fun golf formats

Different Fun Golf Formats – Spice Up Your Round

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Are you getting bored of regular match play? Are you tired of the bog-standard 18-hole round? Looking to mix up the group golf trip games? Sometimes you need a little spice in your life.

Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place.

While standard match play is the best, you’ll find yourself craving something more.

Check out our fun golf formats listed below to try out different ways to thrash your mates on the fairways.


Classic Fun Golf Formats

Classic fun golf formats

Stableford

A different approach to the scoring system, where the higher your score the better (calm down duffer golfers, it’s not what you think). The original rules remain.

However, points are tallied as the fewer strokes for a hole, the more points you score. The aim is to have the highest points.

For example:

  • Bogey = 1 point (pretty good going)
  • Par = 2 points (on par!)
  • Birdie = 3 points (sweet!)
  • Eagle = 4 points (blimey, are you sure?)
  • Albatross = 5 points (yeah right, no chance you scored that)

Texas Scramble

The old reliable. Texas Scramble as a golf format is used as much as that knackered 7-iron of yours. But make no mistake, it’s still an excellent way to pimp out regular golf.

Initially known as Captain’s Choice, but became significantly popular in, well, Texas… hence the name change.

A team game where everybody drives off the tee and the next swing is taken from the best first shot.

It repeats itself until you sink that putt, so it’s great for beginners and it’s an excellent way to pair up and overcome those competitive bitter rivalries.

We recommend playing as a four-ball:

  • Two pairs
  • The pairs tee off
  • Decide the best shot
  • Take the next shot from said ‘best shot’
  • Repeat
  • First pair to putt wins
  • The team with the lowest scorecard at the end wins

Foursomes

Foursome golf

Another simple format with a twist as refreshing as an ice-cold beer at the 19th hole. One player tees off on all even holes and the other takes responsibility for the odd-numbered holes. Then, you rotate who takes each swing until they complete the hole.

You are still expected to follow the standard match play rules, but the difficulty comes with setting up a sweet approach shot, just for your hacker mate to flunk it.

What could go wrong?

Match Play Method

One of the more popular choices. On each hole you either win, lose or draw, rather than score specific points. Did you bottle a hole with a triple bogey? Don’t sweat it, dude, it only goes down as a loss for that hole on the scorecard.

That’s right, it doesn’t add to the tally.

Golf can be frustrating. You hit a peach on one swing, then lose the entire hole on the next. But this one is all about fresh starts, where your previous strokes don’t count.

It’s a game of win, lose or draw and the person with the most wins at the end of the round is Match Play Method champ.

Skins

Ready to lose some pocket money? Skins is an excellent game to play with the gang. Get your coppers, your 20p, your 50p, or if you’re feeling ballsy, you’re £1 and £2 coins together.

For every hole, the skins are the agreed amount put in for each and it’s played throughout a whole round.

For example:

  1. Playing a four-ball
  2. Each player agrees to a quid
  3. That’s 4 x £1 for one hole
  4. The prize for the winner of the hole is £4
  5. If you finish the hole on a tie, it gets added to the next hole.

Shambles

In pairs, both of you tee off and choose the best shot. Then, both players take their second shot from that spot and go on to complete the hole.

Several methods are used for scoring, such as the lowest score per hole or combining both for a team score.

If you’re paired with your duffer mate then this round might be a shambles…


Other Fun Golf Formats

Golf formats

Bingo Bango Bongo

A testament to golf’s hilarious lingo. But don’t let this one’s name fool you, as it’s an excellent game for winning some betting money that’ll buy some swing oil at the clubhouse. The ultimate reward.

The prize money goes to whoever has the highest points at the end of the round. Points score for the following:

  • Bingo = The first player to land on the dancefloor
  • Bango = The player closest to the pin when all balls are on the green
  • Bongo = Whoever sinks the putt first

Just tally up the points and the highest total gets the prize money. Who knows, if the stakes are high, it might just pay for the grub as well as the swing oil in the 19th hole.

Nassau

Sometimes you might lose interest throughout a round, but this three-part game will keep you motivated throughout. It requires three separate games:

  • One for the front nine
  • One for the back nine
  • One for the entire 18 holes.

Each is approached as three separate games, and it can be applied to every format of scoring. Didn’t win the front nine? It’s okay, you could still win on the back nine or across the entire 18.

Greenies

A simple twist that doesn’t have to apply to an entire round. Most commonly played on a par-3 and enjoyed by beginners, it’s an exciting way for everybody to possibly win some pocket change.

Everybody chucks in 20p to £2 each and whoever lands closest to the green wins the pot.

Accuracy is key on this one, so you’ll need your a-game in terms of weight and club selection.

Portuguese Caddie

You shouldn’t play this one with the guy who adjudicates as if he’s an official member of the United States Golf Association. The rules are simple.

