How to calculate golf handicap and stableford points

Written by matthew keller
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How to calculate golf handicap and stableford points
(final swing image by msw from

The Stableford Points format is a popular format for some golf tournament. In golf, a winner is traditionally determined by the individual with the fewest strokes. In the Stableford format, the player with the highest number of points is declared the winner. The Stableford Points competition can be played with gross or net scores. With net scores, the player's USGA Index must be converted to a course handicap with a course conversion chart.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • USGA Index
  • Course Conversion Chart
  • Course Handicap
  • Scorecard

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  1. 1

    Determine USGA Index. A USGA index is issued by a golf club or authorised golf association. Most golf courses will charge players around £16 to establish a handicap, which is essentially a way to balance the competition between players of varying skill. A minimum of five scores must be posted to establish a player's USGA Index.

  2. 2

    Convert the USGA index to a course handicap. The course handicap is based on the slope rating of the tees being played. Every golf course should have a course conversion chart. Match the USGA Index to the conversion chart to determine the course handicap.

  3. 3

    Determine Stableford competition points now that you have the course handicap. Players earn points in relation to a fixed score, normally par. Below is the USGA's recommendation for scoring a Stableford competition (Fixed score represents Par or Net Par).

    0 Points: More than one over fixed score (Double Bogey 1 )

    1 Point: One over fixed score (Bogey)

    2 Points: Fixed score (Par)

    3 Points: One under fixed score (Birdie)

    4 Ponts: Two under fixed score (Eagle)

    5 Points: Three under fixed score (Double Eagle)

    6 Points: Four under fixed score

  4. 4

    Start the scoring. Players with a course handicap receive strokes on the most difficult rated holes on the golf course. For example, someone who has a course handicap of 15 receives one stroke on the 15 most difficult rated holes on the course. If they have a gross score of bogey on those holes, they earn a net score of par. The net score of par is given the appropriate number of points under the rules of the Stableford competition.

  5. 5

    Add the total points for 18 holes. The winner is determined by the player with the most points at the end of the competition.

    How to calculate golf handicap and stableford points
    (Golf image by Vanessa van Rensburg from

Tips and warnings

  • The Stableford competition is covered under the USGA Rules of Golf.
  • The Tournament Committee will ultimately decide point values. A Modified Stableford competition can use a different point value. For example, a tournament committee could issue negative points for scores over the fixed score.

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