This weekend is the perfect time to grab your buddies for a round of 18 holes (and the 19th hopefully)! But if you and your friends are tired of your regular game, don’t worry, Scratch is here to help! Try one of the following popular golf games. All of these are designed for at least a foursome, but some can be played with multiple groups. Whether you want to bet or not is up to you, but this caveman think it makes things more interesting!
Scramble – This is the most popular playing style for charity events or local amateur tournaments. The scramble format can be played in teams from 2 to 4 players, and consists of all team members hitting a tee shot, and then the team decides which shot was the best. From that spot, each team member will hit their next shot. This continues for every shot (including putts) until the ball is holed. There’s also a one-man scramble format, where individuals hit two shots from every location and decide which ball to play.
- No scotch – A two-man format, no scotch combines alternate shot with scramble, and is sometimes used in area amateur tournaments. In this format, the two team members tee off, and then switch balls, playing their second shots from where their partner’s tee shot came to rest. Beginning with the third shot, the partners play the rest of the hole as a scramble, recording the team score on the scorecard.
- Shamble (or Bramble) – A variant of the scramble, in a shamble, the team members hit their tee shots, and after deciding which spot to play from, each team member plays individual stroke play from that point forward until all balls are holed. Tournament directors can decide how to score, such as using the lowest individual score as the team score, or the lowest two scores, etc.
Best ball – Often mistaken as a synonym for scramble, the best ball format consists of each player of the team playing their own ball on each hole, and then the team takes the lowest individual score. This format can also be called “fourball” when two 2-player teams are playing a best-ball match against each other, as they do in the Ryder Cup.
Stableford – A format where a specified amount of points are awarded for a given score on a hole. While the USGA has a standard scoring system when it comes to the Stableford format, the most famous use of this format was a modified version used at the International, a former PGA Tour event. At the International, a player received 8 points for a double eagle, 5 for an eagle, 2 for a birdie, 0 for par, -1 for bogey and -3 for a double bogey or worse. However, a tournament can assign any scoring system they wish, and can even have different scoring values for different ability levels or flights. The advantage of using a Stableford or Modified Stableford format is, if a player is going to make worse than a double bogey, they can simply pick up their ball and move on, since they won’t do any better or worse than what the system allows.
Nassau – This one’s probably familiar to the most golfers. This game makes three matches out of a standard 18-hole round: low score on the front nine, the back nine, and the 18 hole total. A two dollar Nassau means the front side’s played for $2, the back’s played for $2, and the total’s worth $2. Scoring is up to the players: stroke or match play, scramble or best ball, with or without handicaps and more are all viable options.
Bingo-Bango-Bongo – A game where every hole is worth three points: first ball on the green earns one, closest to the pin once all are on another, and first ball in the cup the third. Play for as little as a quarter a point and you’ll be surprised how much strategy comes into play.
Wolf – Players rotate being the “Wolf.” The player designated as the “Wolf” gets to choose whether to play the hole 1 against 3 (himself against the other three players in the group) or 2 on 2. And if the Wolf chooses to play 2 on 2, he must choose his partner immediately following that player’s drive. Example: Player A is the Wolf. Player B hits a bad drive. Player C hits a pretty good drive. If the Wolf wants C as a partner, he must claim his partner before Player D hits his tee ball. The side with the lowest better ball score wins the hole. If it’s 2 on 2, then the winning side wins the bet. If it’s 1 on 3, the Wolf wins double or loses double.
Vegas – Las Vegas begins with the foursome splitting into 2 teams – one twosome against the other. Point values are determined. On each hole, the players on each team combine their net scores to make the lowest possible two-digit number. The betting points awarded per hole is determined by the difference between the two team scores. For example, if on Team A, one player scores a 4 and the other makes a 5, the scores would be combined and their collective score would be 45. If Team B’s score was 55 (a 5 and a 5) then Team A would win the hole by 10 points.
What’s your favorite type of golf game, Rockheads? Let me know in the comments!