Is he playing strikes or is he playing a match? Our golf grammar expert reveals everything you need to know

Which stroke play format uses match scoring? Welcome to Par Bogey – a game that can be played from scratch, with handicaps, and also in four-ball, four-ball and team competitions.

Rule 21.3 says that a player, or a side, wins or loses a hole in a Par Bogey by either completing the hole with fewer strokes, or more strokes, than “the fixed target score for that hole set by the committee”.

The player or side with the most holes won vs. the lost holes wins the Par Bogey competition. You basically add up the won holes, and get rid of the missing holes, to get the total.

How does registration work?

You win and lose holes, as you would in a match game, by comparing the number of blows taken to the hole against the fixed target score set by the committee.

This target result is usually set as equal or ghost – hence the name of the format. If the score scored by you or your team is less than that fixed score, you win the gap.

If they are the same, then the hole is restricted. If it is higher, you will miss the hole. If you don’t return the result in a hole, or you don’t make it out, you will lose the hole. Simple, isn’t it?

Like many other formats, players are encouraged to shoot when their score exceeds the fixed target and they miss the loophole.

So what do you put on the scorecard?

If you win the hole or tie it, you need to record the actual result. If your result results in missing a gap, you need to show which result leads to that result or no result at all.

If for any reason you don’t run out, the scorecard either shows no score or any score that could mean the hole is missing.

Rule 21.3 (2) states that it is up to the Commission to decide “whether a player has won, lost or tied for each hole, and in a handicap competition, to apply handicap strokes to the score entered for each hole before the outcome of the hole is determined”.

This is a really great way of saying that the competition committee’s job in the end is to collect the totals won/lossed.

Are any penalties different from the strike game?

They do and there are a few of them buckle up as we go in…

– If the scorecard has a score lower than the actual score, but that does not mean if the hole was won, restricted or included, you will not be disqualified under Rule 3.3b.

– If you have more than 14 clubs, or share, add and replace clubs when not permitted, the committee will deduct one hole for breach, up to a maximum of two, from the total number of holes won for loss.

Remember what Rule 5.3a says about starting times? If you start five minutes earlier, or five minutes later than your tee time, the commission will deduct one hole from the total.

– What if you unreasonably delay playing? It’s one penalty for the first breach, a hole punch for the second, and then disqualification for any other infractions.

– You will not be disqualified, but you will lose a gap if: you fail to go out, you fail to correct a play from outside the tee, you fail to correct a wrong ball play, you fail to correct a wrong ball play when there is a serious breach.

Is there anything else?

Rule 11.2 penalizes those who intentionally deflect or stop the ball. Normally you get a generic penalty (2 shots or a gap loss in playing the match), but the 21.3d rule applies as an exception when playing Par Bogey.

If you need to puncture your throw to line a hole and it is deliberately deflected or stopped “at a time when there is no reasonable opportunity to punch it”, there is no penalty and the player loses the hole.

When does the tour end?

A Par Bogey round is completed when the player or side exits the final hole, chooses not to, or has already lost the hole.

Have you ever played the Par Bogey format? Let me know how you got on tweet.


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