Golf offers a blend of excitement and frustration. It can serve as a personal escape or a social gathering, helpful to both health addicts and those who relish indulging in a steam whistle and devouring a hot dog. Playing golf games is not only a great way to improve your swing, but also a fun way to enjoy the outdoors with friends.
However, if you’re seeking an extra layer of enjoyment for your next 18-hole adventure, worry not, as we have you covered with an assortment of entertaining games to engage in with your fellow players.
On-course games can range from simple one-on-one matches with friends or family members to complex scorekeeping systems that involve passing a couple of loonies (Canadian dollar coins, introduced in 1987.) between participants based on their achievements or lack thereof.
While the Golf Canada app is an excellent tool for recording scores in standard stroke play, we understand that not everyone’s goal is to track every shot during their nine or 18 holes carefully. Engaging in group games is a fantastic way to inject some spice into your usual round. we will decide which shot was best in this type. Even for seasoned golfers, there might be an unfamiliar game below that you’ve yet to experience!
Match play is a golf competition played hole by hole, where the golfer with the lowest score on each hole wins that hole. The player who wins the most holes during the match becomes the overall winner. In match play, you directly compete against your opponent.
Stroke play is an 18-hole competition in which the golfer with the lowest cumulative score after completing all 18 holes emerges as the winner. In stroke play, you aim to outperform the course and your fellow competitors.
A Better/Best Ball
A Better/Best Ball competition involves teams of 2, 3, or 4 golfers and can be played in either match or stroke play format. Each team member plays their ball throughout the round. After each hole, the team’s score for that hole is determined by taking the lowest score among the team members.
For example, on par 4, golfer A from Team 1 scores 5, golfer B scores 4, golfer C from Team 2 scores 3, and golfer D scores 6. In this case, Team 1 would use Golfer B’s score of 4, and Team 2 would use Golfer C’s score of 3.
The team with the lowest best ball score after 18 holes emerges as the winner. Skilled players with low handicaps or scratch golfers can compete individually against a 2 or 3-person team playing best ball.
Scramble games involve teams of 2, 3, or 4 golfers. In a Scramble tournament, each team member tees off on every hole. After the initial tee shots, the team selects the best shot out of their teammates, and then each team member plays their next shot from that spot.
This continues throughout the rest of the shots on the hole including putting. A player is allowed to place the ball within one club length of the spot of the best shot, but not nearer to the hole. The scramble is often played as a stroke play event with the team with the lowest cumulative score after 18 holes winning.
Alternate Shot (Foursome)
In the Alternate Shot format, pairs of golfers are formed to take turns hitting shots on each hole for a total of 18 holes. One teammate will hit the tee shot on one hole, while the other teammate will hit the tee shot on the next hole. For example, team 1 consisting of golfers A and B will have A hit the first tee shot, followed by B taking the second shot, and so on until the hole is completed. On the second hole, B will hit the first tee shot, followed by A taking the second shot, and so forth.
The Four-Ball format features two teams and utilizes a superior ball-scoring method. This format can be played either as a match or a stroke play. During the entire match, balls and play each other’s. In match play, the golfer with the lowest score at the end of each hole wins the hole for their team, earning a point. The team with the most points at the end of the round is declared the winner. For instance, on hole one, player A of team 1 score five, while player B scores six. For team 2, player C scores four, and D scores five. Therefore, player C wins the first hole for team 2, granting them a point. In stroke play, the team score on each hole reflects that of the player with the lowest score. The team with the lowest score after the round emerges as the victor.
The Skins Game can be played individually or in teams. In this format, each hole is assigned a skin. The golfer with the lowest score on a hole wins the skin. If two or more players tie, no skin is awarded; instead, the skin carries over to the next hole. The player who accumulates the most skins by the end is the winner.
Moreover, you can also award skins for accomplishments on each hole, such as a ‘Greenie’ for landing a tee shot on the green, ‘Sandies’ for saving a shot from a sand trap, ‘Woodies’ for making par after hitting a tree, and ‘Arnies’ for achieving par without hitting the fairway. Feel free to introduce your variations as well.
