An Overview of Golf Match Play and Stroke Play

Golf pic

Lisa A. Post is the president and owner of the Edward J. Post Co., Inc., in Medford, New Jersey. Beyond her activities as a business owner and surety bond producer, Lisa A. Post enjoys golfing at the Medford Village Country Club.

Amateur golfers can compete against one another in a variety of ways, though two of the more common styles of play include stroke play and match play. Stroke play is golf in its purest form. Two or more players contest a series of holes, generally nine or 18, and record the number of strokes they took to complete each hole. Players may need to record additional strokes due to hazard penalties or other infractions. After the final hole has been played, golfers tally their stroke total; the player with the fewest strokes wins the round.

Match play also emphasizes a player or team attempting to record the fewest number of strokes. However, stroke tallies do not carry over from hole to hole in match play. The winning golfer or team of golfers after one hole is awarded a single point.

At the start of the second hole, stroke totals reset and players compete for another point. In the event of a tie, players are either awarded zero points for the hole and move on, or roll the point from one hole to another, increasing the subsequent hole’s value to two points.