Golf should be fun and to that end here are some golf format suggestions to liven up your game, however many are playing. More suggestions welcome by emailing Golfalot.

1 Player Formats 2 Player Formats 3 Player Formats 4 Player Formats Outing Formats Side Bets

1 Player Golf Formats

Worst Ball

Play two balls (if they let you!) and only count the ball with the higher score on each hole and see if you can play to your handicap.

Herman & Sherman

Play 2 holes playing a draw on every shot and then the next two with a fade on every shot. Take lots of spare balls with you if playing a tight course.

2 Player Golf Formats

Singles

The classic form of golf played off scratch or full handicap difference.

Skins

Each hole is worth one 'skin' and whoever wins the hole gets the skin. If no-one wins the hole outright then the 'skin' is carried over so the next hole is worth 2 skins, and so on until someone sinks that pressure putt. Play off scratch or handicap as per singles matchplay.

Stableford

Points are awarded for your score on each hole on either a nett or handicap basis. 1 point for a bogey, 2 for a par, 3 for a birdie, 4 for an eagle and 5 if you bag an albatross (fat chance). Anything worse than a bogey, pick up and stop wasting everyone else's time.

Stringball

Instead of handicap strokes, each player is allocated one foot of string for every shot of his/her handicap. Each player can move the ball by measuring the distance moved and cutting that amount from the ball. You can use the string to remove your ball from hazards, get it out of a difficult lie or to hole out. If you like you can offer the option to gain one foot of string for each birdie scored. Remember to take your scissors!

3 Player Golf Formats

When you have a four arranged, someone always calls off and who wants to play strokeplay anyway? Have fun with these instead:

Skins

Each hole is worth one 'skin' and whoever wins the hole gets the skin. If no-one wins the hole outright then the 'skin' is carried over so the next hole is worth 2 skins, and so on until someone sinks that pressure putt. Play off scratch or handicap as per singles matchplay.

Split Sixes

There a six point up for grabs at each hole. If someone wins it outright then they get 4 points. The second best score gets 2 points and the third zero. If one person won the hole and the other two halved then it would be 4-1-1. Two players halving and beating the third 3-3-0. You get the picture. You don't need a maths degree and can be tactical near the end. Use full handicap allowance.

Stableford

Points are awarded for your score on each hole on either a nett or handicap basis. 1 point for a bogey, 2 for a par, 3 for a birdie, 4 for an eagle and 5 if you bag an albatross (fat chance). Anything worse than a bogey, pick up and stop wasting everyone else's time.

Murphys

Modified Stableford played in exactly the same way except the points are different: -3 for bogey or worse, -1 for bogey, zero for par, +2 for birdie, +5 for eagle, +8 for albatross.

Chairman

The player with the lowest net score on each hole becomes the Chairman on the following hole. The Chairman can win the hole if he/she again has the lowest net score. The winner is the person who wins the most holes. If two players tie then the current Chairman continues for the next hole.

Stringball

Instead of handicap strokes, each player is allocated one foot of string for every shot of his/her handicap. Each player can move the ball by measuring the distance moved and cutting that amount from the ball. You can use the string to remove your ball from hazards, get it out of a difficult lie or to hole out. If you like you can offer the option to gain one foot of string for each birdie scored. Remember to take your scissors!

Ghost

This is a game of Fourball Better Ball matchplay (see below), but with 3 real players and one imaginary player called the Ghost. One player elects to play with the Ghost who always pars every hole. The Ghost plays off scratch and gives shots to every other player in the group as per normal. The game is usually best when the highest handicapper plays with the Ghost.

4 Player Golf Formats

Lagging

After everyone gets on the green and regardless of the number of strokes, the player closest to the hole gets 3 points, the next player closest to the hole gets 2 points, the next player closest to the hole gets 1 point and the player farthest from the hole gets 0 points. Total the points for all eighteen holes and pay the winner.

Foursomes

Two players form a team and hit alternate shots at each hole until they hole out. One player tees off at the even holes and one on the odd holes. Handicap allowance is half of the combined total of both players. Played tostrict rules of matchplay golf!

Greensomes

Matchplay game for teams of two where both partners drive and they choose the best drive and then play alternate shots for the rest of hole as in foursomes. For handicap matchplay, take the combined handicaps of both teams and the lower pair gives seven-eighths of the difference.

Gruesomes

As per greensomes, but after both players have driven, your opponents choose which ball you should play.

Shambles

As per greensomes, but after both players have driven, you choose the best tee shot and then both players play from that spot with their own ball and complete the hole. Scoring can be done any number of ways, such as using the lowest score per hole or the combined score per hole as the team score.

Canadian Foursomes/Pinehurst Foursomes

Same format as greensomes, but you choose which ball to play after you and your partner have both played your second shots.

American Foursomes

Another variation on greensomes, where both players drive and then play their partners shots before deciding which ball to play.

St Andrews Foursomes

Similar to an ordinary greensome, except that one player plays all the second shots on the odd numbered holes and the partner plays the second shots on the even numbers holes. They still both drive and elect the better drive for the appropriate player to play.

Scotch Foursomes

Similar to ordinary foursomes except the alternate shot is carried on from hole to hole. That means if Partner A holes out on the first green then Partner B will drive off on the second and so on throughout the round. Watch out for the occasional tactical miss on the green to ensure that the stronger driver tees off on the next tee...

Fourball-Betterball

Teams of two play their own ball and count the 'better ball' or score on each hole. Played in matchplay, handicaps are three-quarters of the difference form the lowest handicapper.

