There are variations of the game of golf that are played around the world in tournaments, at clubs, and among friends in social games.
There two basic forms of playing golf: Match play and Stroke play. In addition, many other formats for golf tournaments exist, some official game types such as Stableford, Bogey and Par Competitions, or as a team in a Foursome and Four ball game.
Other popular forms of the game which are not played in official form include Scramble (Texas scramble, Ambrose), Greensome, Patsome, Skins, String, Chapman and Flag tournaments. The name used for such games may vary also in different regions.
Here is a brief description of some of these popular game styles
- Stroke play — Strokeplay is the most common form of competition, played at most professional tournaments (such as in the Majors). In this form of the game each player completes all 18 holes and adds up the total number of strokes. The player with the lowest total nett score (gross score minus handicap) wins.
- Match Play — In this form of the game, two players (or two teams) play every hole as a separate contest against each other. For each hole, the player or team with the lowest score wins that hole. If the scores are even the hole is "halved" (drawn). The winner is the team or player that wins the most holes.
- Skins — Skins is a type of match play in which each hole is worth a certain amount of points or money, which can only be won by winning the hole outright. If two of more players tie for the lowest score, then the money or points are carried over to the next hole.
- Foursome — A foursome is played between two players in partnership, playing with only one ball which they hit alternately. They alternate who tees off regardless of who played the last putt on the first hole. Each subsequent shot is played in turns until the hole is finished. Foursomes can be played under match play or stroke play rules. Variations on the foursome style are Greensome, Canadian foursome and Mixed Foursome.
- Four ball — Four ball is played the same as foursomes, but each player plays with his own ball and the better score of the team counts.
- Stableford — Stableford is a form of strokeplay, where the scoring is made by points awarded in relation to a fixed score at each hole. The winner is the player who scores the highest number of points.
- Scramble / Ambrose — Players play in teams of 2, 3 or 4. All players in a team tee off on each hole, and the players decide which shot was best. The other players then pick up their ball and play their next shot from that position, and this is repeated until the hole is finished. Ambrose is similar to Scramble, but handicaps are used in the game as in strokeplay.
- Flag tournaments — In flag tournaments, each player is given a flag and is allocated a certain number of strokes which is equal to par plus two thirds of his handicap. When the player runs out of strokes, he plants his flag where the ball lands. The player who gets the furthest wins.
- Golf Pentathlon — this game of golf skills is not commonly played, but maybe it should. The five events for the golf pentathlon: driving distance, driving accuracy, putting, chipping and distance approach. In distance approach, participants aim to get a closest to the pin from various distances.
- Super 6 — combine 54 holes of traditional stroke play across the first three days with an exciting series of knockout, match-play shootouts played over six holes on the final day.
Fun and Other Games
- Mini golf or Putt Putt — a fun version only requiring a putter to tap the ball around short courses often including novelty themes.
- Frisbee or Disc Golf — Disc golf is similar to regular golf in many ways. Instead of using clubs and a ball, the player throws a frisbee disc, and tries to hit individual targets in as few throws as possible.
- Basic Rules of Golf
- Discussion of golf-type sports
- The Golf Majors section of this site
- Golfing Terms