NCG's Golf Glossary: What is a countback?

The Scoop

Don't know your dormies from your doglegs? NCG's Golf Glossary is here to help. This week, what is a countback?

What is a countback? Well, here at National Club Golfer we’re the publication for the everyday player and so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to give you a step-by-step introduction to the wonderful world of the golfing lexicon.

What is a countback?

No, this is not where you stand on the green having completed a hole and go through the number of shots it has taken you to get the ball in the hole by pointing at where each stroke took place and talking under your breath. That’s something else, and it’s really annoying, especially if you are in the group behind.

A countback is a way of settling a tie in a competition. In club golf, competitions are most often played over 18 holes. Let’s say three players each card a nett 68 in the Monthly Medal. To find the winner, we compare the back nines of each player. The lowest score wins. If two or more players are still tied then we go to the last six holes. Then the last three. Then the last one.

I’m not sure what happens after that.

How would you use it in a sentence?

“There’s one good thing about that 10 you took on the 1st. If it comes down to a countback then you’ll definitely win on back nine.”

What are its origins?

It’s been used to settle club competitions for decades. Of course, out on tour, they have a play-off. That’s not practical in club golf. Dave might have finished several hours earlier and be six pints in by the time Brian has put the finishing touches to his 68. While Steve is halfway round Ikea.

Any other business?

The same rules can also apply to a Stableford competition. Or a betterball. Or just about any other format you can think of really.

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