Games We Play

All-Star Nine

Individual net medal for 18 holes.  Best played with a large group.

Players get handicap on each hole and then tally their best nine holes for the eighteen played.  They count two par threes, two par fives, and five par fours on a typical par 72 course.

This is a good one for early in the season while the game is still rusty.


Almost Skins

This is an individual net four ball competition within a foursome.  You count the net score of each player on a hole met out points on the hole-7-5-3-1-based on hole score ranking.  Best score gets 7, second best gets 5, third best gets 3, and last best gets 1.  Any ties in ranking combine the scores for two ranks and divide by two (i.e. tie for second is 5 + 3 = 4 points for each player on that hole).

Total points score for the 18 wins.  We have played this for big groups and we just look at the highest individual score across the groups.  If you do large groups it might make sense to group the guys by handicap bands to level the total points competition when comparing groups.


Alternate Shot

Two-man net medal or match play.  We just do not do this enough on this side of the pond.

We used combined handicap divided by two.  Team must designate which player will drive on the odd and even holes before they start.

This format lends itself to rapid play so think about 18 holes of alternate shot instead of the quick nine after work.


Attmans Aces Down

This is a three-man team 9-hole event where team members play with 80% of their course handicap.

The concept is simple, if you concentrate.  Each team will count toward their total Attmans Aces Down score 15 net scores to par made by the team members over the 9 holes played (there are 27 net scores for 3 guys over 9 holes for those trying to tabulate this).    The team must decide after each hole, before they tee off on the next hole, which of the net scores to par for that hole count toward their team total.

If a member’s chosen net score is a par the team gets 0, a birdie the team gets -1, an eagle the team gets -2, and a bogie the team gets 1. Once a team tees off on the next hole they no longer can choose any scores from previous holes.

The total to par of the 15 net scores chosen is the team score for the event.  Every team member must have at least 2 net scores counted and no team member may have more than 7 net scores counted toward the total.


Bagels and Lox

Two man net medal.

Each team designates which partner’s net score will count on the even holes and which will count on the odd holes.  Total net score for the two-man team.  Each team gets two “flips” during the round that they can employ after a hole is done to flip the partner’s score that counts.  This helps if one guy has a disaster hole and you flip to avoid counting it.  After a flip the subsequent hole designation for the partners flips as well.

Flips are like 20 second time outs-you have to be careful not to waste them too early in the game since you may need them during crunch time.


Beat The Pro

This is another virtual match event against a PGA pro, we do this on the weekend of a major.  Each guy picks a pro scorecard from a hat that is one of eight scores from the Thursday round of the major.  We plot the pro’s hole-by-hole score to par against our club’s scorecard.

With 110% handicap, our guys now plays a quasi-skin match against their pro opponent where on each hole he beats the pro he gets 3 points, each hole he pushes he gets 1 point.  His total points for the 18 holes is his Beat The Pro score for the day.   Guys with the most Beat The Pro points for the day get the pot.

Just an entertaining format because the scoring opportunity holes at the major do not align with the easiest holes at our place so you get some wicked individual hole challenges as a result.  The second hole at our place is a par 3 and if that was a par five at the major and the pro makes an eagle you need a hole-in-one to push.


Billy B

Four man team-net medal.

Count combined net scores on each hole-count 2 net scores on the par 5s, 3 net scores on the par 4s, and 4 net scores on the par 3s.  Total net score for the round of the foursome is what matters.

Real pressure not to screw up on the three pars.


Casper’s Walk-Two-Man Blind Draw Five Club

That is a mouthful.

Two man-partners are picked by blind draw after the round is over.  Individual net medal play can be nine or eighteen holes.

Player designates five clubs he intends to use for the round-putter is one of those four if he chooses to designate it.

The fun begins in the after party when partners are drawn and their cards are matched for best ball on each hole.  It is likely a boisterous affair as the results literally unfold in front of a room full of fraternity brothers like a reality show.


Eight Ball

Two man net best ball medal play.

The players play their own ball on each hole and pick the best ball for the team score.  The catch is they must choose whose score to use as they go and much use each player’s score at least (8) times during the round.

It can be scratchy picking which score to use toward the end with the 8 times each quota in mind.


