Stableford scoring is an alternative system for scoring games of golf that awards points on a sliding scale based upon the number of strokes players use to complete each hole in a round. The winner of a round in Stableford games is the golfer with the highest score.
In Stableford scoring, points are assigned to each hole on the course. These points take into account the par of each hole, adjusted for the handicap of the golfers participating in the round. Once assigned, the Stableford system awards one point for an adjusted stroke total that goes one over par, two points for even par, three points for finishing one stroke under par and so on.
Players finishing a hole at two strokes or more over the adjusted par receive zero points and can no longer record any positive score on that hole. In that situation, a golfer can pick up the ball, record the zero and move on to the next hole. This element of Stableford scoring greatly decreases the amount of time it takes to complete a round.
At the end of the round, the player with the highest score, rather than the lowest (as is the case with traditional golf scoring) wins. Because the Stableford system awards a fixed minimum of points regardless of how poorly an individual hole is played, it tends to encourage players to play a riskier style on the course.