With all of this talk about golf tournaments, we thought we’d go over just a few of the tournament format options that are available out there.

Planning a tournament, as we all know, can be a hectic time for any country club or golf course. But it’s important to remember that you need to make sure you’re providing your players with a fun and challenging Golf tournament. So it’s important to consider your formatting options while planning your outing. Make sure you factor in the relative skill level of the player entering, the type of atmosphere you’re looking to promote whether it’s fun and relaxed or more of a formal golf occasion, and what formats your players are familiar with. The success of your tournament will largely be based on if your golfers enjoyed their time on the course, so pick a format that you think will best promote an enjoyable experience.  

  1. Scramble

Scramble Tournaments are definitely the most common format and for a good reason. This format creates an informal and relaxed atmosphere for you golfers to enjoy while allowing golfers of all skill levels to play.

The rules of the format are fairly simple. Groups of 2 or more players act as a team, with each player tees off on each hole. The team then chooses the best shot from the team and players then drop their ball within one club length of the best ball to hit their next shot. This sequence is repeated until one player hits the ball in the hole and the total number of best shots is the team’s score for that hole.

  1. Stableford

Stableford is a unique tournament format in that it changes the normal objective of scoring as low as possible to scoring as high as possible. Stableford assigns a point value to each possible score relative to par, i.e. a Birdie may be worth 2 points while a par is worth 1. This format allows for quicker play as a score of double bogey or higher are with the same amount of points, so players can just pick up their ball and move to the next hole. Stableford also offers two different scoring systems that can be tailored to the skill level of your players with Traditional Stableford and Modified Stableford.

Traditional Stableford is more suited for higher handicap players with their being no way to lose points based on your score. The number of points awarded for each score is relative to the “fixed score” decided by the tournament officials. For example, if the fixed score is set to par, this is what your scores would look like.

Double Bogey or Worse: 0 Points

Bogey: 1 Point

Par: 2 Points

Birdie: 3 Points

Eagle: 4 Points

Albatross: 5 Points

In a Modified Stableford tournament the scoring system is adjusted in favor of higher skilled golfers by rewarding players for their under par scores and withdrawing points for bogeys or worse. So if you’re planning on hosting an event with some local pros or if you’re just looking to challenge your contestants a little more, Modified Stableford could be an excellent option. 

Double Bogey or Worse: -3 Points

Bogey: -1 Point

Par: 0 Points

Birdie: 2 Points

Eagle: 5 Points

Albatross: 8 Points

  1. Chapman or Pinehurst

This format requires teams of two to face-off against each other and plays sort of like a best ball/alternate shot hybrid. Both golfers on each team tee off, players then switch balls for their second shot, following their second shot the best ball is chosen and alternate shot is played until the ball is in the hole.

Sounds kind of weird right?

While the format may seem a little complex, it is ideal for two golfers of different skill levels, allowing for a more level playing field that lets players of all abilities enjoy the tournament. This format can also be played as either a Match or Stroke play event, giving you a little more versatility when planning your outing.

  1. Best Ball

Best ball is a simple format that allows golfers to play a traditional stroke play match while completing as a team with another golfer. With this format players play through the hole like they normally would, after they finish the hole, they record the lower score between the two and throw out the high score.

  1. Bingo-Bango-Bongo

How can something called Bingo-Bango-Bongo not be fun?

This format rewards points to players for doing more than just being the first one to hole. The scoring system itself is fairly basic with each player receiving 1 point for completing one of the following tasks.

  • Bingo: Be the first player to get their ball on the green
  • Bango: Be closest to the pin once everyone has reached the green
  • Bongo: Be the first to get their ball in the hole

With points being awarded to players for accomplishing tasks before their competitors, it is important that all players follow proper golf etiquette with the player furthest from the pin hitting first.

  1. Alternate Shot

Alternate shot is exactly what it sounds like, 2 players form a team and play only one ball, alternating taking shots. Also referred to as Foursome, Alternate shot is the format used the Ryder Cup tournament.

  1. Quota

In a Quota formatted tournament, players earn points toward their total in a similar fashion to the Stableford format with each score relative to being assigned a certain value.

Bogey: 1 point

Par: 2 points

Birdie: 4 Points

Eagle: 8 Points

The Quota is determined by the tournament officials but is usually set at 36. It is then the players’ goal to accrue as many points as possible with the winner being the individual with the highest score above the quota. To level the playing field, the quota can also be adjusted for players individual handicaps as well. Assuming a player has a 6 handicap at the given course, his/her quota is adjusted down to 30. This format can also pick up pace of play with shots 2 or more over par having no value, so the players can pick up their ball and move to the next hole.

Logan B.

Logan B.

Content Marketing, Long Drive Agency

Long Drive Agency

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