Match Play in Golf
Match play is as a scoring system used in golf. At its basic, scoring in match play is pretty straight forward:
players compete on a hole by hole basis, and the match winner is the player who wins most holes.
However, match play contests can bring up some scores that may be way too complicated for novices to comprehend
- usually odd scores or utilizing rare terminology.
Basics of Match Play scoring
Pretty easy: a hole you win, that’s one for you; lose a hole, that’s one to your opponent. Halves - ties on
personal holes - are not counted. They are not recorded in the scorekeeping.
Match play scores for a given match are represented in relational form. For instance, if you’ve won 4 holes and
your opponent has 3, then the score is not shown as 4 to 3. Instead, it is represented as 1-up for you or 1-down
for your opponent. If you have 7 holes and 4 to your opponent, then it’s 3-up for you in the lead and your opponent
In essence, match play scores indicate to golfers, as well as spectators, how many more holes a player has than
his opponent, not the number of holes each player has won. If the number of holes is a ‘tie’, then the match is
said to be ‘all square’.
Although match play matches often go all the way up to 18 holes, they don’t have to go all the way. Many times,
a player will reach an un-beatable lead, bringing the match to an early end. For instance, if a player is 6-up with
5 more holes to play, that’s insurmountable and the match will be over. Get golf tips for beginners by checking out the link below.
Meaning of Final Score
It’s not uncommon for people to get confused with scores like ‘1-up’, or ‘4 and 3’ for a given match, especially
for those unfamiliar with match play scores.
Here are the various score types you might see in a match:
• 1-up - a final score like this indicates that the match went all the way to 18 holes with the winner
completing with a hole more than the runner-up. If a match goes 18 holes and one player has won 6 holes while the
other has 5 – with the rest tied or halved – then the score will be 1-up for the winner.
• 3 and 2 - a match play score like this means that the winner became victorious before playing the 18th
hole and the match was concluded early. The first number in this score indicates the number of holes by which the
winner clinched victory, and the second number shows the hole on which the match was concluded. For instance, ‘2
and 1’ implies that the winner was 2 holes up with one more to play, so that would mean the match ended at hole 17,
and so on.
• 2-up – we now know that 1-up means the match went all the way to the 18th hole, while ‘2 and 1’ means the
match didn’t go to full, so what does 2-up means? It means that the winner took the match ‘dormie’ on hole number
Dormie means that the winner was left with the same number of holes as he was leading with. So 2-up means you
lead by 2 holes and have 2 to play. A player cannot lose with this score in regulation – but some match play
tournaments settle ties with playoffs, others don’t, such as the Ryder cup.
We hoped that this golf instruction lesson has cleared up some doubts that
you might have about the rules of match play. Have fun and good luck.