Revitalizing Your Golf Experience: 16 Fun Formats to Try


Golf is a game of tradition, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be shaken up from time to time. Whether you’re looking to add some competitive spice to your regular rounds or just seeking a fresh way to enjoy the game, these 16 golf formats offer a fantastic variety of challenges and fun. Forget the standard Stableford, stroke play or match play – it is time to redefine your golf game!

1. Innovative Team Play

Bingo Bango Bonga

A points-based betting game, Bingo Bango Bonga deviates from traditional scoring, making for an unpredictable and entertaining round. Players compete for points based on three accomplishments: reaching the green first, being closest to the pin once all balls are on the green, and holing out first. With 54 points up for grabs, the stakes can be as high as you dare.


This fourball format adds a twist, with only the best ball counting on the first hole, the best two on the second, and the best three on the third. The cycle repeats, ensuring a varied and strategic game.


The player with the lowest net score on each hole becomes the Chairman on the next, with the unique rule that only the Chairman can win a hole. It’s a format that keeps everyone on their toes!

2. Partners and Foursomes


A fourball variation requiring strategic play and potentially testing friendships. Players swap balls after their tee shots and decide after their second shots which ball to play for the remainder of the hole. Alternating shots, the team must hole out, requiring cooperation and precision.


Another pairs matchplay format, but with a wicked twist. Both players tee off and their opponents decide which ball they should play next, alternating shots thereafter. It adds a layer of strategy and potentially some mischief to the game.

Foursome Variations: Lone Ranger/Yellow Ball

A scramble format popular on charity days. Each player in the group of four takes turns playing with a designated “lone ranger” ball for an entire hole. The score of the “lone ranger” is combined with the lowest score of the other three for the team score.

3. Fun with Scoring


A fun, communal take on “pick and place”. Players can choose to play from the spot of any other player’s shot, driving camaraderie and strategic play.


In a unique Stableford format, Murphys assigns different point values to each score, from -3 for a double bogey or worse to +8 for an albatross.

Nassau Scoring

This side-betting game divides the round into three separate matches: front nine, back nine, and the full 18, allowing for a comeback even after a rough start.

4. Novelty Games


A matchplay game with an edge. Call “flap” before your ball’s first bounce on a shot off the green, and you must hole out with the next shot to win the hole.


A four-ball better-ball matchplay with three real players and one imaginary “ghost” player, who makes par on every hole. It ensures an even playing field and adds an element of strategy.


Inspired by the European Tour, this greensomes pairs knockout tournament requires 16 players for a round-robin format, followed by knockout stages, all played over six holes.

Portuguese Caddy

The next best thing to a mulligan. Players can move their ball by kicking it, without penalty, a set number of times. It’s a lighthearted addition to any round.

Split Sixes

A skins variation for three players. Six points are at stake on every hole, distributed based on the scores. It’s a unique twist on a traditional format.

String ball

Each player gets a foot of string per handicap shot, allowing them to move their ball without penalty. It’s a fun way to mitigate bad luck on the course.

In Conclusion

Golf is a game rich in history and tradition, but these formats prove that there’s always room for a little innovation and fun. So, grab your clubs, call up your golf buddies, and hit the links with these 16 exciting formats. You might just discover your new favorite way to play!


1. Can these formats be played in official tournaments?

While these formats are generally meant for casual play, some could be adapted for tournament play, particularly in charity or fun events.

2. Do I need any additional equipment for these formats?

Most of the formats can be played with standard golf equipment. For Stringball, you’ll need a length of string and a pair of scissors.

3. How do I choose the best format for my group?

Consider the skill levels and preferences of your group. If you’re looking for high-stakes excitement, try Bingo Bango Bonga or Flaps. For a more relaxed, strategic game, Chairman or Chapman might be the way to go. The key is to ensure everyone is on board and ready for a fun twist on their regular round of golf.

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