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What Is A Countback? How Does A Countback Work In Golf?

Ever wondered what a countback is in golf?

Well, have you ever had a tied score in golf?

Then you need to decide who wins. If you don’t have the time to play another hole, that’s where the countback comes in.

What is a countback?

When you watch the professionals play, you may have seen that a score is often tied at the end of a round.

In this situation, the golfers usually play an extra hole to determine who wins. If that hole is tied, they will play another until one of the golfers emerges victorious.

It might be difficult to get an extra hole in when playing at a non-professional level, at a charity match or at your local club.

In these situations where you can’t play an extra hole, the countback allows you to determine who is the winner based on how each golfer performed on certain holes.

How does it work?

Countback compares the player’s scores over a number of different holes. This starts with the back nine holes.

These scores are compared, and the best score wins.

If the scores are still tied after this, the next set in the criteria is compared until you have a winner.

This sounds complicated, but it’s pretty simple. These are the full criteria:

  1. Back nine holes
  2. Back six holes
  3. Back three holes
  4. Last hole
  5. The hardest hole on the course
  6. The three hardest holes on the course
  7. The six hardest holes on the course
  8. Nine hardest holes on the course

I’ve never experienced needing to go past the last hole to determine a winner. But I guess it is technically possible that it’s still drawn after all of these are compared. 

In this case, it might be easier just to call it a draw!

But if you really need to have a winner, then you must create your own criteria.

Maybe a vote for the golfer who made the best shot?

Example of a countback

Lianne, Ben and Toni are all tied in a competition.

It’s decided that the countback will be used to determine who will be the winner.

First, let’s look at the score on the back nine holes.

Lianne and Ben scored 21 points, and Toni scored 17 points. Toni will be 3rd, and Lianne and Ben are currently tied for 1st.

Next, we look at the back six holes.

Lianne and Ben also got the same score on these holes.

So we move on to the back 3.

In this situation, Lianne scored 8, and Ben scored 7. This means that Lianne has the best score and is the winner!

Ben is in second place.

I hope this clears up things and allows you to understand and use the countback next time your game is a tie!

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James Ewen