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Golf Formats

What format are you going to play today?

Alternate Shots - Alternate Shot, also called Foursomes, is a competition format in which 2-person teams alternate hitting the same ball. The first player tees off, the second player hits the second shot, the first player hits the third shot, and so on until the ball is holed. Tee balls are alternated so that the same player doesn't hit every drive.

Alternate Shot can be played as stroke play or match play.

Best Ball - Along with the scramble, "best ball" is one of the most popular golf tournament formats.

Best ball can be played using 2-, 3- or 4-person teams. Each player on the team plays his or her own golf ball throughout the round, and on each hole the low score - or "best ball" - of the group serves as the team score. Player A gets a 5, B gets a 4, C gets a 6, D gets a 6, then the team score for that hole is 4, because the low score of the group was B's 4.

Best ball is usually played as stroke play with the total score added up at the end of the round. It can be played as match play, but best-ball match play with more than 2-person teams results in a lot of halved holes.

When using 3- or 4-person teams, it's almost imperitave to apply handicaps so that the weaker players will be able to contribute.

A 2-person best ball match play competition is also known as Four Ball.

Better Ball - A best ball competition in which the teams are comprised of two players. When played as match play, better ball is another name for Four Ball.

The two players on the team each play their own ball throughout the round. The low score, or better ball, among the two on each hole is the team's score for that hole.

Four Ball - Four Ball is a match pitting two teams of two players (a total of four balls being played, hence the name) against each other using better-ball scoring.

All four players play their own ball throughout; at the end of each hole, the low score between the two partners on each team is that team's score. For example, Players A and B form one team. On the first hole, A scores a 5, B scores a 6, so the team score is 5.

Four Ball can be played as stroke play or match play and is one of the formats used at the Ryder Cup.

Foursomes - Foursomes is a competition format in which teams are comprised of two players each, and the players alternate hitting the same ball (which is why Foursomes is also very commonly called "alternate shot").

The first player tees off, the second player hits the second shot, the first player hits the third shot, and so on until the ball is holed. Players alternate hitting tee shots so that the same player doesn't hit every drive.

Foursomes can be played as stroke play or match play. As match play, Foursomes is one of the formats used in the Ryder Cup.

Greensomes - Greensomes, also known as Scotch Foursomes, is a competition format that is a variation of foursomes (2-person teams, each playing one ball). In Greensomes, both players on a team tee off, the best of the two tee balls is selected and that ball is then played alternate-shot until holed.

In regular foursomes, the 2-person team would play alternate shot for the full hole, i.e., only one tee ball would be hit.

Greensomes is essentially a 2-person scramble off the tee, then alternate-shot into the hole.

Matchplay - Can be played in singles or in teams foursomes or fourballs. Basically you play for a hole. If you score better than your playing partner/s then you win the hole and go one up. If you win the next hole you go two up and so on. If you are say three up with three to play this is called 'Dormie' because you cannot lose.

If you are still level by the end of 18 holes then you finish all square unless you have to find a winner in which case you keep playing under sudden death rules until someone wins.

This format with the inclusion of foursomes and fourballs is the popular format used in the Ryder Cup.

Skins - Skins are what the skins game is played for. A skins game pits players in a type of match play in which each hole has a set value (usually in money or points). The player who wins the hole is said to win the "skin," and whatever that skin is worth. Skins games are often more dramatic than standard match play because holes are not halved. When players tie on a given hole, the value of that hole is carried over and added to the value of the following hole. The more ties, the greater the value of the skin and the bigger the eventual payoff. For example, a friendly skins game might be played for £1 per hole. If three holes in a row are played without a winner, then the fourth hole is worth £4 (£1 for its own value, plus a pound for each hole that carries over).

Stableford - A Stableford competition is a golf tournament in which the object is to get the highest score. That's because in Stableford, golfers are awarded points based on their scores in relation to a fixed score at each hole. That fixed score can be par, or any number of strokes a tournament committee chooses (6, 8, whatever).

The USGA and R&A define Stableford points in this manner:

• More than 1 over fixed score (or no score returned) - 0 points
• One over fixed score - 1 point
• Fixed score - 2 points
• One under fixed score - 3 points
• Two under fixed score - 4 points
• Three under fixed score - 5 points
• Four under fixed score - 6 points

Stroke Play - The standard form of golf that you would play in medal competitions or maybe just friendly rounds. You simply just mark your score down that you score and add up to get a total at the end. No Points no problem. Simplist form of the game.

Texas Scramble - Texas Scramble is a competition format that is a basic scramble with a slight twist.

Scrambles involve 4-person teams playing four balls, but with each shot coming from the same spot (the best of the four drives is chosen and all four team members then hit from that spot, and so on).

The variation in a Texas Scramble is that at least four drives of each member of the team must be used during the course of the round: At least four drives hit by Player A, four by Player B, and so on. In a regular scramble, a great driver might have his tee ball used on every hole. A Texas Scramble eliminates that possibility and allows even the weakest driver on the team to get into the action.

Making Scoring Easy

Additionally the Golfshake score tracking system which is available for web, iOS and Google provides an effecitive tool for scoring for individual players, multi player games as well as golf groups & golf socities.  Both the web and apps will provide scoring including group/nett scores, stableford  points, additional stats and leaderboards for the most popular formats.

For more information on the Golfshake score, stat and handicap services click here.


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