How Is Match Play Golf Scored?

By Contributing Writer

Match play golf is typically a form of one-on-one competition in which the victor is the player who wins the most holes, rather than the player who shoots the lowest total score. 
 

Winning a Hole

The player who shoots the lowest score on a given hole is the winner of that hole. If a player is well behind on the hole, he may concede it to his opponent.

Winning a Match

A player wins a match play competition when they are ahead by more holes than what remain. In a 18-hole competition for example, a player is victorious if they are three holes ahead through the 16th hole, since only two holes remain.

Scoring

The score of the match is identified by holes, not strokes. A player who has won two more holes than his opponent is said to be two-up, for example. If the match is even, it is called all-square.

Final Score

Final scores are determined by how many holes the winner was ahead and how many holes remained when the match ended. For example, a player who wins by pulling four holes ahead with three holes remaining has won 4 and 3.

Types

Match play also be played in two-player teams. Scores for each hole are set by the low player for each team. This form of competition is called best-ball or four-ball.
Two-man teams also can play alternate shot or two-ball competitions, in which the two players on each side play the same ball and take turns on shots.

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