Contrary to the practice of many golfers, Player A does not get strokes on the 14 highest-ranked handicap holes while Player B gets strokes on 10.
The proper way to allocate strokes in one-on-one match play is to subtract the lower handicap from the higher, then assign the difference to the weaker player. In our example, Player B's 10 is subtracted from Player A's 14, leaving 4. Player A now takes strokes on the top 4 handicap holes, while Player B plays from scratch.
Why is it done this way? I'll quote the USGA, from the decisions section of its Handicap System Manual:
"Handicap stroke holes are established to maximize the number of halved holes in a match by assigning strokes where player A most needs his four strokes in order to obtain a half on those holes. If both A and B receive strokes on those four holes, the better player (B) will have a greater chance of winning those holes. On holes allocated 14, 15, 16, and 17, A will receive strokes and B will not. A will have a greater chance of winning those "easier" holes. The result will be more holes won and lost than halved and the better player (B) will have an unfair advantage in the match."
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