Fourball-Aggregate

Teams of two play their own ball and take the combined score for the team. Handicap is full difference from the lowest handicap player and then you add the nett scores for each player together to get the team score.

Better-Aggregate

A combination of Betterball and Aggregate (funnily enough). On each hole a point is awarded for the betterball and one awarded for the combined. Good game for mixed handicap groupings and should be played off full-difference.

Daytona

If you like risky games, you'll love this. Each team of two add their scores together, so if they both had fours the score is 44. If the scores were different then the scoring depends on how you fared to par. If one of you got a par or better you would take the lower score first. For example a 4 and 6 on a par 5 scores 46. If you are both above par, say on a par three, then you take the higher score first giving 64. The lower total takes the money, but be prepared for some big swings.

Outings Golf Formats

Never mind the strokeplay or the stableford! Give one of these a whirl and make it a fun day out.

Stringball

Instead of handicap strokes, each player is allocated one foot of string for every shot of his/her handicap. Each player can move the ball by measuring the distance moved and cutting that amount from the ball. You can use the string to remove your ball from hazards, get it out of a difficult lie or to hole out. If you like you can offer the option to gain one foot of string for each birdie scored. Remember to take your scissors!

Pink Ball

In teams of three or four, each player plays there own ball and one plays the pink ball. The pink ball score plus the best of the other three counted for each hole. The lowest aggregate score and the lowest pink score take the money. Mind you if you lose the pink ball, you're out!

Texas Scramble

Players play in groups of three of four. All drive and then select the best shot and mark it. Everyone then hits the next shot form this point. Repeat procedure with each shot until you hole out. This event is played off handicap and if you do not have special tables, add all the teams member's handicaps together and divide by ten. Deduct the handicap from the final total.

Bloodsome Scramble

As per Texas scramble but the worst shot is selected. Beware, as everyone has to hole out for a hole to be completed! Best played over nine holes or you'll never finish in daylight.

Bisque

Players can nominate to take their handicap strokes at any time. Strokes must be nominated before playing the hole. Can be used to liven up matchplay, strokeplay or stableford events.

Bingo, Bango, Bunco

Also known as Bingo, Bango, Bongo. A great format when the company is of mixed ability because final scores don't count. Instead points are awarded for firsts: first player to reach the green, player closest to the hole, first player to putt out - and any others you'd like to include. Great fun and a brilliant way of including everyone in the day.

Side Bets

As well as your main event have a few side bets to keep interest up. Decide your own value for units and don't get carried away. It's meant to be fun not financially life threatening!

Oozles & Foozles

At a par 3 the player on the green nearest the flag after one shot has to hole out in two putts or better for an oozle and a unit. If the player fails to do this it is a foozle and is a loss of a unit. If no-one hits the green then the oozles can accumulate on subsequent par 3s. One-off oozles can also be played for gorillas who drive par 4s.

Gritty Pars

Getting a par after being in the sand at any point on the hole.

Ferrets

Holing out from off the green without using your putter. Golden ferrets are for holing out from a bunker and count double.

Birdies & Eagles

No prizes for guessing this - just put a premium on this depending on handicaps and the course's difficulty.

Dr Doolittle

Dr Doolittle comprises various accumulators, such as Snakes for three-putting. Each time someone three-putts, this adds 1 unit to the value of the snake. The last person to three-putt is deemed to be holding the snake and pays out the total value to all others in the group. You can combine this with other accumulators for various misdemeanors using the same principle: Camels for going in a bunker, Fish for hitting into water, Bears for hitting trees, Rabbits for going in the gorse or bushes and Grouse for landing in the heather. Keep the monetary value of each unit low as they will mount up quite quickly!!

Flaps

When playing from off the green, a player shouts 'Flap' between hitting the ball and its first bounce. The player then has to hole out with the next shot to gain a unit. Failure to do so loses a unit. If a player calls a flap, opponents may shot 'double' before the ball makes its first bounce to double the win or loss.

Portuguese Caddy

Each player is allowed to move the ball without penalty by kicking it. Specify a number of Portuguese Caddies allowed per person per round.

Gotchas!

Each person has one opportunity to shot 'Gotcha' during an opponent's swing during a round. Sometimes the anticipation is enough to put someone off.

Mulligans

Ever wanted to play a shot again? Give each person a mulligan and you disregard a bad shot and play it again. Named after a member at Winged Foot who always hit a second ball off the first tee and counted it as his first.

No Alibis

Extreme mulligan golf where your handicap converts into the number of mulligans you receive. So if you have a 6 handicap you get 6 mulligans during the round to replay any shot. However you must use your opening tee shot and you cannot replay a shot twice. Everyone then plays off scratch and the lowest score on each hole wins.

Metoo

A metoo is where you are allowed to swap your shot for someone else's in your group at any hole, be it a drive, iron shot or putt. Move your ball to where the other shot finished and you both play the next shot from there. You may use your metoo to join someone in holing out. Agree the number of metoos among you depending on your handicap.

Dunce

Whoever has the worst score on each hole has to wear a designated hat for the following hole. The sillier the headgear the better.

Buckshot

Similar to Dunce, whoever hits the widest tee shot on each hole has to get the silly hat on. Have a Buckshot of the round too - you will have the funniest after round chat ever debating this one!

Adolf

Penalty for failing to get out of a bunker.

Seve

Scoring a par without hitting the fairway or green in regulation and having only one putt on the green.