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Popular Golf Tournament Formats You Can Participate In

Golf tournaments can be a lot of fun, but did you know that there are many different types of golf tournament formats that you can participate in? From Scramble to Shamble to Stableford, numerous formats keep things interesting. The Indian River Golf Foundation will discuss some of the most popular golf tournament formats and their rules. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced golfer, there is sure to be a tournament format that suits you! Read on to discover all the different ways you can play in a golf tournament.

Alternate Shot (Foursome)

In an Alternate Shot tournament, also known as a Foursome, two golfers play as a team, and each hits alternating shots. For example, Golfers A and B tee off on the first hole. Golfer A’s drive lands in the fairway while Golfer B’s ends up in the rough. Golfers A and B then discuss which shot they think are best to play next. Golfers A then plays the second shot. If Golfers A’s ball ends up in a bunker, Golfer B will hit the next shot. The team with the lowest score on the hole wins the hole. If both teams tie, the team carries over their score to the next hole. The first team to win a set number of holes (usually six or seven) wins the match.

Better/Best Ball

In this format, each golfer on a team plays their ball throughout the round. The catch is that only the best score of the foursome counts as the team score on each hole. So, if Golfers A and B are playing as a team and Golfer A shoots a five on a hole while Golfer B carded a six, the team score for that hole would be a five.

Bingo Bango Bongo

This format is another points-based format where judges award points on each hole as follows:

• First, golfers receive one point for being the first player in the group to get their ball on the green.

• Then players earn two points for being closest to the pin once all balls are on the green.

• Finally, competitors gain three points for being the first player to hole out.

The player who scored the most points at the end of the round is declared the winner by the judges. While you can play this format with any size group, it’s generally best with four players or less.

Chapman or Pinehurst

This format is also sometimes called “Four-Ball” or “Best Ball.” You can play it with two players as a team competition or four players in two teams of two. In Chapman, each player hits a tee shot on every hole. The best of the tee shots is selected, and then each player hits their second shot from that spot. The best of the second shots is again selected, each player hits their third shot, and so on until the ball is holed. In Pinehurst, players tee off as usual but then select the best tee shot, and all players play their second shots from that spot. After the second shot, the best ball is again selected, and all players play their third shot from that spot. This pattern continues until one of the players hits the ball into the hole.

Match Play

Match play is a head-to-head competition where players compete against each other hole by hole. The player with the most holes won at the end of 18 holes is the winner.

Money Ball or Lone Ranger

In this tournament format, each foursome comprises one player who hits all the tee shots and three other players who play their own ball (the titular “money ball”). The catch is that only two scores count per hole, one of which must be from the money ball player. Thus, each team’s score will be that of the lowest-scoring player and the money ball’s player.

Peoria System

The Peoria System is a method of scoring used in many golf tournaments. It’s a system that gives every player a fair chance to win, no matter their skill level. Each player gets a handicap based on their average score. The judges subtract the handicap from their final score, and the player with the lowest score wins.

Quota Tournament

A Quota tournament is a points-based system where players start with a set number of points based on handicap and gain more points for achievements on the green. The objective is to hit 36 points or 39 in some tournaments. Judges award points for:

  • Bogeys: 1 point
  • Pars: 2 points
  • Birdies: 4 points
  • Eagles: 8 points

The winner is the player who exceeds the 36 or 39 score by the largest number of points.

Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup is a team event that sees two teams of 12 players compete against each other. The Ryder Cup involves eight Alternate Shot matches, eight Four Ball matches, and 12 singles matches, with one point awarded for each match won. The team that ends the competition with the most points wins.

Learn more and practice these Golf Tournament formats at the Indian River Golf Foundation!

At the Indian River Golf Foundation, we believe golf is for everyone. Whether you’re just starting, have a casual interest in the game, or want to compete professionally, we have the equipment, the greens, and the mentors to help you do your best. We would be happy to guide you to your best golf game, no matter your age or level of experience. So, don’t let these tournaments stay dreams -get out there and practice with the Indian River Golf Foundation!

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