Switch It Up With Fun Golf Games for the Course

No one ever said that arranging fun golf games to play with friends and family was easy. You can play games, such as awarding double points to group members who are able to make all three, or you can even switch up points for money to really up the ante. However, before you get started playing, remember that the rules of golf apply to this game.

The Lone Wolf

The Lone Wolf is a great game to play in groups with three players. Before you start the round, be sure to decide who the “wolf” will be for each hole. For this example, let’s say that Player A is the wolf for the first hole, Player B is on the second, Player C is on the third, and so on. Every wolf on each hole (such as Player A) will tee off last. Player B will then take their tee shot before Player C hits their drive, and the “wolf” will decide whether to partner up with Player B on their hole.

If they don’t, they can watch Player C take a shot and then decide if they want to play against Player B for the hole or partner up with Player C. However, the wolf won’t be able to work with Player B once Player C takes a shot. Player A’s last option is to play the hole as a “lone wolf” on their own; if they do this, they’ll have to play against Player B and Player C, who will then team up against Player A.

The points awarded on each hole will be awarded like this:

  • If the wolf chooses to play with a partner, and they win the hole, they will both get two points. If the single player can beat both of them for the hole, then the player will get three points.
  • If a player decides to play as the lone wolf, and they win the hole, then that player will get four points, while the opposition gets two points each if they win the hole
  • The golfer who racks up the most points by the end of the round will win the match.

You can also add variations to this game by giving the lone wolf extra points if they win a hole if they choose to play by themselves before anyone even starts playing. While this may increase the potential rewards for the lone wolf, it will also increase the rewards for the competitors if they win the hole. There may be a few things to keep track of in this game, but once you understand how to play, it’s actually a fun game that can be played strategically by the teams that form during the actual round.

Golden Ball

Here’s another great game to play, whether you have plenty of players or not so many. For instance, if you have a group of three, you can give each one a “golden ball” that is then rotated throughout the round amongst the members. Let’s say that for the first hole, Player 1 would have the golden ball, then Player 2 would take over on the second hole, and Player 3 would carry on for the third hole before it went back to Player 1 on the fourth hole.

This would continue until each golfer had used the golden ball six times during the course of the round. A key rule is that the person using the golden ball must always count their score on the hole, which is then added to the lowest score achieved by other players. The best player’s score will be counted more often, which could then even out the scores, even if they had one fewer player on the team.

You can also make things a bit fairer on the team with one fewer person by rotating another ball apart from the golden ball, so one player can use two balls for each hole. Because of the flexible rules that come with this game, you can potentially work with groups of three and groups of four. The game can also go into overdrive by introducing mechanics such as eliminating a whole team if they lose their colored balls.


This classic game can be easily set up, no matter how many players you have in the game. Every hole in the course is given a point, and the player who wins the hole gets the point. If no one is able to get the point on the first try, this point is then “carried over” into the next hole, where everyone can play for the combined total of the points.

This rule will stay in play until someone is able to win the hole outright and claim all the points. When this happens, the point value on the next hole goes back to its original value, along with the next holes after it. This process will continue for all 18 holes, where every player will need to total all the points they were able to collect over the round, which will then determine the winner.

The great thing about Skins is that it can also be played by a wide range of skill levels and handicaps, so everyone can be involved, even if they don’t play very well. For instance, if your teams have three golfers with varying levels of skill, you can opt to use the net score rather than the gross score to determine a winner. Even if there is a bad player on one team, the other two players can strategically play for holes that have points rolled over from previous holes and may be able to get in a few good shots where it matters.

If you want to make the game really interesting, you can substitute points for money—this is where Skins gets really fun. By having a currency amount on each hole, everyone will certainly try to play better! You can start by playing for $10 or $20 on each hole. After a few missed opportunities, you’ll find that some holes with rolled-over amounts will quickly become worth more than $100!


Here’s another classic game; the Stableford format is a crowd favorite, and your group is sure to love it! When playing this game, players are awarded points as follows depending on their gross or net score on a hole:

  • Bogey = 1 point
  • Par = 2 points
  • Birdie = 3 points
  • Eagle = 4 points 
  • Albatross = 5 points 

The team or individual that scores the most points will win the game. While this may sound straightforward, it can become slightly unfair if your groups have odd numbers in them. A team with an even number of players may simply get rid of their worst score and use the best three out of four scores, while the other groups need to count all of their scores for every hole.

Fortunately, you can make a few changes to the rules that can balance out such a problem. For example, you can penalize groups of four more than groups of three. If a group of four makes two bogeys in a row, the player loses all of their points and must restart from zero.

Split Sixes

This is a great option when you’re playing in groups of three. In Split Sixes, players will compete for six points in each hole during the round. How they’re awarded will depend on the scores that each of the three players records. Here’s an example of how the game is played:

  • The best-scoring player on a hole will be awarded four points, the next best scorer will get two points, and the worst scorer receives no points
  • If a player gets the best score, and the other two members of the team get a tie, then they both get a split score listed as 4-1-1.
  • However, if two players are tied with the best score in one hole, and the third player gets the lowest score, the two players are given three points each, while the last player gets a zero. 
  • If all three players somehow tie for the highest score, then they will all get two points each.

The winning score can be decided based on the net instead of the gross scores, which can work well if there is a wide range of handicaps among your group. If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, you can always substitute the points for money, so everyone’s pumped to keep playing at their best. There’s also another version of Split Sixes called Carousel, where one player can win the hole outright; a player can get six points instead of four, while the others get nothing.

Carousel can be a great game for individuals who might be playing badly. They’ll still have a chance of winning if they’re able to score a few 6-point holes. However, this also means that a good player can put the game away quickly if the other two players can’t catch up.


Golf doesn’t have to be a hard sport if you know how to play it with your closest buddies and family members. With so many fun games to play, it doesn’t matter how many players you have because you’ll surely have fun creating new rules and implementing interesting add-ons to the existing games outlined above. Before you get carried away with playing for money, make sure that everyone knows the rules and that you explain them clearly upfront to ensure that everyone has fun.

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