Welcome to our guide on the best golf games for wide range of handicaps!
The staple games for most diets often revolve around traditional games for two, three, or four players, such as matchplay, skins games, Nassau or Stableford.
But these games often don’t work well for playing in a group with a wide range of handicaps.
Having a repertoire of fun golf games in your back pocket that are fun and accessible for everyone comes in super useful, as it’s often that we’ll play with groups who have a range of handicaps and abilities.
So that’s why we’ve compiled our 13 favorite golf games for wide range of handicaps and number of players – enjoy!
FUN GOLF GAMES: 13 OPTIONS FOR ANY GOLFER
Golfers love a wee wager and win bragging rights at the end of play. The money is mostly irrelevant as your winnings soon disappear; after all, any golfer with honor will be first to the bar to buy the drinks.
This list of fun golf games is for every day and any-day fun with your friends.
Let’s tee it up and run through our 13 fun golf games for wide range of handicaps.
FUN GOLF GAMES: FOUR-BALL IN PAIRS
Each fun golf game detailed in this first section is a pairs format with two teams of two players.
They can also be structured as either a one-bet for the whole match, or divided into three segments: front-nine, back-nine, and overall. The choice is yours.
#1: FUN GOLF GAMES: ALTERNATIVE FOUR-BALL MATCHPLAY – THE SECOND BALL COUNTS
In this version, both golfers have to turn up on every hole to win more points. Thankfully, you can still rely on a partner to save you on a hole if you start to rattle up a big number.
Handicap allowances for Matchplay golf apply.
- Score 1 point to the team with the lowest nett score on a hole compared to the lowest score from their opponents.
- Score 1 point to the team that has the lowest nett score of the two higher scores on each team.
- Points may be shared on a hole – Team A has the best low score, Team B the best high.
- Now the kicker when big points can be won; Team A has both the best low and high score on a hole – they now win 3 points.
- And even more dramatic – Team A now has the lowest two scores on a hole, their worst score beats Team B’s best score – a whopping 5 points are won.
- If the low or high scores are the same, then no points are awarded.
#2: FUN GOLF GAMES: VEGAS
An intriguing and somewhat scary fun golf game that as the name suggests has the potential to win or lose some serious money. Carefully consider your starting stakes for Vegas!
On each hole, the number to go on the scorecard is the low score followed by the high score as shown in the table below. Nine is the highest score you can record for any player.
Thank goodness our phones have a calculator!
Now, this is an extreme case whereby Team A, in effect, won every hole – as a consequence, they are 83 points better off than Team B.
Betting a $ per point could get very messy but can be overcome by capping off the maximum you can lose.
#3: FUN GOLF GAMES: YELLOW BALL MODIFIED FORMAT
One of the groups here will be responsible for the purchase of a batch of yellow balls.
Within each pair, players alternate holes with the yellow ball. Therefore Player 1 has the odd holes, Player 2 the even.
Played under the Stableford points scoring system with points doubled for the player with the yellow ball.
Strategy becomes important with your yellow ball. If you lose it on a hole, the yellow ball is out of play for the remainder of this hole and the next two holes. This penalty can have a massive impact on the game.
Side note: If the ball goes into a water hazard and is retrievable, then you can continue under penalty and the two-hole ban is waived; the ball is not lost.
Related article: Golf Out Of Bounds Rules: Learn How To Play The Game
#4-A: FUN GOLF GAMES: 6-6-6 (AKA ROUND ROBIN):
Another Matchplay variant but will work for any format you choose from the fun golf games.
The main theme is that you swap partners every six holes and, by doing so, play with everybody in the group. Your friend and ally soon becoming your arch-nemesis!
A fast-paced sprint format over the six holes with suitable side bets agreed.
How to pick pairings? The longest and shortest drives off the first tee pair up for the first six holes. This selection process is repeated on hole 7 for the second pairing for the middle holes and the last pair for holes 13-18 come together by default.
If either of the start holes (1 or 7) are a Par 3, then the nearest to and furthest from the pin become partners.
#4-B: FUN GOLF GAMES: 6-6-6 MIX AND MATCH
You now stay with the same partner all game but have decided on playing three different formats for the round swapping after each six-hole segment.
A nice way to break up a round and get 3 fun golf games for the price of one.
#5: FUN GOLF GAMES: WIN, PLACE AND SHOW
A nice simple format. On each hole, the lowest nett score gets three points, the second-lowest score two points, the third-lowest score one point, and the highest score no points. You have to win, place or show to score.
The next three fun golf games are the perfect add-on for a second round on a golf trip/holiday:
#6: FUN GOLF GAMES: GREENSOMES
This is a less strenuous version of the Foursomes (Alternate Shot) (link to Four-Ball feature) format played as a Matchplay game.
Handicap allowances are calculated for each pair, Lowest Handicap x 0.6 + Highest Handicap x 0.4
Pair 1, handicaps 4 and 18: therefore 4 x 0.6 = 2.4 plus 18 x 0.4 = 7.2. Total 10.6
Pair 2, handicaps 8 and 24: therefore 8 x 0.6 = 4.8 plus 24 x 0.4 = 9.6. Total 15.4
The difference is 4.8 rounds up to 5. Pair 2 receive 5 shots.
