Strokeplay Or Matchplay: How do You Play Golf?

Golf is one of the few games out there that we can, either alone, or in groups. It is a great game not only for that, but also because there are multiple ways that we can play the wonderful game.

For most people, Strokeplay is the staple of their golfing diet. It is the most common way to play the game, and also the simplest. When playing golf using the rules of Strokeplay you are playing against yourself, you are playing against the course. There are eighteen holes separating you from the round of a lifetime.

When playing golf alone this is the only way to go about it. However, after a while, you learn the course, you learn its tricks. The course does not change. It is a constant, and therefore, after a while, your progression as a golfer can be slowed.

Golf scorecard and Wooden Tee

Playing in a Group is Good For Your Game

A good way to keep yourself on your toes, is to play with a group, whether they are friends, or just fellow members of the club. However, when playing each other in a standard Strokeplay style, you are not doing much more than playing a round of golf with each other there for nothing more than the good company. Is there really any added challenge presented in this scenario?

It goes without saying that when playing with a group, you will always pick things up. You will learn through watching, through doing and through talking about the game. But, this does not change the fact that you are still only playing the course. You play all eighteen holes, total up your strokes and see how well you did. Now, unless you are a professional, or close to it, the course will always win. That is just how it goes.

There is nothing wrong with this, but, if you find yourself playing with others more often than not, why don’t you change your game? Stop playing the course and start to play each other.

Strokeplay & Matchplay text

Matchplay Offers the Perfect Challenge

Matchplay offers you a great way to challenge yourself, challenge your fellow golfers, and ensure that you are forced to stay sharp every single shot you play.

Personally, I really enjoy playing golf in under the Matchplay format. I find something much more challenging in it. Every hole counts, and at the end of the day, you are not playing the course, but your opponents. You finish one hole, and you have either won, lost or halved it. It is a simple scoring system, but it means that the next hole is a new chance, a new round. In essence, a Matchplay game of golf is not one single game, but eighteen games, each playing one after the other.

You will find the pressure increases dramatically when playing this style of golf, and that in itself can provide a great opportunity to learn. In my years of playing golf, I have found that the best learning opportunities have come from playing against an opponent. Why? You are kept on your toes. You need to readjust your approach for every shot. As I have mentioned before, you are not playing the course, but your opponent. Hitting the green in two on a par – 5, that is good and impressive, but that is of more direct benefit in a round of Strokeplay. Matchplay, you just need to beat your opponent. Now, you could keep your approach to the game the same, and hope for the best, but if you really want to play better golf, you will learn that different days, different situations will call upon different styles of play. Be versatile, and be ready for anything.

Matchplay Basic Rules

Matchplay or Strokeplay: The Choice is Yours

It is easy to forget that we are amateurs. The professionals that lead the way for us mere mortals make playing both rounds look easy, but as I mentioned in a previous article, you cannot learn from watching the male professionals play golf.

I will let you in on a little secret though. It is one you will already know, but will often let slip from your mind. Golf is a wonderful game. It is good to us as amateur golfers, because we are not forced to choose whether we want to play one way or the other. Unless you are playing in a specific tournament, you can decide on the first tee, heck, even halfway down the first hole, if you want to play Stroke or Match.

Golf scoreboard

Mix it up to Keep it Fresh

It is my personal experience that you need to mix and match it up. The same way you need to mix and match where you play, what time you play, who your plan and where what you play; by that I mean whether you play the course, play your opponents, play the smaller par-3 courses, or even just the driving range and putting green. There are large benefits to all of these, and each one should be used in turn if you want to keep growing as a golfer.

I am not saying that one is better than the other, and it may be your own preference to stick to Strokeplay rules. I mean, if you are trying to get your handicap down, then Strokeplay is the way to go, but not every round needs to be a handicap driven round. Every game, every shot is a learning opportunity, and each one should be grabbed when presented to us.


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