 points
  2. Recording Scores: Golfers record their gross scores (the number of strokes they take to complete each hole) as they would in regular stroke play. However, in Stableford scoring, you do not simply add up your strokes to get your total score.

  3. Calculating Points: For each hole, calculate the points earned based on the golfer’s performance compared to par. For example, if a golfer scores a bogey on a par-4 hole (1 over par), they earn 1 point for that hole.

  4. Adding Up Points: At the end of the round, add up the points earned on each hole to get the golfer’s total Stableford score for the round.

  5. Handicap Adjustment: In many Stableford competitions, players’ handicaps are taken into account to level the playing field. The golfer’s handicap is subtracted from their total points to determine the net Stableford score. This adjustment helps golfers of varying skill levels compete fairly.

  6. Winner Determination: The golfer with the highest Stableford score is the winner. In some cases, there may be prizes or payouts for various levels of performance, such as the top three finishers.

Stableford scoring is popular because it allows golfers of different skill levels to compete together in a fun and inclusive way. It encourages aggressive play since players are rewarded for making birdies and eagles, even if they have a few bogeys along the way. This scoring system also helps speed up the pace of play as golfers who are out of contention on a particular hole can pick up their balls, reducing the time it takes to complete a round.