An Introduction to Match Play in Golf

Match play is a popular game in golf that many beginners are introduced to early on. Players play each other hole by hole. This game is different from stroke play which focuses more on how many strokes it takes within one round. A player has to win most of the balls played in match play. This is like playing one-on-one on the basketball court, but the concept is exercised in golf. Based on the total number of holes played, each player plays each hole to win or lose. Whoever has the most wins at the end of the round they are declared the winner.

Understanding Match Play Rules

You can take time to review rules beforehand to understand the format of the game better. Many golfers have found the rules to be extensive for a game with a simple concept such as one-on-one. Some players are known to get the rules mixed up with medal play due to similarities in the structure. There are a few points you want to remember to help you distinguish the game. The player with a ball away from the pin the furthest would go first. Players can pick up the ball and move to the next hole due to any hole being conceded.

What You Should Know about Scoring

The United States Golf Association handicap system is used for scoring. A player who completed the least amount of strokes is considered the winner of that hole. A player is expected to concede a hole if the other player seems to be the obvious winner. Basically, the game is over if an opponent is unable to win a certain amount of holes to catch up to the winner. An example would be if a player is up 4 holes but there are 2 left to play, the match is considered over.

What about Handicaps?

You can score in match play using a handicap system, also known as net scoring, or without it, known as gross scoring. Using a handicap system you have a couple of options depending on the tournament and players. If handicaps apply then players would stroke as necessary. An example would include a player carrying an 18 handicap and strokes on the 18 most challenging holes the scorecard indicates. The game match play can be fun to enjoy when you understand basic elements.