Both players tee off on every hole. Then you select the best drive and play one ball from this point alternating shots until completing the hole. If player A’s drive is selected, then player B will play the next shot.
#7: FUN GOLF GAMES: CHAPMAN
An extension of a Greensomes and uses the same handicap allowance. Either played as Matchplay, or the more adventurous or lower handicap golfers may opt for Stroke Play.
Each player tees off and then they swap balls. Player A in a pair will hit Player B’s ball and vice-versa. Now after both second shots, the pair decide which of the two balls to play – that is if they still have the choice.
After the second shot, players alternate strokes with one ball until holing out.
#8: FUN GOLF GAMES: GRUESOMES (MAYBE NOT FUN!)
A variant of traditional pairs Matchplay and one for the sick and twisted!
Again both players tee off, and the opposing team then decides which ball is played next. They are going to choose the worst option.
Alternate shots are then played for the rest of the hole, as in Foursomes.
FUN GOLF GAMES: MULTIPLE FOUR-BALLS (FOURSOMES)
#9: FUN GOLF GAMES: 44 BALLS
A great game of strategy played recording nett medal scores.
With 4 players and 18 holes, there are 72 potential scores. The team has to pick their best 44 scores. Sounds easy enough – but maybe not!
A Team Captain is appointed and collects the individual scores on each hole. The team must decide how many scores to select before teeing off on the subsequent hole. You cannot back-track if struggling later on in the round.
In effect with 44 balls to count over 18 holes, this equates to 2.44 scores/hole.
Choices will be made based on the following strategic factors:
- Don’t get too far behind, par is a decent score to count
- A team doesn’t want to have too many scores required to score over the closing holes
- You never want to have to put a bogey score onto their scorecard
- Being aware of what lies ahead – tough holes, shot holes, or non-shot holes
Scores for this format are recorded against par explained below Example with balls selected in yellow:
|Running Team Score
|1||4||3||4||4||4||3||1 under par|
|2||5||5||3||6||5||6||3 under par|
|3||4||4||4||3||7||8||4 under par|
|4||3||2||5||4||3||10||5 under par|
|5||5||5||4||4||6||13||7 under par|
|6||4||4||5||4||3||16||8 under par|
|7||3||3||4||3||5||18||8 under par|
|8||4||4||7||5||6||19||8 under par|
|9||4||5||3||5||5||20||9 under par|
This shows that by not taking some of the pars early on, the team is now behind the eight-ball at halfway and now needs 24 scores on the back nine holes. Not ideal.
#10: FUN GOLF GAMES: CHACHACHA
No, it’s not a dance but, with no pun intended, it is a twist on a traditional Four-ball team format.
Count the scores in 3 hole segments as follows:
- Hole 1, just the best nett score counting
- Hole 2, best two scores
- Hole 3, best three scores
….then on hole 4, the process repeats returning to just one ball counting.
FUN GOLF GAMES FOR THREE-BALLS
Playing social golf with your mates. We try and get together a Four-Ball but sometimes a player may cry off at the eleventh hour – maybe an injury, they forgot their partner’s birthday, or just overdid things the night before! Now down to a three-ball.
What are your options? A little more limited but there are options.
#11: FUN GOLF GAMES: SPLIT SIXES / NINES
A points game with either 6 or 9 points up for grabs on each hole. Either works.
Full handicap allowance, strokeplay.
Playing Split Sixes, the player that wins a hole outright gets 4 points. The second-best score gets two points and the third gets a big fat zero.
If scores are tied, then the points are shared. If two players have the best score, they share the 6 points on offer, 3 each. The scores on this hole are now 3-3-0. Got it.
Playing Nines, the allocation is 5 points for lowest score, 3 for second, and 1 for last on every hole.
#12: FUN GOLF GAMES: MIDDLE BALL
Strokeplay: Full handicap allowance with a points scoring system.
Three players tee off. The middle tee shot (agreed by all 3 players) is now playing by himself against the other two players.
If the solo player wins the hole, they score two points. If the pair wins, they score one point each. If the hole is halved, then no points are scored.
To up the ante, the solo player can announce double before playing their second shot, a big gamble but worthwhile if they go on to win the hole.
Then they score double (4 points) but they must win the hole. If not they give away points; a halved hole and the pair each receive one point and two if they win the hole.
This is a brave call by the solo player to be used wisely. These are the logical reasons:
- Other two players are in trouble of the tee
- The solo player has a shot on the hole
- The solo player is well behind in the match and needs to gamble to close the gap
#13: FUN GOLF GAMES: SOLVING THE 7 PLAYER CONUNDRUM
Seven in golf is a somewhat incongruous number but it can and does happen.
The best solution is to revert to the 44 game (#9). The group of three has a ghost player who records a nett par on every hole. Yes, the ghost cannot improve the team score but eighteen pars will prove to be like gold come to the end of the round.
Related Article: A Texas Scramble Golf Guide: Rules, Strategy and More.
FUN GOLF GAMES: A SUMMARY
So many options to pick from and so much fun to be had.
Now is the time for your golf group to get creative and introduce themselves to a new format from our selection of fun golf games for any golfer.
We’d love to hear from you telling us the tale of the tape about which fun golf games you have tried and which is your new favorite – let us know how you got on in the comments!