Stableford Scoring

Dr. Frank Stableford

The Stableford system of scoring was invented in 1931 by Dr. Frank Stableford.

He developed the system after playing the second hole at the Wallasey & Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Cheshire England.  Reflecting on the impossibility for most golfers of reaching the 458-yard par four in two, he decided to come up with a scoring method that would keep golfers from ruining their rounds at the very outset.  His innovation reduced the negative effect of bad holes:  A golfer receives one point for a bogey, two for par, three for birdie, and so forth; anything higher than a bogey is simply a zero.  The first competition played under Stableford rules took place at Wallasey on May 16, 1932.  A plaque at the second hole today commemorates the event.

The scoring system is as follows:

2 or more over par

0 points

1 over par

1 points


2 points

1 under par

3 points

2 under par

4 points

and so on..


Stableford Scoring with a Handicap

If you have a handicap you will give yourself strokes on certain holes. If your handicap is 12 then you will get an additional stroke on the 12 most difficult holes of the course. If you have a handicap of 28 you will get 2 strokes on the 10 most difficult holes (20 strokes) and 8 strokes on the remaining holes, for a total of 28 strokes. Determining how many strokes per hole is easy up to an 18 handicap, it is simply a stroke per hole, e.g. 17 handicap you get 1 stroke on the 17 most difficult holes. For numbers greater than 18, your handicap minus 18 is the number of holes that get two strokes. For example, a 30 handicap is 30-18=12, so the hardest 12 holes get two strokes per hole (24 srokes), and the remaining 6 get 1 stroke per hole.

Say you score a 6 on a par 4 hole, and you get two handicap strokes that hole. You will adjust your score down 2, from a 6 to a 4, and give yourself two Stableford points for a par. You subtract your handicap first, and then score it.

On the scorecard we keep the gross score, and beneath that the Stableford score. This allows the scorers to double-check the score and make sure it all adds up.

If you are not going to score any points on the hole, for example the best you can do is double-bogey even with your handicap, then you will get 0 points for the hole, and there is no need to play the hole out. Of course you can play the hole out, but if you are thwacking away at it for a while, still hitting 7 when 150 yards from the hole, it would be kind to concede this hole, and move on to the next one, so that golfers are not kept waiting.


In the case of a tie, there will be a countback starting from the most difficult hole. Whoever does better with their gross score first, will win.


PenPushers play by the U.S. Rules of Golf . This means hitting a provisional if you think your tee shot is lost or out of bounds, and playing according to the rules for hazards, unplayable balls, etc. There are no mulligans off the tees, and no gimmes on the greens.