Did You Know?

Many of you consciously chose not to hit brave strokes in competitions for fear of having a 10 on one hole ruin your entire round and scorecard, preferring instead to simply record a 0 on that hole and move on to the next hole using a Stableford score. 

You might like to know to whom you owe that debt of gratitude? It was 82 years ago that Dr. Frank Barney Gordon Stableford put the finishing touches to a mentally liberating scoring system that diluted the downside of disasters and allowed you to record a minor success on holes where things had gone slightly wrong. 

The inspiration for his scoring system came out of bad experience by both himself and many of his playing companions whose scores were regularly in tatters after playing the uncompromising par-4 2nd at Wallasey Golf Club on The Wirral in England, where he was a member. Stableford was himself an accomplished golfer having won the Royal Porthcawl club championship off a handicap of +1 in 1907 and reaching the semi-finals of the Welsh amateur Championship that same year. 

He was born in 1870 and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a surgeon in the Boer War 
and as a Major in World War I. He initially devised his scoring system in 1898 at the age of 28, while he was a member of Glamorganshire Golf Club but it didn’t catch on and nothing came of it. 

It was not until 1931 when a member of Wallasey that he came up with an improved version, which is essentially the one in widespread use today. The first competition played under the rules of the new Stableford System took place this month on May 16th back in 1932. 

It instantly caught on and news quickly spread to adjoining clubs and the rest they say is history. 

Stableford was the archetypal English gent and he never openly sought reward or recognition for his innovation but he certainly liked the idea that he’d helped spread a little golfing joy as this extract from a 1953 letter to the club confirms. “It has been a great source of pleasure to me to know that my system of scoring has added some happiness to a large number of golfers in various parts of the world”. 

He died in 1959 at the age of 88. 

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