Types Of Golf Games
By jbird899 on 11/24/10
We asked for readers to send in blog posts- and Jason James didn't disappoint. These articles continue to keep coming in and I want to encourage you guys to keep writing! The feedback and new perspectives are fantastic. You can read more from Jason here.

Every time you tee up your little white dimpled friend, you may be facing different ways to play this game we all love. You could be challenging friends to a cut throat skins game, looking to win your local charity scramble, hacking it up with a bunch of strangers, or competing in a club championship. Now obviously there are many other scenarios that can challenge every golfer of every skill level, however, the more experience you get while playing in these situations, the more you notice the types of ways you should approach each situation. Now this might seem foreign or even strange to you beginners out there, but more skilled players know that you don’t play the same way in each circumstance.

1) A Scramble (team of 4 hitting from the best shot every time)- Anyone who has played in one of these knows, it is a ton of fun! How can it not be, you are always going to be hitting from an ideal spot. The way to play in one of these tournaments is through strategy. You have to appoint someone level headed to assess the skill level of all the players and be the “captain”. Always know your role on your team, whether you are the guy that hits the “safe” shot, the guinea pig that hits the 1st putt, or the one that the team looks to for the big drive. ALWAYS stick to your role!

2) Stroke play competition (Tournament, money game with friends, etc.)- I’m a big believer in playing it conservative when playing stroke play. I know, I know it is a little boring, however I have always found that if you take big risks, it’s easier to knock yourself out of a match or tournament then it is to make some miraculous shot that will give you a big lead. It is always fun to gamble and play like Tin Cup, however taking a 12 is not fun at all…I know from experience!

3) Match play- (With friends or more competitively) - the good thing about this style of play is that you can’t shoot yourself out of it with one bad hole. You can take riskier shots and not dig yourself into a hole. My advice, be aggressive. If you fall behind you can always ease off the gas and try to make your way back into the match.

4) Skins play- The best part about skins is that the real money is made in the last 6 holes. Therefore, I always felt it was smarter to be aggressive in the beginning and then keep yourself in play the last 9 holes.

5) Hacking it around with friends - This is where I love to take shots I would never try in any type of competitive play. First off, it is just fun to take aggressive lines, go for par 5 greens over water, or try to snipe one out of the woods like Phil. Second, if you need to hit one of these shots in a competition, it is always good to have had some practice beforehand. There are many times when I go out with friends and decline playing each other just so I can have fun!

With these different types of games I also use different swings off the tee or how I decide to attack a green. When I’m being aggressive I “grip and rip” while conservative play should have a more controlled smooth swing to ensure you hit the fairway. More aggressive approach shots will be fired at a pin while conservative ones will be aimed for the fat of the green. I know it’s hard to fathom approaching this game with different strategies depending on the circumstance of the match. However, I guarantee that if you start choosing modes of attack when playing, you will have more success.

This was written by Jason James, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.

photo source

[ comments ]
jev says:
In Europe, we often play StableFord. That is basically a strokeplay competition, but it has the advantage that you can take a little more risk because one really bad shot doesn't spoil your score completely.
guzzlingil says:
Shambles are fun...prefer them to play a scramble...
leeheppjr says:
We used to play a game called "Wolf Man". You played for individual dots, but each hole there was a new captain and you picked a partner based on drive or went solo for double points. Has any one else played, trying to refresh my memory on the rules? It kept everybody involved, regardless of skill, but you also still kept strokes for handicap.
bkuehn1952 says:
When it comes to scrambles, I prefer 2-man. Your shot counts for a lot more. As the lead player you don't want to leave your partner alone. As the anchor, there is a lot of pressure when inevitably your lead guy sends one into the woods.

@leeheppjr - here is a link: golf.about.com/cs/chichirodriguez/a/chichi_wolf.
dc8ce says:
We play Wolf all of the time with our regular 4-some. It's a blast, and even if you have a bad day you can still win. We add up the points for each nine and the bottom two buy the top two a beverage of their choice, with the points resetting after the front nine. Here are our rules:

Players rotate being the "Wolf." The player designated as the "Wolf" gets to choose whether to play the hole 1 on 3 or 2 on 2.

If the Wolf chooses to play 2 on 2, he must choose his partner immediately following that player's drive. Example: Player A is the Wolf. Player B hits an okay drive. If the Wolf wants B as a partner, he must claim them before Player C hits his tee ball. If after everyone else tees off and he doesn't want a partner, he can decide to go alone and play 1 on 3.
dc8ce says:
The side with the lowest better ball score wins the hole. If it's 2 on 2, then the winning side wins 1 point per player. If it's 1 on 3, the Wolf wins 3 points or the other players win 1 point each.

There's also Blind Wolf, in which the Wolf announces after he tees off, but before anyone else does, that he's going it alone, 1 on 3. On a Blind Wolf hole, the Wolf wins 6 points or the other players win 2 points each.

