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The Callaway Scoring System

This is a sort of 'one-off' handicapping system for events which require formal and fair stroke play scoring, but where not all the participants may have official handicaps. Company, charity or society days, for example.

Although it appears complicated it is in practice quite easy to use, and through long use has proved itself to be a very fair means of handicapping a diverse group of golfers.

All you need to do is play normally and keep your gross score for each hole. A maximum score of 'twice the par' is applied to every hole, so if you've already taken 8 on a par 4 and are still in the bushes, you can simply pick up and write down 8.

After the round, add up the score and then refer to the chart below. Find your score and look in the right hand 'Handicap Deduction' column. If you shot 96, you can deduct your three worst scoring holes (NB: you cannot deduct scores made on the 17th or 18th holes, even if one or both of them is among your worst scores). So if you have a 7 and two 8s on your card, that's a deduction of 23.

Now look down the chart from 96 to the 'Handicap Adjustment' row, where 96 corresponds to an adjustment of -2. Take 2 from 23 to get 21, and that's your handicap, so you have a net score for the day of 73.

Gross score (applying double-par maximum) Handicap Deduction
68
69
70
71
72*
Scratch
73
74
75
 
 
1/2 of Worst Hole
76
77
78
79
80
Worst Hole
81
82
83
84
85
1 1/2 Worst Holes
86
87
88
89
90
2 Worst Holes
91
92
93
94
95
2 1/2 Worst Holes
96
97
98
99
100
3 Worst Holes
101
102
103
104
105
3 1/2 Worst Holes
106
107
108
109
110
4 Worst Holes
111
112
113
114
115
4 1/2 Worst Holes
116
117
118
119
120
5 Worst Holes
121
122
123
124
125
5 1/2 Worst Holes
126
127
128
129
130
6 Worst Holes
-2
-1
0
1
2
Handicap Adjustment
* Note 1: The chart above applies to par of 72. If par is higher or lower, add or subtract the number of strokes corresponding to the difference in par from 72 from the Gross Scores in the chart. For example, if par is 70, subtract 2 from each of the Gross Scores listed above for the purposes of calculation. If 73, add 1.
Note 2: No counting gross score can be more than double the par for the hole, eg 8 on a par 4. Therefore a 7 on a par 3 will be reduced to a 6 for the purposes of the Callaway calculations. This can be done either immediately during the round (much simpler for everyone), or after the cards are handed in, in which case the returned Gross Score on the card will be checked and reduced where necessary to become the 'Adjusted Gross Score'. This should be announced by the organisers before the start of the event.
Note 3: Scores for the 17th and 18th holes cannot be deducted.
Note 4: Half scores are rounded up. When deducting half of 7, 3.5 rounds up to 4.
Note 5: The maximum strokes that can be deducted under the System is 50.

In case you're wondering, the system has nothing to do with Callaway Golf, the manufacturer, nor its founder Eli Callaway.

It was invented by Englishman Lionel Callaway (right), born on the Isle of Wight into a family of golf professionals and course architects. The family emigrated to North Carolina where Lionel was professional at Pinehurst and Penrose Park Country Clubs. He specialised in teaching beginners and bringing people into golf, and his scoring system was a means of enabling competition among his many students who did not yet have a formal handicap.






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