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36 stableford points is NOT playing to your handicap

Category: News, Pattaya Amateur Golf Series, Tournaments, Pattaya Golf Society News, Knowledge Center

A quick google search asking if 36 stableford points is playing to your golf handicap and you will quickly see all the incorrect information floating around the web making the game we all love even more confusing. Before I go on I want to state that 36 stableford points is NOT playing to your golf handicap, it never was and it never will be!!!!!

I have decided to write this because there seems to be a lot of confusion out there and rightly so when guys who have been playing the game for years still don’t know some basic principles, they are the 18 handicappers giving golf lessons

Players are also under the impression that this 36 stableford points thing is CONGU or USGA specific when it isn’t! 36 stableford points is not playing to your handicap regardless of whether you are playing CONGU or USGA and here is why……

In the CONGU system the measure of your score is against the Competition Scratch Score (CSS) of the course rather than the Par.  36 stableford points would not be the same at Pleasant Valley from the white tees as it would be at Bangpra from the white tees.  This means your target score to play to your handicap will vary. The table below helps to explain what your target stableford score is to play to your handicap




Stableford Score Target

Pleasant Valley -  White




Bangpra - White




St Andrews -  Blue





In the USGA system there is no CSS, there is a course rating to predetermine the difficulty of the course. Again I will use the same example, 36 stableford points would not be the same at Pleasant Valley from the white tees where the rating is 66.6 as it would be at Bangpra from the white tees where the rating is 72.1. You could actually shoot 40 points at Pleasant Valley and your handicap would increase because you have not beaten your handicap for that course.

In a recent tournament that I organised, the Pattaya Amateur Golf Series all males players played from the PAGS white tees, it was a little wet, so we played lift, clean and place, AND not a single pin was placed at the back of a green throughout 18 holes so the course conditions on the day were very easy. Players came in with 36 points, didn’t get in the prizes and there were lots of moans and groans but if I told you that your 36 points was actually 32 points based on the course conditions would I have heard so many groans? probably not.

The real problem that day was not playing the course at its correct yardage for the adjusted handicaps and making it lift, clean and place when it wasn’t necessary, so if anybody is the blame for high stableford points it is ME and NOT the players getting over 36 stableford points.

In my defence and the defence of many other golf event organisers it is often difficult to play the course at the correct yardage due to tee maintenance and as you all know the weather in Thailand can change very quickly thus making it difficult at 7am to decide on lift, clean and place rules however, I have been running the PAGS for 8 years now and should have known better so if anyone deserves abuse on social media please feel free to send it my way.

My Facebook profile is

Anyway, remember 36 points is NOT playing to your handicap, it depends on other players (CONGU SYSTEM) or the integrity of the course (USGA SYSTEM) so stop spreading false information, direct your frustartion at the right people and concentrate on something more important........ like your game




Birdie - Golf Courses in Thailand BIRDIE Team Friday, 15th September at 11:40 AM


Lee Butler

16 Sep, 2017 15:34

Good read Shane. This is the local Bunker rule.

Adverse weather conditions

From time to time adverse weather conditions affect the golf courses and may result in “Winter Rules ” being applied. The usual guide is when Golf Carts are not allowed on the Fairway due to adverse conditions winter Rules may apply. Winter Rules are lift, clean and replace within 6 inches, on closely mown areas only.

Rather than the organizer taking the decision ''thankless task'' We let the course cart rule dictate when possible. Courses that never allow carts on the course are the exception.

Unfortunately it seems most players do not read our local rules and our pick clean and place rule has now become a joke!!

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