Similar to a mulligan, you’re allowed to move your ball out of trouble, without taking a penalty, for a certain number of times.

Excellent for any lumberjack golfers or those who are drawn to the rough as much as the clubhouse. The Portuguese Caddie must be used wisely, as the amount of usage is limited to a pre-arranged number.

It can be a game changer.

Bloodsome Scramble

This hilarious twist is better suited to a 9-hole or an executive course. Fasten your seatbelts. You might be there for a while. It’s Texas Scramble but flipped on its head, where you must play from the worst shot taken instead of the best.

For Example:

  • Two pairs
  • The pairs tee off
  • Decide the worst shot
  • Take the next shot from said ‘worst shot’
  • Repeat
  • First pair to putt wins
  • The team with the lowest scorecard at the end wins

Stringball

A format like no other. Alongside your clubs, golf gear, balls, gloves, and you’re a-game, make sure you bring:

  • A pair of scissors
  • A ball of string for each player

You’re given one foot of string for every shot of your handicap. Each player can move the ball a certain distance, which you then measure that amount and cut off your ball of string.

It can be a lifesaver if you’re behind a tree, find yourself in a water hazard, or even for the short game.

Coloured Ball

Another one for groups of four. Every person plays the hole with their ball, but on each hole, one of the players will have the coloured ball.

The coloured ball rotates to each person on each round.

The scoring is simple:

  • The coloured ball is passed around on each hole
  • It’s a team effort
  • The coloured ball score always counts
  • The lowest score of the other 3 for the hole counts
  • Total these and that’s your score for the hole
  • Give the next player the coloured ball and repeat

Daytona

Shout out to risk lovers, this is your game.

Teams of two combine their scores on a hole. So if you both scored a 5, it would be 55. If the scores are different, then it depends if any were under-par or over-par.

If one of the pairs got under par, then that lower score would make the first part of the number.

For example:

  • Two pairs start a par-5
  • Person A gets a birdie
  • Person B gets a double bogey
  • The score for the hole would be 47

If both the pair score over-par, then the higher number is first. So, on a par-4, if person A gets a bogey and person B gets a double bogey, the score would be 65.

It’s great for friendly betting. Create a small prize pot for each hole and the lowest score takes the jackpot.

Ghost

High handicappers, you’re in luck. If you’ve been meaning to hit the fairways with some low handicappers, this game is an excellent chance to get stuck in.

One player is selected to play with the ghost (an imaginary golfer who plays off scratch) and gives shots to every other swinger in the group.

As the Ghost pars every hole, the high handicapper is better off paired with the Ghost.


Our Team’s Favourite Fun Golf Format

Favourite golf format

Animal

One of our team’s personal favourites. It’s suitable for all skill levels and is possibly the most fun on this entire list because it’s unique. It involves penalties for mistakes and rewards great play (so, no pressure).

The animal tags are handed out as punishment, so the aim is to finish the round with the least amount of animal tags. Each means the following:

  • Duck – a hook or a slice
  • Turtle – short of the fairway
  • Gorilla – a shot that lands out-of-bounds
  • Frog – hitting a water hazard
  • Woodpecker – for the lumberjacks (clearly hitting a tree)
  • Armadillo – a shot bounces off a rock or path
  • Alligator – when the ball lies in an unplayable position (other than a water hazard)
  • Camel – a shot that lands in a bunker
  • Gopher – a lost ball
  • Chicken – a putt in-line that comes up short
  • Skunk – a really bad score like a triple bogey, or even higher (what are you doing, fella?)
  • Snake – a 3-putt or higher (we’ve all been there)

A fun way to compile some forfeits for the loser with the most animal tags. Do they get everybody a round of beer at the clubhouse or wear an awful shirt on the night out? Maybe both if you’re feeling harsh.


FAQ

How can I make golf more fun?

Just like any sport, you must be having fun. There are many ways you can make golf more fun from mixing up your group, trying different courses, playing solo, and taking lessons.

Many suggest stopping keeping score, as this can often be the number one cause of golf frustration. Other ways include following our brilliant list of different formats that will refresh your round and create endless fun.

What is the easiest format for a golf tournament?

It all depends on your skill level or handicap. An excellent game for all abilities is Texas Scramble, it’s a classic and a clear favourite.

Everybody takes a shot, but the team takes their next shot from the agreed ‘best shot’ and this repeats until you hole out.


Final Thoughts

For those who catch the golf bug, it takes a while to wear off. But when it does, you’ll find that you might crave that little twist to the round to spice things up.

So, we’re sure that if you check out our list of fun golf formats and try these games, you’ll impress the gang and satisfy the cravings for a fun spin on your classic 18-holes. For more golf advice check out the clubhouse here.

Eddie Hall avatar

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