What Are the Modes of Golf Play?

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Golf is a challenge of precision, technique, and strategy that has fascinated generations of players worldwide for its uniqueness. This sport can be played in many variants while maintaining its primary objective: getting the ball into the hole.

The main difference between the various modes of play is between stroke play and match play. Stroke play, also known as medal play, is probably the most common form of competition in golf. In these competitions, each player tries to complete the course with the fewest strokes possible.

Match play, on the other hand, is based on a hole-by-hole competition. The winner is the one who wins the most holes out of 18 played.

Depending on the number of players, there are also many other variants. In this article, we have listed the main modes of single, pair, and team play.

Single Play


Gioco singolo

Among single players, the most common golf formats are Stroke Play, Medal, and Stableford.

Medal: At the end of the game, the strokes obtained on the 18 holes (or 9) are summed to get a gross score from which a net score is obtained by subtracting one’s handicap. In this mode, players who do not finish a hole are disqualified.
Stableford: Players are awarded points for each completed hole, with an additional point for each stroke under par. In this case, matches are much shorter since there is no obligation to finish the hole.

Pair Play

In pair competitions, there are several variants, including:

Four ball: A mode of play between two pairs. Each player of the pair plays their own ball, and the best score between the two is recorded for each hole.
Greensome: Both players of the pair hit the tee shot on each hole. Subsequently, the two players choose the better of the two balls and alternate hitting it until it is holed.
Foursome: Players alternate hitting the ball for each hole, deciding who will hit first on even-numbered holes and who on odd-numbered holes.
Team Play

For team competitions, the most common modes are:

Louisiana (4 or 5 players): Each team member takes the first shot, and like in Four Ball mode, the best shot is chosen. In this case, the player who made the best shot cannot take the next shot.
Pro-Am: A competition between teams composed of 3 amateurs and 1 professional. In this mode, each hole is played individually, and at the end, the 2 best scores are counted for the team.
These are some of the most common modes of golf play. Whether you are an expert or a beginner, at the Caorle Golf Club you will find what suits you, with the possibility to participate in courses, competitions, and tournaments!


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