The Ryder Cup is a global competition between the United Kingdom and the United States. Tournament organizers have the option to follow the format of the Ryder Cup. This tournament involves two teams of 12 players each and is typically played over three days. There are types of match play eight Alternate Shot matches, eight Four-Ball matches, and 12 singles matches in the Ryder Cup, with each match being played as match play. Each win in a match results in one point being awarded. The team with the highest number of points at the end of the tournament is declared the winner.
The Shamble format tournament permits groups of 2, 3, or 4 players. During the game, each golfer starts on every hole. Then, the team chooses the most successful tee shot, and each member proceeds with their second shot from that location. From this point, every player hits their ball individually for the remainder of the hole. As an example, if individuals A & B are in a team, both of them launch a tee shot.
If A achieves a better drive, the team chooses to use that shot as their second. Both A and B hit from the chosen spot, then finish the hole by playing with their balls.
The manner of play in the Stableford format involves stroke play and permits individual or team participation to obtain the highest score. It utilizes a points system from the Rules of Golf, as per rule 32, where the values are:
- Zero points for a score that is more than 1 over the predefined score, or for no score documented [Double Bogey or Worse].
- 1 point for a score that is one over the predefined score [Bogey].
- 2 points for the score that equals the predefined score [Par].
- 3 points for the score that is one under the predefined score [Birdie].
- 4 points for the score that is two under the predefined score [Eagle].
- 5 points for the score that is three under the predefined score [Double Eagle].
- 6 points for the score that is four under the predefined score.
The winner in golf is determined by the individual or team with the highest score after playing 18 holes. A Modified Stableford is a scoring system in which points are awarded differently than those specified in the Rules of Golf. The International, a previous PGA Tour event, employed the following point scale:
- Double Eagle: 8 points
- Eagle: 5 points
- Birdie: 2 points
- Par: 0 points
- Bogey: -1 point
- Double Bogey or Worse: -3 points
In a Modified Stableford format without handicaps, the scoring system can be adjusted to ensure fairness among all players. By dividing players into different skill-based flights, each flight can be assigned its point system. For example, skilled players in Flight A may receive 0 points for achieving par, whereas less experienced players in Flight B may earn 1 point for par.
Chapman or Pinehurst
The Chapman, or Pinehurst, System is a tournament format that involves teams of two players. Chapman combines elements from various formats into one. Initially, each team member takes a tee shot, and then they switch balls and play with each other’s drives. The team then chooses the best of their second shots and continues playing from that position. The player whose shot was not selected plays the third shot. This allows teams to strategically select the best ball based on who will hit the next shot. After the third shot, the team takes turns hitting the ball until it is holed.
Here’s an example: Players A and B form a team. Both players tee off, and then A hits B’s tee shot while B hits A’s tee shot. A and B decide which of their second shots is the best; in this case, they choose B’s shot. A now needs to hit the third shot from B’s position. The players take turns hitting the ball, with B hitting the next shot, followed by A, and so on, until they successfully hole it.
Bingo Bango Bongo
It is a point-based tournament format that can be played either as a team event or individually. It offers three opportunities for points on each hole. The first point is awarded to the player who reaches the green first, known as “bingo”. The second point goes to the player who is closest to the pin once all balls are on the green, known as “bango”. The final point is earned by the player who holes out first, referred to as “bongo”. Shots are taken in the order of the player’s distance from the hole. The player with the highest number of points at the end of the game is the winner.
“Bingo Bango Bongo” allows players of all skill levels to earn points on every hole. For example, the player with the worst drive would have the opportunity to hit their second shot first, giving them the chance to reach the green and earn the “bingo” point. To add variety, you could award double points to a player who wins all three points on a hole.
This Tournament is a format where each golfer begins the round with a set number of strokes and plays until they exhaust them. Every golfer carries a personalized flag to mark the landing spot of their last shot. The winner of the tournament is the player who covers the longest distance on the course within their allocated strokes.
The initial number of strokes is determined based on the player’s handicap, whether it’s full or partial. For instance, a player with a handicap of 19 would receive 91 strokes on a par-72 course using full handicaps. With full handicaps, there is a higher likelihood that many golfers will complete all 18 holes with remaining strokes. In such cases, players with strokes left to return to the 1st tee and continue until they utilize all their strokes. Alternatively, after 18 holes, players can opt to stop, and the golfer with the most unused strokes emerges as the winner.
