The Best Golf Formats for Your Friendly Tournament

Golf tournaments are not just about showcasing individual skills; they’re also about testing different strategies and adding an element of excitement to the game.

To achieve this, players and organisers often rely on various scoring formats tailored to different skill levels and preferences. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best golf formats for tournaments and why they’re popular choices among players.

What Are Golf Formats?

For the novice, ‘golf formats’ is a strange term. However, if we use the phrase ‘golf scoring formats’ you might have a better idea of what it means.

Golf formats are simply a different set of rules for scoring a round of golf. Players of different formats will agree to an alternative method of scoring and stick to it whilst moving through the golf course. It allows players to test strategies and some formats may play better to certain strengths and weaknesses.

They can be played on your own, in groups of two, three or four players. Larger groups may have to split up and you may not be able to play your chosen golf format if the club you are playing at has rules on gambling or multiple balls.

Golf formats are often played by golfing societies to keep it interesting!

7 Golfing Formats and Rules

We will explain seven of our favourite golf formats, instructions on how to play and their rules. Including:

  • Match Play Method
  • Stroke Play
  • Stableford Scoring
  • Best Ball/Better Ball
  • Texas Scramble
  • Alternative Shot/Foursomes
  • Four Ball

Match Play Method

Match play is a classic and widely favoured format in golf tournaments. In this method, every hole becomes a mini-competition where players compete to win, lose, or draw.

The player with the lowest score on a hole wins that particular hole, and the game progresses in this manner throughout the round. Despite its simplicity, match play offers a fresh start on each hole, making it less daunting for players to recover from mistakes.

At the end of the round wins, loses and draws are added up and the player with the highest score wins. It is the perfect golf format for any skill level to keep players engaged throughout.

Stroke Play

Contrary to match play’s hole-by-hole competition, stroke play involves tallying up every shot taken by a player throughout the round.

This method places immense pressure on players, as each shot contributes to their final score. While stroke play is a true test of consistency and skill, it can be challenging, especially when competing against players of higher proficiency. But for players of a similar skill level, it can be an engrossing competition.

Stableford Scoring

Stableford scoring offers a refreshing twist to traditional scoring methods. Based on a player’s handicap, Stableford assigns points to each score relative to par. This format allows players of varying abilities to compete on an equal footing, fostering competitiveness across all skill levels.

For example:

  • Double bogey / + = 0 points
  • Bogey = 1 point
  • Par = 2 points
  • Birdie = 3 points
  • Eagle = 4 points

Best Ball / Better Ball

Best Ball, also known as Better Ball, introduces a team dynamic to golf tournaments. Each player in a team plays their own ball, but only the lowest score on each hole counts towards the team’s total. This format encourages collaboration and strategic play among team members.

This format works well with two against two, or you could even have one player against three and the lowest score would count. It is a flexible scoring system that plays to certain strengths and weaknesses depending on the hole.

Texas Scramble

Texas Scramble injects an element of teamwork and camaraderie into golf tournaments. Players tee off individually, but thereafter, the team selects the best shot and continues playing from that position. This collaborative approach not only adds excitement but also levels the playing field among teammates.

It is perfect for corporate golf days. Build a team, start teeing off, and then decide whose ball is the best positioned to win. Texas Scramble is excellent to partner with Stroke Play rules and soon enough you will be flying around the golf course having a great time!

Alternate Shot/Foursomes

In Alternate Shot or Foursomes, players form teams and take turns hitting the same ball until it is holed.

This format emphasises teamwork and strategic planning, as players must coordinate their shots to optimise performance. Whether played in match play or stroke play, Alternate Shot tests players’ ability to adapt and complement each other’s strengths.

Four Ball

Four Ball needs at least four players. It involves teams of two players, with each player playing their own ball throughout the round. Similar to Best Ball, only the lowest score on each team counts towards the team’s total. If two players score the same number on a hole, that hole is halved.

This format encourages players to play aggressively while relying on their partner’s performance to secure victory.

Play Golf at West Essex Golf Club

West Essex Golf Club is a golf club near London in Chigwell and we cater to a wide variety of golfing abilities. We love taking on new members looking to have fun and encourage players to enjoy their time on the golf course.

If you would be interested in joining and starting a membership at WEGC, then contact our friendly team.