Understanding Match Play In Golf

Getting your head around all the rules involved in a round of golf can be a tough task for any beginner. Now pair that with a whole new set of rules for keeping score and things can get pretty confusing. That’s we’ve written this guide to understanding match play in golf so you can get a simple understanding of how each of these different types games of golf work.

What is match play in golf?

Matchplay is an alternative way of scoring golf which counts the total number of holes won versus your opponent as opposed to total score over the entire round.

Matchplay can be played in teams or individually against another player. The score on each hole works by counting up each stroke individually and then once both players finish the hole the one with fewer strokes wins.

If a player happens to win a hole by two strokes and then lose the next hole by a single stroke it will have no effect on the score. The score will still be 1-1.

If you happen to tie on the hole then the hole is usually halved. This means that each player gets half a point.

There are some iterations of match play in which instead of halving the hole players let the hole carry over. This means that instead of each getting a half-point the next hole is worth two points.

Once all holes are complete you must add up the total number of holes you have won. If you happen to tie golfers typically continue to play “sudden death” in which whoever wins the next hole wins the game.

What tournaments use matchplay?

Though match play is most commonly played by amateur there are still several tournaments that utilize this style of play.

The most famous example of match play in professional golf is the Ryder Cup.

This event consists of two teams, one made up of European golfers the other made up of Americans.

This tournament uses the matchplay scoring throughout and makes matchplay one of the few alternative play styles that have made it into professional golf.

Matchplay Strategy And Tips

Play It Safe

One way to earn yourself an advantage in match play is to play it safe. Though this tip may seem counterintuitive this is actually quite an effective strategy.

Often times golfers will look to take risks when playing match play as they believe they’ll need a good score to win the hole. In reality, this often results in golfers scoring poorly on the hole when the risk doesn’t pay off.

This leaves the door open for those golfers playing the hole safely and can give you an easy win.

Be Ready To Change Your Strategy

Whether it’s halfway through a hole or as you approach the last few holes you must be ready to change your strategy when necessary.

Switching between an aggressive and passive approach can be plenty handy depending on what the current situation calls for.

Don’t Think Too Much About The Score During Matchplay

Though it is important to realize the current score and situation it is important you don’t get too caught up in it. You will find that focusing too much on the score will take away from your game.

If you’re playing match play and get up you don’t want to be calculated at all times how many more holes you need to win. Leave the strategizing to the necessary times and just focus on your next swing.

How Do You Play Matchplay With Handicaps

Playing matchplay with handicaps is actually a fairly simple process. Using handicap when playing matchplay is the same as how it is used in most formats. You must take the difference between the handicaps of you and the player you are playing against.

This difference will represent the number of strokes the higher handicap golfer will receive throughout the round. The strokes are applied throughout the round based on the difficulty of the holes.

You will simply apply the strokes to the holes which have the highest level of difficulty. The holes will be marked on your scorecard by handicapp so they should be easy to identify.

Conclusion Understanding Match Play In Golf

We hope you enjoyed our guide to understanding match play in golf. If you have any questions regarding any of the info in our guide be sure to reach out. You can do this through our contact page or in the comments below.

If you did enjoy this guide be sure to check out some of our others. Such as our guide to understanding scramble or understanding golf balls.

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