5 Different Golf Formats to Play

This article first appeared on Golfshake.com in Aug 2015.

Planning to play your mates? Try these golf games.

Are you tired of playing for nothing with your mates? Is the midweek social round of golf turning into a bit of a chore and lacking that competitive edge? Then here are five golf games to try with your mates.

Competitive Golf

In The Chair

In the chair is practically match play with a twist and can be played in a two, three or fourball. For this example we’ll hypothetically be playing in a fourball.

If you make the lowest score at the first hole, be it gross or net if you’re giving/receiving shots, you go “in the chair.” From this point on, the other three players in your group will be trying to get you out of the chair.

This can only be achieved if one of your opponents has a better score than you on a hole. To save confusion, if all of your opponents have a better score than you then you still get thrown out of the chair. The match is then back to all square and once again it is every man for themselves.

Whoever is in the chair at the end of the round wins. However, if you are in the chair going down the last there is a neat little rule you can play. If you lose the final hole then your opponent goes in the chair and not back to all square. If all of your opponents beat you then all of them go in the chair and you get thrown out.


Skins always adds that competitive edge to a social round of golf and can be played in two, three or fourballs. Each hole is worth one skin. Depending on how competitive you are you can make each skin worth a certain amount of money.

If you win the hole, you win one skin. It’s as simple as that. If a hole is halved then that skin is carried onto the next hole. Therefore the next hole is worth two skins. The skins are carried on until someone can hold their nerve and hole a putt to win the hole. The person with the most skins at the end of the round wins.


There always seems to be that one person that pulls out of your fourball last minute and leaves you as a threeball. Well ghost is a game you can play as a three.

One player of the three has to play with “the ghost.” The ghost plays off scratch and pars every hole. The ghost also gives the shots, providing it has the lowest handicap of the group. From there you play your normal 4BBB matchplay. The game is usually played best when the higher handicapper plays with the ghost.


Scramble is a variation of greensomes. Like greensomes, you pick the best drive from you and your partner but instead of then playing alternate shot, you both play from this spot. You can combine your scores at the end of the hole or you can pick the lowest score of the two. Simple.

This variation means you get to play every shot in your round, which is what most people want during a social round.


Taken from the immensely popular Tiger Woods video games, battlegolf is a fun game you can play as a two ball.

You play your normal game of match play but if you win a hole you’re allowed to take one club from your opponents bag. If they win a hole against you they can chose to reclaim their own club or take one of yours.

Most people play the rule that you can’t take a players putter but, if you’re feeling extra competitive, you can scrap this rule. It’s good fun for both players and it makes you play different types of shots from positions you wouldn’t usually find yourself.

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