Fun Golf Tournament Games
Golf tournaments are a popular activity for fundraising and special occasions. There are many formats and betting options for play. Some tournaments are straight competitions in which the lowest score wins. Others incorporate rules designed to balance different skill levels among players, so that everyone gets involved. Some games rely only on skill, while others mix skill with luck.
Scramble: Teams of two or four play the best shot after every stroke. Starting with the drive, players decide on which shot is the best, then all play their next ball from there. This continues until the ball is holed.
Texas scramble : This is similar to the scramble format, except that four drives by each player must be used during the round. This removes any advantage a team might have from a particularly strong driver.
1-2-3 best ball : Played by teams of four players. At the end of the first hole, the lowest score among the four is registered on the scorecard. At the end of the second hole, the lowest two scores are recorded. At the end of the third hole, the lowest three scores are recorded. This pattern (1-2-3) repeats through the round.
Flags or tombstone : Each player is given a set number of shots for the entire round. This can be a standard allotment or a function of a players handicap. After the alloted shots are played, a flag with the player’s name on it is placed to mark the location of his last shot. The farthest along after play concludes wins.
Blind nine : Played as a scramble tournament, but only nine of 18 holes count. Organizers decide which round of nine holes counts, but do not announce it until the finish of play. This can be particularly entertaining in tournaments in which more than 18 holes are played.
Honest John : Each player posts an equal bet to a pot and guesses what he will score on that round. At the end of play, the player whose prediction is closest wins the pot.
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One or more of these fun contests can be added to any golf game. Players usually bet a small amount on each contest.
Driving contest: Play to see who can hit the longest drive or who hits the fairway most consistently.
Putting contest: Play to see who hits the fewest putts or the longest putts.
Chipping contest: Hit a chip shot from anywhere between 20 feet and 100 feet out. The player whose ball lands closest to the hole wins.
Bunker shot contest: Play a bunker shot anywhere from green side to 100 yards out. The player whose ball lands closest to the hole wins.
Skills contest: Try a 20-foot putt, 40-foot chip shot and a greenside bunker shot. The player whose ball lands closest to the hole on each shot wins.
Pick-up sticks: After every hole the winning player removes a club from the the loser's bag and places it in his owm bag for the remainder of the round. Most players consider the putter off-limits.
Three-club monte: Players are allowed to select only three clubs (in addition to a putter) for play over the entire course.
Denver-based Shan Sethna holds a Masters degree in journalism and has written for daily newspapers, wire services, consumer magazines and websites. His diverse background includes experience in public relations; higher education; at the Olympic Games; on Wall Street; at an African environmental non-profit; and as a ski instructor and wilderness guide.