In the UK, most rounds of golf are not measured with stroke play. Tired of his stroke play rounds getting wrecked by the difficult second hole at Wallasey Golf Club in western England, Dr. Frank Stableford enacted the first Stableford scoring system competition in 1932. Rather than counting the total number of strokes taken in an entire round, points are earned on a hole-by-hole basis.
Like true Americans, we took something that was already invented, twisted it just slightly, and are now calling it our own. Our modified stableford game is called Tilt, and it’s much easier to learn the rules to this one than Wolf Hammer.
We first introduced this on our trip to Bandon Dunes. We had five guys, so team matches were not possible. A drawn out game of handicapped stroke play over the course of seven rounds was unlikely to be exciting, so we made up a points system on the fly, and it actually ended up working out well. Here’s a quick scoring guide (all net scores).
Double bogey or worse: -4 points
Bogey: 0 points
Par: 2 points
Birdie: 4 points
Eagle: 8 points
Albatross: 16 points
This is all pretty standard. Things get exciting when you make a net birdie, which officially puts you on TILT. Your next hole is worth 2x the points, so a (net) par will earn you 4 points instead of 2. The same goes for the negative points. If you make (net) double or worse, you lose 8 points instead of 4.
The real fun comes in when you really get hot. Two net birdies in a row puts you on Triple Tilt, and your next hole is worth 3x the amount of points.
A net eagle is essentially treated as two birdies in a row. If you make a net eagle (assuming you’re not already on tilt), you earn your 8 points, and you bypass the 2x to get a 3x bonus on the next hole. If you’re already on 2x Tilt, and make a (net) eagle, you’re now on 4x playing the next hole.
A net par takes you off Tilt, and makes your next hole worth the normal allotment of points.
Let’s go through a scenario.
After a par-bogey start, Neil is getting dialed. A lung dart on the 3rd tee has him refocused, and on the par-4 3rd, he makes a comfortable 4 for 3. He collects his 4 points for the net birdie, and walks to the 4th tee officially on tilt. He makes a natural birdie (without getting a stroke) on the 5th, and seeing as how he was on Tilt (2x), that birdie is worth 8 points (4×2). He heads to the 6th on 3x! The nerves are real, and he pumps one OB. The arms assume the normal surrender cobra position, followed by the shoulder slump that we’ve seen oh so many times. Neil makes a 10 footer for double, but the damage is done. He loses 12 points (-4×3), and falls back to the pack.
For the gambling portion of this game, there are no set rules or guidelines. We usually have it where everyone throws in 50 bucks at the beginning of a trip, and the winner collects either all of or a majority of the pool (depending on how many guys you’re playing with).