How to Play the 'Tin Whistle' Golf Game

The golf game named Tin Whistle is a format appropriate for any number of golfers playing stroke play, which means it can also be used for tournament play. Basically, it is form a Stableford scoring first used at Pinehurst Resort.

Tin Whistle also goes by the plural version of the name, Tin Whistles. (How did it get that name? The answer to that has been lost to time.) It was first played during the winter season at Pinehurst in 1920.

In Tin Whistle, handicaps are used, and your hole on a score — eagle, birdie, par, bogey or worse — is converted into points. At the end of the round, you don't tally up strokes, but add up those points instead. High points wins.

Point values in Tin Whistle are these:

  • 1 point for a bogey or worse;
  • 3 points for a par;
  • 5 points for a birdie;
  • 10 points for an eagle.
Remember, this game uses handicaps, so the points are based on net scores (number of strokes played minus any handicap strokes) rather than gross scores.

As noted at the top, Tin Whistle is really just a version of Stableford. You can call it a modified Stableford. The Stableford scoring system was in use by the late 1890s, so when golfers at Pinehurst in 1920 "invented" Tin Whistle, they were really "inventing" something that already existed.

But, still, this specific version of a modified Stableford, with those specific point values, is called Tin Whistle.

More golf formats:

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