From 1st January 2016, CONGU switched to a 90% handicap allowance in fourball betterball. Here we offer a quick-look table, and a little more detail...

Once you stray away from straightforward individual Medal play where it’s simply a matter of adding up your score and deducting your playing handicap, it’s important to know which players gets how many shots in both matchplay and strokeplay events.

Fourball betterball, foursomes and other less common formats all apply different percentages, with the Utopian aim being that everyone playing in an event should, in theory, have an equal chance regardless of ability.

However, things changed a little at the beginning of this year, with the 2016 CONGU revisions stipulating that in fourball betterball it would be increased from three-quarters to 90% handicap allowance. In strokeplay it is 90% of each individual’s handicap; in matchplay it is 90% of the difference between each individual’s handicap and that of the low man or woman in the quartet.

Since we are working in tenths here, the maths is pretty straightforward, but for anyone not quite sure, the table below serves as a handy ready reckoner. Normal rounding rules still apply (halves and above are rounded up) which means any difference of five shots or less will effectively equate to full allowance. Foursomes allowances remain at half combined.

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Here’s a quick summary of how it works with golf’s most common formats in first matchplay, and then strokeplay.

Golf handicaps in matchplay

Individual
Full difference between the handicaps of the players.

Fourball betterball
Lowest handicapper to concede strokes to the other three players based on 90% of the difference between their full handicaps.

Foursomes
Half the difference between the combined handicaps of each side.

Golf handicaps in strokeplay, bogey or par competitions

Individual

Full handicap is deducted from the total score.

Foursomes

Half the combined handicap of both players is deducted from the total score.

Fourball betterball

Each player receives 90% of his full individual handicap taken against Stroke Index. Better net score to count on each hole.

Individual Stableford

Full handicap with strokes taken according to the Stroke Index of each hole.

Foursomes Stableford

Half the combined handicap of both players, with strokes taken against the Stroke Index of each hole

Fourball betterball Stableford

Each player receives 90% of his full individual handicap taken against Stroke Index. Better Stableford score to count on each hole.