Whether you play in the same weekend fourball as a ritual or jump from group to group, the golf games or formats you chose to play, can spice up your round, especially if you like a bit of a wager.
All golfers love to moan about how we would have had two more Stableford points but for the unlucky bounce on the 7th and the stupid missed putt on the 16th.
All the time while forgetting the good fortune that went our way.
And that is because we all love to win.
Whether it is a friendly two-ball with your mate after work, a game against a relative or that weekend fourball, it isn’t always about just playing well.
It is also about beating the guys you’ve just spent four hours in the company of.
Golf lends itself to make the most of the competitiveness between you and your playing partners.
So much so, you can set up a little wager before anyone has struck their opening tee shot.
And there are a few ways you can spice up a round and have something at stake to keep the interest throughout the 18 holes.
The simplest and most widely played golf games to play is just you versus your opponent.
It’s just the least number of shots taken over course of 9 or 18 holes.
No handicaps are taken into account.
Its just a straight forward test, based on who takes the fewest shots, wins.
Arguably the most fun to play, here you score based on holes won.
Each player earns a point for each hole in which they have taken fewer shots than their opponents
You’re playing against one playing partner, in pairs.
The format varies, depending on whether you are using your Gross score.
Or after your handicap has been taken into account.
If you score early, the match could end early e.g. Dave won by seven holes, as there were only six left to play.
However, if the two playing partners are playing off the correct handicaps, the game should last to the last few holes.
Ideal for your weekend fourball.
Pick pairs, or throw the balls up to decide who plays with who.
Decide if you’re giving any shots, what scoring system or format you are playing, and off you go.
It’s the best score from each pair on a hole for a win, halve or loss.
This format also lends itself to playing for a medal score or Stableford points to determine the winners of the side bet.
Not dissimilar to Foursomes but the only difference is that both players hit a tee shot.
The team then choose the best shot of the pair and then play alternate shots, until the completion of the hole.
This can be a quick game, as there will be a reduced number of shots taken per player over the course of the 18 holes.
Skins is the ultimate cash wager for golfers.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a two-ball, three-ball or four-ball for this format.
You just need to decide an amount per hole for the “skins” before teeing off.
Skins works with the “skin” bet amount for each hole going to the winner of that hole.
If no player wins the hole outright, the money rolls onto the next one.
It makes for some serious testing putts when a 5 or 6 rollover is at stake!
By the end of the match, each player may have won some money from their playing partners…but there can only be one outright winner!
Another favourites of the golf games to play and one that is not played as much as it perhaps should be, is ‘Animals’.
You collect an animal for various incidents or shots on the course – a duck for a hook or slice finding the wrong fairway, a frog for finding water, a woodpecker for hitting a tree
Or a camel for finding the sand and so on.
The winner of a game of animals is the player with the fewest ticked off.
Prepare for some arguments with your playing partners though.
‘Sandies’ rewards players who produce the goods from the bunker.
Anyone making a Par or better having found a sand trap on a hole, wins cash from their playing partners.
Double ‘Sandies’ and triple ‘Sandies’ exist for two or three trips to the bunkers on a hole.
Determine how much a Sandie is before you start and take your partners to the cleaners with good bunker play.
This format of the game lends itself to playing with multiple groups and can involve good play but some cunning strategy too.
Played in three or four balls, each member of the group takes in turns to be the ‘lead ball’.
Once all the drives have been taken, you pick the best drive and all play from that spot.
You then pick the best shot or Putt and all group members play from the designated spot again until you have holded-out.
Only one score is recorded per team.
However, you must all be responsible for an equal amount of drives…
e.g. if, in a fourball team, each player MUST have his or her drive used a minimum of four times in a round, with the remaining drives to be selected at will.
4 x 4 drives = 16. Each member of the 4-person scramble team is required to = 2 random drives = 18.
Texas Scramble handicaps: Add up the combined handicaps of all players and divide by the number of players to establish an average e.g. 18, 23, 9 & 11 = 61 / 4 = 15.25.
Therefore your team will play off… 15.
Otherwise, mark your card as usual BUT ensure you keep a record of whose drive was used on which hole.
So that’s it, there are many ways to enjoy the game of golf other than standard strokeplay.
Of course,, if you want to make a wager that doesn’t upset your pals, then take advantage of the many gambling websites that offer the latest betting prices on the PGA Tour and European Tour tournaments.
Or if you don’t like alternative golf games but like a bet, take advantage of the free bets for golf lovers given away on many betting sites in the UK and Worldwide.
Alternatively, if your playing partners don’t like a side bet, just play for the honour!
By Gary Emmerson