NCG's Golf Glossary: What is matchplay?

Don’t know your dormies from your doglegs? NCG’s Golf Glossary is here to help

Here at NCG we pride ourselves on being the publication for the everyday player, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to delve into the wonderful world of the golfing lexicon.

Sometimes the most obvious terms have the most interesting story, so you might find yourself an interesting conversation starter…

What is matchplay?

Matchplay is the format in golf where the score is determined by the number of holes won by each side.

How would I use it in a sentence?

“The pair won 4&3 in the matchplay tournament”

What are the origins?

Matchplay was one of the most common tournament formats when the game of golf started to surface.

Matchplay can either be a singles match or a four ball, two on two. If  player or pair wins a hole then they are up e.g. Player A wins the first hole, they are 1up.

The game is played out until it is mathematically impossible for someone to win, if the game is a draw then players must play the required number of holes to find a winner.

One of the only exceptions to this is in team events like the Ryder Cup. If the game finishes all square after 18 holes then each team receives half a point towards the team total.

Any other business?

The longest matchplay recorded by the USGA occurred in 2017 when 13 year old Chia Yen Wu defeated Lauren Stepehenson in the US Amateur Women’s knock out.

The match required 12 extra holes before Wu rolled in the winning putt.

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