The Stableford competition is probably the most common event played at club level. The system takes its name from Dr Stableford of the
Liverpool Golf Club, and was introduced in 1931. It involves scoring points based on results at each hole.
Using the index for each hole, players firstly make a mental allocation of their full handicap over eighteen holes. For example, a player on a handicap of 18 will add one shot to the par value for each hole to determine his or her own par for the hole. Thus a hole rated as a par 4 becomes a par 5 for the player.
The points scoring method is then calculated by allocating two points for a par, one point for one over, three points for one under, four points for two under, and so on.
Players who exceed their own par by two strokes score no points for the hole and, since they cannot improve on that result, they should then pick up their ball and hope to score points on the next hole.
At the end of a round, all points scored are added for each nine holes and totalled for eighteen holes. The player with the most points is the winner.
The Stableford competition has two major advantages. First, it speeds up the game since there is no point continuing to play a hole once your own par is exceeded by two strokes. Second, it means you can have one or two bad holes, but compensate for them during the balance of your round.
It is not essential and only customary when marking the scorecard, for the marker to indicate or calculate the stableford points scored by a player. However it is necessary that the number of strokes taken must always be shown for holes where points are scored.