Russian Stableford Golf Format Explained

Russian Stableford is the name of a golf format for 2-person teams using, obviously, Stableford scoring. But the team score on each hole is not the one best score among the two partners but, rather, one partner's score multiplied by the other.

Because the two team members' scores are multiplied, this format is also known as Multiplier Stableford.

To play Russian Stableford, all golfers must know what the Stableford points are. The standard Stableford scoring for each hole goes like this:

  • A double eagle (albatross) is worth 5 points
  • A score of eagle (2-under par on a hole) earns 4 points
  • A birdie (1-under par on a hole) earns 3 points
  • Making par on a hole is worth 2 points
  • A score of bogey earns 1 point
  • And a double bogey or worse earns 0 (zero) points
(If you are playing in a tournament, always double-check the points being used by tournament organizers. They might have modified the standard Stableford scoring detailed here.)

To play Russian Stableford, both members of a team — Player A and Player B — tee off and play their own golf balls into the cup on each hole. They translate their stroke totals into Stableford points, and then multiply their two scores to produce the team score.

On the first hole, we'll call it a par-4, let's say Player A scores 3 and Player B scores 5. That's a birdie, or 3 points, for Player A, and a bogey, or 1 point, for Player B. Three multiplied by one equals three, so three is the team's score for the first hole.

On the second hole, another par-4, Player A makes 4 and Player B makes 3. That means Player A earned 2 points and Player B earned 3, and 2x3=6. Six is the team's score on the second hole.

Big points are available to teams whose players both make birdie or better on a hole. Two birdies results in nine points (3x3=9).

But one team member making double bogey or worse can wipe out the other player's great score. Let's say, on a par-5 hole, Player A scores 7 (double bogey) while Player B makes 3 (eagle). Player B's eagle is worth 4 points, but Player A's double bogey is a 0. And 4x0=0. Despite Player B's great hole, the team score in this example is zero.

Russian Stableford can be played with or without handicaps. But golfers who aren't close to scratch should play it using handicaps — otherwise there is the risk of many zeros on the scorecard.

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