This is a “new” idea? Really, don’t many of us already play some form of recreational golf, such as Stableford, in which we pick it up when all hope is lost? 🙂

Well, what’s “new” is that the Rules have caught up to how many of us play. “Maximum Score” will be a new additional form of stroke play, with some Rules-based structure so that a proper Committee can run a legitimate competition employing this new form of stroke play.

In this form of stroke play, a player’s score for each hole can be capped at a maximum set by the Committee, which may be:

  1. fixed (such as 6, 8, 10, etc.),
  2. related to par (such as two times par or triple bogey), or
  3. related to the player’s handicap (such as net double bogey).

A player who does not complete a hole (often referred to informally as “picking up”) would not be disqualified, but simply gets the maximum score for the hole.

The need to hole out on every hole in stroke play often leads to slow play, and it may discourage golfers from entering a competition because feel they no longer have a realistic chance to compete or to make a good score for the round once they get a very high score on one or two holes. Win, win, right?

The Maximum Score form of play would be unlikely to be used for elite play, but it may be useful in many other contexts, such as for play by beginners or golfers who are less skilled or experienced and, more generally, for club-level and day-to-day play when pace of play is a particular concern.

For example, regional US Kids Golf events and many other junior events have instituted a form of “maximum score” stroke play for years now. At US Kids Golf Tour events, for example, players can only score up to a ten, so players who miss their shot for nine will often pick up and record a ten to keep the pace of play moving along. Rather than somewhat skirting the Rules, this will now be a fully supported means of play in 2019 and beyond.