How to Play the Bisque Golf Game

Detail of golf scorecard showing the HCP line, which isn't used in playing Bisque
In the Bisque golf game, the Handicap (or 'HCP') line or row on the scorecard doesn't matter. Anne Clarke/E+/Getty Images

"Bisque" is the name of a golf competition format in which the golfers use handicap strokes, but with a twist. The correct way to apply handicap strokes is in accordance with the handicap ranking of the holes on the golf course (usually found on the scorecard). But in Bisque, each player can apply his or her handicap strokes on any holes they choose.

Is there a catch? Of course: If you want to use a handicap stroke on, say, the third hole, you must announce your intention before teeing off on that hole.

Golf's Other Bisques

Before we give an example of the Bisque golf game we're describing on this page, let's note that the word "bisque" is used in a couple other golf games (or elements of golf games), too, and those games are different from the one we are describing here.

A "Bisque Stroke" is an extra handicap stroke given by one golfer to another as an enticement into a match or bet. The Bisque Stroke is in addition to the receiving golfer's full allotment of handicap strokes, and it can be used on any hole on the course. The catch is that the golfer receiving the Bisque Stroke has to announce before the match begins which hole he'll use it on.

For details on the other bisque in golf that is also a competition format, see:

Example of the Bisque Format in Use

Let's say Golfer Bob is playing off a 5-handicap. Normally, those five strokes would be used on the holes designated 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 on the scorecard's handicap line. But in Bisque, Golfer Bob gets to decide on which holes he wants to use his strokes.

So Golfer Bob reaches the No. 3 tee and realizes, "this hole is one where I often struggle." He announces to his opponent that he will use one of his handicap strokes on No. 3. No. 3 might be the 18th-rated handicap hole, but that's OK: In Bisque, it's up to Golfer Bob where to allocate his strokes.

One proviso that usually applies in Bisque is this: You cannot use more than two strokes on any single hole.

Another proviso that always applies in Bisque: Once you've used all your strokes, that's it. If you're a 5-handicap and you've used all five strokes by the eighth hole, you're done using strokes for the round.

And remember: You must announce your intention to use one (or two) of your available strokes before teeing off on a hole.

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