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Popular Golf Tournament Formats You Can Participate In, Part II

Popular Golf Tournament Formats You Can Participate In, Part II

Our last blog post discussed some of the more popular golf tournament formats you can participate in. Today, the Indian River Golf Foundation will be discussing a few more! A wide variety of tournaments are available, from stroke play and scramble to flags and Stableford. These formats are perfect for those who want to challenge themselves and have fun while playing in a tournament. Let’s take a look at them now.

Stroke play

Stroke play is one of the most popular golf tournament formats. This format is probably the one you think of when you think of playing golf. It is also the format used in professional tournaments such as the PGA Tour. In stroke play, each player competes against the course and tries to get the lowest score possible. The winner is the player with the lowest score after all players have finished all 18 holes.


In a scramble tournament, multiple teams of 2, 3, or 4 golfers compete against each other. During a Scramble tournament, team members hit the ball off the tee on each hole. After each team member hits their tee shot, the group decides on the best ball position. From there, every player will take their next shot from where the selected ball lies. This pattern continues for the rest of the holes’ shots, including putting. A player can place the ball within one club length of their best shot’s spot but not nearer to the hole. The scramble is often played as a stroke play event, where the team with the lowest cumulative score after 18 holes wins.

Four ball

is a tournament format similar to stroke play but with teams of two players instead of individuals. In four-ball, both players on each team take their own shots throughout the round. The team then takes the lower score of the two golfers on each hole and records that as their team’s score for that particular hole. For example, after the first hole for team 1, player A scored five, and player B scored 6; for team 2, player C scored four, and player D scored 5. Player C won the first hole for team 2, earning their team a point. The team with the lowest cumulative score at the end of 18 holes is declared the winner.

Skins game

A skins game is a type of golf tournament where players compete for a point on each individual hole. In a traditional skins game, the skin carries over to the next hole if two or more players tie for the lowest score on a given hole. Additionally, you can also grant skins for feats on each hole: a ‘Greenie’ for landing a tee shot on the green, ‘Sandies’ for getting out of a sand trap, ‘Woodies’ for saving par after bouncing off a tree, and ‘Arnies’ for making par without hitting the fairway. You can add your own variations as well. The player with the most skins by the end of the game wins.


A shamble is a tournament format where every player hits their tee shot, and then the team selects the best tee shot and all players play their ball from that spot for the remainder of the hole. After the second shot, each golfer plays their own ball for the remainder of the hole. For example, if players A and B are on the same team, both of them tee off. If player A hits a better drive than player B, then they will select to take their second shot from player A’s spot. Both players hit from player A’s spot until they reach the hole. Then, each player plays their own ball for the rest of the hole. The team’s score for each hole is the lowest score of any member on that particular hole.


Stableford is a points-based format where players earn points based on their score on each hole. The amount of points earned is usually pre-determined by the tournament director. For example, if the par for a hole is four, and the player makes a five, they would lose one point. If they make a three, they will gain two points. A Stableford uses a points system established in the Rules of Golf, rule 32, as follows:

  • More than one over fixed score (or no score returned) – 0 points [Double Bogey or Worse]
  • One over fixed score – 1 point [Bogey]
  • Fixed score – 2 points [Par]
  • One under fixed score – 3 points [Birdie]
  • Two under fixed score – 4 points [Eagle]
  • Three under fixed score – 5 points [Double Eagle]
  • Four under fixed score – 6 points

The golfer or team with the highest score after 18 holes is the winner.

golf tournament formats

Modified Stableford

A Modified Stableford is where you play using a points system other than those set in the Rules of Golf. For example:

  • 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, if you aren’t using handicaps, the point system may be unfair to some players. You can adjust this by creating flights based on skill level and assigning each flight its own point values. For example, better players in flight A get 0 points for par while weaker players in flight B get 1 point for par.

golf tournament formats


In this tournament, each hole is worth a certain number of points, aiming to score the most points overall. The number of points for each hole is usually equal to the par of that hole but can be increased or decreased depending on how challenging the course is. This format is popular because it rewards players for more than just their score on each hole. It also encourages players to take risks, as they can earn extra points for hitting a long drive or attempting a difficult shot.

There are a few different ways to score points in this format. The most common way is to award points based on the number of strokes taken to complete the hole. For example, if a player takes four strokes to complete a hole worth five points, they would receive one point. Another way to score points is by awarding points for each fairway hit, green in regulation, or up and down.

golf tournament formats

Interested in practicing for any of these Golf Tournament formats? Come down to the Indian River Golf Foundation!

At the Indian River Golf Foundation, we believe golf is a game for anyone who wants to play. We have all of the resources you need to get started with the game or take your skills to the next level, including professional equipment, greens, and experienced mentors. Let us help you achieve your best golf game!

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