Medal Play (aka Stroke Play), Golf Term

Medal Play (aka Stroke Play)

In golf, Medal Play, also known as Stroke Play, is one of the most widely played and basic formats of the game. Unlike other formats such as Match Play or Skins, Medal Play focuses on the total score over an entire round rather than on each individual hole. In this format, each player's aim is to complete the course in the fewest number of strokes possible, with the player with the lowest total score being declared the winner.

Here are some key points to understand about Medal Play:

  • Objective: The objective of Medal Play is to complete the course in the fewest possible strokes.
  • Counting Strokes: In this format, each stroke taken by a player is counted and recorded on their scorecard.
  • Individual Play: Medal Play can be played both individually or as part of a tournament. In individual play, golfers compete against themselves and are responsible for tracking their own score.
  • Full Round: Medal Play is typically played over 18 holes, although it can also be played over 9 holes or even different variations depending on the event or agreement among players.
  • Course Handicap: To level the playing field for golfers of varying skill levels, a course handicap system is often used in Medal Play. This adjusts each player's score based on the difficulty of the course and their individual handicap.
  • Post-Round: After completing the round, players compare their scorecards to determine the winner. The player with the lowest total strokes is declared the winner.
  • Ties: In the case of a tie, a playoff hole or a predetermined tie-breaking method may be used to determine the winner.

Medal Play is the most common format used in professional golf tournaments and is the basis for scoring in stroke play events such as majors like the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and PGA Championship. It is also the format used in most amateur golf competitions.

Advantages of Medal Play include:

  • Highlights consistency: This format rewards players who can consistently perform well throughout the entire round rather than just excelling on certain holes or against specific opponents.
  • Time-efficient: Since players are focused on their own games and not competing directly with opponents on each hole, Medal Play tends to be faster-paced than match play formats.
  • Familiarity: As the most common format, Medal Play is widely recognized and easily understood by golfers of all levels.
  • Widely used in tournaments: Because of its fairness and simplicity, Medal Play is the preferred format for most professional and amateur tournaments.

Overall, Medal Play, or Stroke Play, is a fundamental format in the game of golf. It emphasizes consistent performance over the course of a round and is widely used in both professional and amateur competitions. By tallying strokes across all holes, golfers are challenged to showcase their skills and mental fortitude throughout the entire round, making it a true test of golfing ability.