Electoral College

Two-Man or Individual match play.  Net score on a hole-each hole rewards “electoral college” points based on the sum of the hole number and it’s hole handicap rating (i.e. if the fourth hole is the number 8 handicap hole the electoral college points for the hole are 4 + 8 = 12 points).  If a hole is a push you split the points in half.

By definition the back nine is worth 60% of the points for the day.  Dramatic point swings occur on any of the high handicap holes.  So as a result, the par threes on the back nine are California and New York.  Takes 172 points to win the “election”.


Four Club

Individual net medal or match play.   This can be played for nine or eighteen holes depending on how ambitious you are.

Player designates four clubs he intends to use for the round-putter is one of those four if he chooses to designate it.

Great format for those with creative minds and hands.  Best strategy here employs  Nicklaus’s of playing the hole backwards from green to tee.


Five Club-Alternating Tees

Individual net medal play.   This can be played for nine or eighteen holes depending on how ambitious you are.

Player designates five clubs he intends to use for the round-putter is one of those four if he chooses to designate it.

The need for the fifth club is in the twist-play the Odd Holes from the Back Tees and the Even Holes from the Forward Tees.  This changes the club selections dramatically from what you might be used to in normal play.



2-Man Scramble-net medal score.

Scramble format-hit two balls play the next one from the best of the two.  Hit two balls again play the next one from the best of the two, all the way into the hole.  You must use each partner’s tee ball at least 8 times during the round.  The total medal score is adjusted down by a semi-official 2-man Scramble Handicap to get the competition net medal score.

The 2-Man Scramble Handicap comes comes from the USGA suggested, not sanctioned formula (this is like stirred and not shaken).  The Scramble Handicap is the sum of 35% of the course handicap of the partner with the lowest handicap plus 15% of the course handicap of the partner with the higher handicap.  For example Player A is a 10 on the course you are playing-first factor is 35% of 10= 3.5.  Player B is a 20 on this course-second factor is 15% of 20= 3.  The 2-Man Scramble Handicap for this pairing is 6.5.


Keeper’s Kolor War

This is a team event which uses three different formats played over 27 holes.  Handicap components are used in each format.  We had four teams of six players which were assembled in a draft format. For each stage the six foursomes are made up of two guys from opposing teams playing against each other.  Every match is a full nine hole match where each hole won is worth 2 points to that team and each hole tied is worth 1 point.  This way every match goes to the last hole.

Scramble is the first stage- a nine hole 2-Man Scramble.  Handicaps were assigned to each pair using the USGA suggested formula for a scramble.  The handicap is the sum of 35% of the lower handicap player’s handicap and 15% of the higher handicap players handicap.  This match is worth 18 points total.

Low Ball/High Ball is the second stage- (2) contiguous nine hole best ball matches played at the same time.  One match is the best low ball in the foursome and the other match is the best high ball.  The two matches are worth 18 points each-a total of 36 points in this stage.

Singles for the final stage-(2) head-to-head singles matches played at the same time.  Each team member in the foursome plays a singles match against each of the two members of the opposing team in his foursome.  Each of the four matches in the foursome is worth 18 points for a total of 36 points in this stage.

In a more recent version we replaced the final stage head-to-head singles with a five-hole short game skills match.  One member from each team in each foursome playing five skills competitions for closest to the hole-a bunker shot, elevator flop shot, chip and run, pitch and run, and a super long lag putt.  On each skill 7 points to the closest, 5 points to second, 3 points to third, and 1 point to furthers from the hole.

We played the event for total team points and awarded prizes for the top five individual point getters in the event as well.  In the 2-man matches the individual points for each player were 1/2 of the team points that pair earned in the match.


Keepers Kallaway

Individual net competition where you throw out the scores on the three worst holes-one par three, one par four, and one par five-and then reduce the gross score by a 75% handicap adjustment.  This 75% replicates 15/18ths of a 90% handicap adjustment we use in individual competitions.

This competition addresses that age old statement I played so well today except for three holes.



Two-man best ball net.  This round is played in three six-hole increments. Total net score for the three stages.

First stage is total for six holes of net best ball.  Second stage is six holes of alternate shot-you designate who will drive on the odd and even holes.  Handicap component here we added the handicap shots as they fell on the card for the six holes for both guys and divided by two.  Total score for the six holes minus this handicap.  Third stage is six holes of combined net scores for the two players on each hole.

