Golf Rules Golf Rule 2 Match Play Video
So match play is covered in rule number two. Now the reason why match play has its own separate ruling is because lots of the rules actually are different when we're playing match play as when we're playing strokeplay which is covered in rule number three. So match play is a direct game of one person against another person, or two people against another two people, or even a team against a team. But the reason why match play is different is because if you and I are directly competing against each other, if I make a foul or a penalty, you should be the one that directly benefits from that.
Because when we're playing in a field of let's say a hundred people in a big PGA Tour event you see on the telly. If I make a penalty, you shouldn't directly benefit from that, but everybody else in the golf course should be directly beneficial of that or effectively I should be punished for that. So match play is where two people play against each other and we're actually playing to win holes. We’re not necessarily playing for shots or an overall score at the end of the day. We're playing to win holes. So each hole has a value of 1 and a hole can be won, it can be lost or it can be halved.
So if I win the first hole, I would go one up. If you win the next hole you effectively get a point. But we then call it All Square. So we don't really call it 1-1 or 2-1. We call it one up, two up, three up, and then if you win a hole, two up, if you win another one, one up. If you win another one, back to All Square. So we win holes as we play around the course. If a hole is halved, we don't have half a point each. We just don't score anything. So we'd still say the match would be halved. So we start in the first hole, we’re level. We halve the first hole, the match is still All Square, we’re halved.
Now the time that the game finishes is when we get round the back end of the golf course, somebody will be up by more than the number of holes left. So if somebody is three up and there's only two holes left to play, the game is over. Because the other person even if they win the last two holes will still be one down. The other player is one up and the game is won. There's a few other words that come into this as well. We have words like dormie. You might say well I'm dormie two. That means that you're two up and there's only two holes left to play. That means the worst result you could have is a half.
If you win the match, you win the match. If you lose the next two holes you'd still be dormie two. You'd still have an All Square game. If you are three up and two to play, then the game is still alive. But two up and two to play is dormie. Two up and one to play, it’s over, the game is finished. It’s two and one. The biggest victory you could have in a match play game is going to be ten and eight. If you win every single hole on the golf course all the way around the game, you are going to be ten holes up. There's only going to be eight holes left to play. That's a pretty much of a kick in for the other person.
Either you had a very bad day. You have a very good day. All the handicaps worked out incorrectly. The other issue with match play are things like if somebody breaks the rules, generally it's just loss of hole. So for example if I kick the ball out of the rough to get it back on the fairway, I don't get a one shot, two shot penalty. It's just loss of hole, straightaway move on to the next tee. So hopefully that gives you a good understanding of the rules that are specific to match play. If you want a little bit more detail, I'd suggest you download the app that has the rules of golf, one of the R&A app, have that on your phone. That's got all the rules for match play and hopefully that will help you enjoy a nice successful match lay game of golf.