Match play is tally record in golf when a player alone or as a team scores a point out of every hole in which they have excelled their competitor. This is unlike stroke play where collective strokes are enumerated by playing single or more rounds in 18 holes. Talking of professional golf, a small segment of well-known tournaments make use of match play record tally system.

Some of the professional tournaments based on match play include:

  • Biennial Ryder Cup played between the USA and Europe
  • Biennial Presidents Cup is held between the USA and non-European team
  • Volvo World Match Play Championship through invitation a segment of a European tour. It was earlier called PGA Championship

Classification of the Game

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The two bifurcation of the basic golf game is match play and stroke play. The other types of plays which are official category are Stableford whereas the team play is called Foursome as well as Four-Ball games. Stroke Play is the ultimate accepted standard rivalry game of golf at tournaments. The players or team contends for 18 holes; the overall strokes are tallied. The team with the lowest worth score is declared the winner. The players play as threes and rarely as twos.

Match Play

Match Play is played between two players or two teams. Each hole is played as an independent competition. The team with the lesser tally wins the hole. The number of shots is not taken into consideration. If the game is a draw if both teams have identical scoring. The competition is about winning the hole. Most clubs organize this time of the game.


Foursome game as cited in Rule 29 of the Rules of Golf is carried on among two players as an association; they hit the one ball alternately. Odd numbered holes are tees for one player while the other player plays the even holes. It is not into consideration as to who played the conclusive putt towards the first hole.

The game is played till the hole is concluded. Penalty shots do not modify the sequence of play. This game rule of either match play or stroke play is followed.


All players are aware that they are not permitted to take or give advice during the play. However, many are not clear as to what is considered advice. Advice is any suggestion which affects the consequence of the game. It can affect:

Golfer Suggestion

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However, rules related at the time of the game are not advice.

On January 2008, the word distance was clarified and was not taken as advice during the game. Rule 8-1 elaborates on player behavior:

  1. A player shall not offer advice during the rivalry game to anyone except his partner.
  2. A player will not consult anyone except his partner or caddies

Questions like cited below cause a retribution of twin stroke if the game is of strokes or forfeiting a hole in match play for asking or giving counsel.

  • Do you consider that 8-iron will help me gain green?
  • Is my swing rapid?
  • I estimate the putt as straight what is your opinion?
  • What should do with this ball? Shall I take a penalty drop?


The opponent can cancel the shot you play in many scenarios, and you are made to replay in match play.

In stroke play, the same wrongdoing brings an outcome of 2-stroke penalty or else non-penalty at all.  Playing out of turn while in a game of stroke play the etiquette is overlooked; however there is no penalty. If you are in a match play, you will be made to replay the ball to keep up the sequence.


Whacking the opponent or his equipment accidently or on purpose is rule breaking. It is called rub of the green. If the game is of the match, play you get a replay. If the ball is whipped towards the remaining green and the putt hits another ball laid on the green in stroke play you get a chance for a 2-stroke penalty. No penalty in match play.

Relinquished Putts

In a non-competitive game, players take and give gimmies.  These are puny putts which are picked and not hit. It is illegal according to rule book but happens in the recreational game. However in match play, it is legal. It does not matter it is 6 inches or 60 feet. Conceded putts are given but are not requested.

Method of Playing

In stroke play the player collects strokes in an 18-hole game. The lowest stroke player is the winner. In match play, every hole is a game in itself. The golfer with the lowest stroke on an individual hole is declared the winner. The stroke is actually a relationship between the player and the course. In match player, it is one player against the other.


If it is a stroke play and you skip tee time you are disqualified. But in match play even if you are delayed you can join the game.  You can join the game by the second tee. The first hole has been forfeited, but you can play the game on no. 2. If you do not appear by No. 2 time you stand disqualified.

Rightist Game

The goal of Match Play is to gain individual holes. Suppose the competitor plays a good shot, and it motivates you to do the same; but if your competitor’s shot lands in a pond that alerts you to avoid that mistake. It is a game reaction. Your outcomes on the variety of shots you play are connected to your game standing, whether you are progressing or lagging behind. The second factor is the hole-status.

Teeing Ground

The ball is shot from the exterior of the teeing ground. If it is a game of stroke, it calls for 2-stroke punishment. However in match play, there is no such term that means stroke punishment, but your competitor has the power to cancel the shot you played. A replay is needed.

Green Strategy

The strategy in match play is seen on the green. Suppose you have a precarious downhill putt. If the game is of stroke play, you will take precaution not to play the putt beyond the hole. In stroke game, a bigger tally on the individual hole can spoil the round of the game.

Double Breech of Rule

In the golf rule book, the conclusion highlights the penalty option. The player breaks the laid down procedures he has to face a penalty. In stroke play, it is twin strokes and in match play, it is forfeiting of the hole. For instance, the golfer breaks Rule 19 and faces the specific penalty of a law book. The mistake is compounded by an error in the method of continuing the game. It is thus the double penalty.


Match play computes nerves and sportsmanship in the game and the player. Both enhance the ability and the game. You feel competition in your nerves. The presence of the competitor close to you makes you strong to carry the game forward with rules and planning. To beat the heat you play cautiously and if winning the game, you become relaxed. The game is based on good sportsmanship.


We welcome our readers to communicate with us regarding the game and its rules. We will support all your queries in a very systematic way. We are interactive and prompt in talking with you. Give us your feedback.

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