Finally, there is Double Blind Wolf, in which the Wolf announces that he is going it alone before anybody tees off, even himself! If the Wolf wins he gets 9 points; if he loses his opponents get 3 points each.
KVSmith59 says:
In addition to team play, wolf, etc, we used to have an additional side bet we called "Monkey", short for monkey on your back. There are several versions out there, but in our version it goes like this:

1. Everytime someone 3 putts, it cost them 50 cents into the pot.
2. A 4 putt or higher (heaven forbid) cost $1 into the pot
3. At the end of the round, the person with the lowest number of overall putts gets the money in the pot.
4. If a tie, the person with the fewest 3 putts wins. If still a tie, low scratch score wins.
KVSmith59 says:
Another game we played but have since stopped playing, wasn't really a game...it was an act of humiliaton. We bought an extra large tee-shirt and stenciled HACKER across the front and back. First person to get a double bogey or higher had to wear it over their regular golf shirt. You had to wear it until someone else got a double or higher. Last person wearing it had to bring it home and decorate it (add some writing, attach a tail, whatever) and wear it on the next round until someone else got a double, etc etc. Wasn't too bad unless you were wearing it as you made the turn and got to parade your shirt around the clubhouse. We also did something similar before the shirt idea. Had a hat that looked like a huge penis. If you were the loser of the prior round, you had to wear the hat on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tee on the next round. I had that honor once and it sucked. Everyone waiting to tee off behind you got a good laugh at your expense.
homermania says:
Man, some of these games get so complicated. I sometimes play Wolf with my dad and his buddies, but I just play my game and let them add up how much they owe me at the end.
woobwoob says:
I can't remember the name, but I was introduced to a game where you play different teams each hole depending on the drive of each person. If a team gets a par and a doublebogey on a par 4 hole, their score is 46 (a 4 and a 6, lowest score always first) and the other team gets a bogey and a bogey their score is 55. Before the round you determine a value for points (quarter, dime, nickel per point). If we were playing quarters, that last hole would give each person on the winning team of that hole 9 points a piece or $2.25. At the end of the round, you tally it all up and pay up. Where things start to get tense is if you end up with a score of like 35 to 89.... EEK! An eight dollar hole hurts... (double digit scores on a hole only count as a 9)

In my case, my buddy and I play with two much better players. So we paired up by having the better guys always on different teams and my buddy and I seeing where our drives went being closer to which better guy for each hole.
jfurr says:
We tried Bingo Bango Bongo a couple weekends ago, it was kind of fun and different. First player on the green gets a point (bingo). Closest to the pin once all balls are on the green gets a point (bango). And first player in the hole gets a point (bongo).
cjgiant says:
I have played a slightly alternate version of bingo-bango-bongo, bingo is longest shot to hit green, bango is closest to pin, bongo is longest putt sunk (must be non-gimme).

It usually ends up pretty balanced, as the longest shot into the green is likely not the closest. And closest to pin has mildly less opportunity to make longest putt.
localrob says:
During the season, there are days when my buddies and I aren't able to play 18 holes. (Bummer!) We will have to settle for 9 holes. We will make it interesting with a game of One Club. You choose one club out of your bag and play. (The putter is immune) A sick/ interesting twist on this game that we include, is you are only allowed to bring 3 balls (lives). Once you're out of balls (lives), Game Over. It makes you think and play, smarter and conservative. Great skill builder.
guzzlingil says:
Wolf is a fun game but I prefer to play it during a 5'some...like Wolf...we also play "Pink Ball"....sort of like Wolf...before we tee off we get all the players golf balls and throw them on the tee box...closest to furthest determines tee'ing order...then we put their marked balls in a bag along with a Pink and Yellow ball....before tee'ing off...the captain on that hole goes into the bag and picks a ball...if he pulls his own ball, he pulls again....if he pulls your ball it is you and he vs the field.....if however he pulls the Pink, it is him vs the field x 2, and if he pulls the Yellow it is him vs the field....fun game...
jpjeffery says:
@jfurr Hold on now, the Bingo-Bango-Bongo I know has slightly different rules and has more at stake than that.

Bingo = First ball on the green = 1 point
Bango = Closet to the pin after all the balls are on the green = 2 points
Bongo = First ball holed = 3 points

It's not a perfect game since when playing for Bongo there's an advantage in missing and leaving yourself further away from the hole than the others. But then there's the gamble: Play for perfect line and strength to hole the putt which might give the next shot to your opponent if you miss, or putt more aggressively to give yourself the next shot if you miss?
jpjeffery says:
("Closest", not "Closet"!)
OffCoursegolfer says:
I'm clearly a big off course golfer 'note the name' because I live in LA and when I leave work it's impossible to get to any courses thanks to the traffic. As a result we play either through our park or on the beach. As a result we play one club 'call your hole' where we play either a 9 or 8 iron and we alternate calling the next hole as we galevant around the park or down the beach. We put a few almost golf balls in our pocket, because we do loose them. But it's easy, cheap and the only game we can play thanks to traffic.
pyjlee says:
woobwoob - I believe the game you are referring to is "Vegas" or "Las Vegas". We play that all the time. It gets tricky with Birdies (the losing team flips scores, where the high score is the first digit) and Eagles (points earned in Birdie x 2).
Bertie_16 says:
I enjoy playing Wolf. We also have played a game called "Olympic". Once everyone has hit their ball onto the green you determine who is farthest, next closest, and so on. So if you are playing with 4 people you would determine the 4 people in order from farthest to closest. Each player then is putting for money on their first putt. The furthest would be putting for $4, or whatever amount you decide on before the game starts. If he makes it he gets 4 dots, if he misses he gets nothing. The next player goes and he is putting for $3, then the next for $2 and the closest player putts for $1. It puts pressure on the person who is closest to make their putt if the other players make their putts for big money. Also, if you hole out from off the green either chipping or putting from the fringe it is $5. It sounds like a lot of money but you'll find that not many putts are made for $3 or $4 unless everyone chips close to the hole.
ravin says:
Jev just to clue you in. Stableford is not basically strokeplay. It is a point system based on your handicap. a par is 2, a bogey 1 and anything over that is not scored. A scratch of the hole, no points. The same in the other direction, a birdy 3 and etc. You get the idea I'm sure.
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