In case of a tie, where multiple players run out of strokes on the same hole, such as the 18th hole, the player whose final shot is closest to the hole is declared the winner.
Money Ball or Lone Ranger
This game goes by various names including Money Ball, Lone Ranger, Pink Ball, or Yellow Ball. It involves four-person teams, where one member on each hole is chosen to use the ‘Money Ball.’ The player designated to use the Money Ball varies throughout the round; Player A starts with it on the 1st hole, followed by B on the 2nd, C on the 3rd, D on the 4th, and then back to A on the 5th, and so on. Tournaments may sometimes select a specialized ball, such as a colored ball, to serve as the Money Ball.
In Money Ball, the team selects two scores per hole to contribute to their overall score, one of which must be the score of the golfer utilizing the money ball. Therefore, each hole will have the money ball player’s score and the lowest score from the other three team members counted towards the team score. The team with the least total score after the round emerges as the victor.
Tournament of Allocation
The format of allocation entails individuals or teams commencing with a predetermined sum of points, determined by their handicap, and subsequently accruing points for accomplishments on the course. Each golfer initiates the match with points corresponding to their handicap, thus a golfer with a handicap of 3 commences with 3 points, while a golfer with a handicap of 10 begins with 10 points. The objective is to attain a total of 36 points, although in certain tournaments this value may vary to 39. Points are bestowed upon golfers based on their performance on the course, and are granted according to the following scheme:
- Bogeys – 1 point
- Pars – 2 points
- Birdies – 4 points
- Eagles – 8 points
The victor of the tournament is the individual who surpasses the designated score, either 36 or 39, by the greatest margin. Alternative possibilities for this format could involve modifying the value assigned to points, such as rendering bogeys worth zero or negative or initiating the match with a partially handicapped score.
A tournament format similar to Allocation is known as Chicago, wherein players commence with negative points and endeavor to ascend into positive territory.
The Peoria method is a 1-day handicapping system for competitions that can be utilized in circumstances. And where a large proportion of golfers lack official handicaps. Golfers utilize the Peoria method following their round to calculate a handicap allowance. That will be factored into their final score.
The Peoria System calculates the golfers’ handicap for a day-long tournament based on their performance on six holes that are chosen by the committee in secret. Usually, two par 3s, two par 4s, and two par 5s are chosen, with one from each of the front and back nine. The players are not informed about which holes were chosen until they complete their rounds.
When using the Peoria System, the golfers are given a 1-day handicap based on the score they achieve over six undisclosed holes. These holes are decided secretly by the tournament committee and usually consist of two par 3s, two par 4s, and two par 5s, with one selected from the front and back nine. The participants are not made aware of which holes were chosen until after they have completed their rounds.
Here’s an example: Consider a golfer who finishes 18 holes with a score of 90. He obtained a sum of 30 for the six Peoria holes. When this figure is tripled, or multiplied by three, it equals 90. The difference between 90 and par 72 is 18. Rounding off 80% of 18 amounts to 14, which is the handicap allowance assigned to the golfer. By deducting 14 from his 18-hole score of 90, his Peoria System score amounts to 76.
Playing a Nassau is the most popular of golf games and the one with the most variations, too.
In its simplest form, a Nassau consists of three games:
- the lowest score on the front nine,
- the lowest score on the back nine,
- the lowest score for the entire 18 holes.
Dollar amounts or points are assigned to each match. For example, if you were playing a $5 Nassau, the maximum amount you could lose is $15. If you win all three games, you would win $45 (taking $15 from each of the other three players).
A common tactic during Nassau games is to “press” the bet, which means doubling the original wager in a last-minute attempt to catch up if you’re behind by a few strokes.
There are also fun additional elements, known as “junk,” that can be added to the original Nassau game.
Did you hit the ball in the water but still manage to make par? You can add a “Fishy” to your Nassau. Knocked the ball off a tree but still made par? Well done, you’ve achieved a “Barky.” Chip in for a shot? Excellent job, that’s a “Chippie.”
Golf is already an enjoyable game, but when playing 18 holes with the same group over and over. There’s no shortage of small games you can bring to the course the next time you tee it up.