How it works: Also known as alternate shot. Paired in twos, a team plays only one ball, taking turns hitting until the hole is finished. Players switch teeing off, meaning one will drive on the even holes while the other takes odd.

This can be endlessly fun or the bane of your existence. Yes, partly due to your partner—punching-out their bad drives hole after hole gets old fast—but the inverse of that is especially true, knowing your bad shot could kill their enjoyment. Sentiments that make this format the most intense of the bunch.

And for that reason, we’d advocate employing this in the rarest of cases, like with your usual weekend group or to shake things up for an annual outing that’s become stale. One positive upshot: Because it cuts the shots hit in half, so does the pace of the round. As long as you have the course in front of you, big dividends.


How it works: Unlike traditional scoring, the goal in Stableford is to have the highest score possible. This is because the lower your score on a hole is, the more points you receive. Here’s the baseline points system the PGA Tour uses at the Barracuda Championship, which can be adjusted to your own event: Double Eagle – 8 points, Eagle – 5 points, Birdie – 2 points, Par – 0 points, Bogey – minus-1 point, Double Bogey or worse – minus-3 points.

In theory, this is exciting…until you remember you’re not exactly the player that racks up red numbers. Only use this format if A) You’re outing is comprised of really good players B) The course is a cake walk C) This is paired with a scramble.

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