Could you go through the basic match play rules that we will be following for this tourney or point me in the right direction?
Match play is really easy. You play the same way as with Stroke Play, but there are only a few minor differences. Instead of playing for a final score you are playing to win more holes than your opponent. Overall score does not matter when deciding the winner, just the holes won.
Let's say you and I are playing a nine hole match. We both play the first hole... you score a birdie, I score a par. You have won the 1st hole. You are now "1-up with 8 holes to play" or just "1-up" in the match. I am "1-down".
We tie on holes 2 and 3 each getting pars on both holes. As we come to the 4th tee, you are still "1-up", but now there are only 6 holes left to play. My time is running out.
Now let's say I get really lucky and birdie #4. You get stuck in the bunker and end up taking a 6. This is the critical difference. If this was stroke play, I would actually be leading you by 2 shots. Since overall score does not matter in match play, I am not leading. I might've beaten you by three shots, but I can only win one hole. The match is now "Even". We've each won a hole and tied the other two.
Basically you just continue on like that, not counting total strokes, but holes won. The match is over when one player takes a lead that is larger than the number of holes remaining.
Let's say I get the upperhand on you in our match and end up winning both holes #6 and #7 after a tie on #5. As we stand on the 8th tee, you are now "2-down with 2 holes to play" and that's considered being "Dormie." In other words, you must win both of the remaining holes in order to push the match into a sudden death playoff.
There are 3 ways to report the final score for your match.
- 1-up - If the match is "Even" coming into the 9th hole and Player 1 wins the hole, then Player 1 is considered to have won the match "1-up". Matches won in sudden death are reported as "1-up / X" where X is the total number of holes it took to decide the winner.
- 2-up - If Player 1 is "1-up" coming into the 9th hole and also wins the 9th hole, then Player 1 is considered to have won the match "2-up". This is the only scenario where this score can happen.
- x & y - This score is read as "X-up with Y holes to play". If Player 1 is "2-up" on the 8th hole and also wins the 8th hole, then Player 1 is said to have won the match "3 & 1" or "3 up with 1 to play". If Player 1 is "2-up" on the 7th hole and also wins the 7th hole, then Player 1 is said to have won the match "3 & 2" or "3 up with 2 to play".
It should be noted that the first two scores could also be expressed as "1up/2up with 0 to play", but it is proper to drop the "with 0 to play".
A few other random things worth knowing. You can "concede" a shot, hole or the entire match to your opponent at any time. If the match is conceded, the score at the time of concession is the final match score. You cannot give your opponent any advice at all, whether it be valid or invalid. You cannot ask your opponent for advice at any time nor can you ask them to concede a shot, hole or match. That includes but isn't limited to asking what club was used, if backspin was played or if the shot was a mishit.
For the purpose of ettiquette, try to keep the conversation to a
minimum, although it is recommended to have one player announce the score after the conclusion of each hole
so that both players can be aware of the current score at all times. Any
other data transfer can cause your or your opponents shot bar to become
jerky and erratic. The bright orange flashing CHAT box could also be
considered a distraction as well. Please remember to be respectful and
courteous of your opponent when it is his or her turn to play.
Finally, since overall score doesn't count, players are generally inclined to take much more aggresive shots and try for the birdies. After all, you're trying to do what you can to win the hole, not tie. If you mess up and triple bogey, oh well. You've only lost one hole.
With that being said, I encourage you to NOT save your final stroke scores while competing in the match play tournament. You'll be taking risks that you wouldn't normally take whether it be to respond to an awesome shot played by your opponent or by trying to execute a tough shot to put the pressure on. Don't ruin your averages just for the sake of the tournament. If it comes down to having to putt out #9 to decide a match winner, then by all means putt it out. However, if you're both staring at 1 footers for par, then concede the putts to each other, disconnect and get on with the sudden death
If you end up in Sudden Death, you'll need to remember who won the 9th hole. Whoever wins the 9th hole will send the invite for sudden death. If the 9th hole is tied the player who teed off first on #9 will send the invite. Sudden death starts on Hole #1 and continues until one player wins a hole and the match ends right there.
Hard to believe that English was both my worst and least favorite subject eh? :D