As you can imagine the pressure ratchets up on each stage with the first six holes being kind of a warm up.  By the last six a major error by either player will certainly hurt the team effort.


Odds and Evens

Individual net medal or match play.

Player can only play odd clubs on the odd holes and even holes on the even holes.  Putter is available on all holes.  Challenge here is number the woods/hybrids and wedges.  Players have to agree on number designations of their clubs before they start.


Pinehurst Glenmorangie (Scotch)

Two man net medal or match play. Creative way of blending scramble and alternate shot.

Both men drive the ball and then switch and play each other’s drive for a second shot.  The pair now chooses the best result and play alternate shot the rest of the way into the hole.


Playing With Sixes

This is an 18 hole derivation of our 4 and 5 club events.  It came to mind from an interview where a guy talked about playing golf with “half sets”.  In his case he was playing with clubs whose lofts end in 6.

The players set is comprised of Putter, SW, PW, 8i, 6i, and a fairway club of 19% loft or less which make their lofts roughly fall within the parameter of ending in 6.  From the SW to the 6i the gaping should be around 20 yards a club with the gap to the fairway club considerably more.

We play 18 holes from the forward tees to make the approach distances relevant considering their shorter driving distances with the one fairway club and the approach clubs they have available.

The challenge is playing the golf course at a length they are not used to and having approach shots whose distance are likely not to fall on the 5 fairway and approach clubs you have at your disposal.  It will be a creative iterative process to decide what club and what kind of shot to play.


Pro-Schmo Virtual Best Ball

Two-man best ball net.  You are partnered with a PGA pro and his score from a round in a major.  You post their score to par on each hole from that round to the corresponding hole on your course (i.e. they made a birdie on the first hole at Congressional you give them a birdie on the first hole at your course).  You then play best ball with them using your actual net score on each hole.

To make it fair we picked only the top eight pro scores from this round and plugged them into our scorecards.  Our guys then picked their partner’s scorecard out of a hat.  If we had sixteen guys participating then we had two scorecards available for the same pro.

What you will realize is that a pro that shot 6 under with a three bogies is much more precious then one who just made 6 birdies.   You will also realize that the easy holes on their course do not line up with the easy holes on your course so it does present some interesting challenges throughout the round.


Putter Walk

Best played as a two-man match with player’s of similar ability.  The rules are relatively simple-it is the total Putter Walk Yardage for a player over the 18 holes. On each hole a player’s Putter Walk Yardage is the distance of his shot to the flag if his approach stays on the putting surface. Any hole where the approach play is under 75 yards yields no Putter Walk Yardage.

Two additional wrinkles:

The Daily Double: If a player hits a qualifying approach and makes the one-putt his
Putter Walk Yardage is doubled for that hole.

The TPR (Three-Putt Reduction): If a player hits a qualifying approach and
three-putts his Putter Walk Yardage is cut in half for that hole.

This has to be played under the auspices of your usual game. No gaming the system will be tolerated. Hitting five iron on a Par 4 to set up a 175 yard hybrid approach is considered inappropriate Putter Walk behavior.

A fun adjunct to your regular Nassau-The Putter Walk can add a little spice to the regular brew.


Single Elimination

Nine hole individual net.  This is a Tuesday afternoon game that is very fun.

Each player starts out the nine with 11 clubs of his choice.  After each hole the player designates what club is to be eliminated from his bag for the remainder of the round (give each guy a roll of masking tape so he can mark the clubs no longer in play).  By the time you reach the ninth tee you are down to three clubs to play the last hole.

Strategy dictates respecting the what you need on the upcoming par threes as you eliminating clubs along the way.



Individual net match play.  A more pernicious version of Single Elimination.

Both players start with the full complement of clubs for the 18 hole match.  Net low score wins each hole.  If a player wins a hole he gets to designate a club in his opponent’s bag that he can no longer use the rest of the round or he can un-designate a club that was previously stolen from his bag on a previous hole.  Any hole that is pushed no clubs are eliminated (masking tape is a valuable asset for designating the clubs no longer available).   We play that the putter is not an available club to steal so at least both players have some a chance once they get the ball on the green.


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