Golf column: Revive your game with new games

Golf is a game with many different options for games that can be played while playing a round with friends or other fellow competitors.

In this article we will describe many of the different games and formats you can play and how they may add to the fun and competition during your game of golf.

Larry Norland, Green Haven GC

Larry Norland, Green Haven GC

The typical format used during a round is the standard stroke play. This is what most people think of as golf. Everyone plays their own ball to the completion of each hole and counts every stroke during the round. If you have 52 full shots and 32 putts your score is 84. Pretty simple, right? But, during a typical stroke play round, you can add many types of games to either add to the excitement or maybe even put a few quarters on the line between friends.

One of my favorite games is five-point scotch.

You play as two, two-person teams and get one point for low ball (best score), one point if your opponents have high ball, one point for low total, one point if you get closest to the pin in regulation and a bonus point for a birdie.

There are many variations of this type of game with different point awards, etc., but it can create a lot of action and sometimes you may need an accountant to keep track.

Another great game is for a threesome of golfers called the nine-point game.

Each and every hole you award nine points, depending on the scores of the three golfers. If all players tie with the low score, each player gets three points. If one player wins and the others tie, the winning player gets five points and the others get two points apiece. If two tie for low then they would each get four points and the high player would get one point. If there are no ties then the low player gets five points, then three points and then one point to the high scorer.

So you can see after 18 holes there can be a lot of points awarded and there can be some really fun swings in who is leading and by how much.

These are just two of the many types of game that can be played during a round of stroke play, but there are a couple of other formats that can make the game fun in different ways.

The classic format that, in my opinion, is not played enough is match play. In match play each player plays their own ball through the hole and the player with the lowest score wins the hole. The player that wins the most holes during a round is the winner of the match. This format is a lot of fun and it allows you to have a bad hole and it only costs you one hole and not your whole score.

The other format is a scramble. This is where your team of four all hit from the tee and you select your best shot and then all hit from there. You continue this until the ball is holed and then you start again on the next tee. This format can be a lot of fun for the person who doesn’t play a lot of golf, since there isn’t a lot of pressure on an individual shot. There are also some variations to this format that you can use such as a mandatory number of drives or one that we use at Green Haven called Angels and Demons based on nine hard and nine easy holes.

We use this format for our Celebrate Anoka Tournament on Sept. 8, and it has been very popular for the fun and creative playing situations that occur.

So, if you are tired of the same old game you regularly play, ask your local PGA professional for some options to try to liven it up a bit.

See you on the course.

Larry Norland is the director of golf at Green Haven Golf Course in Anoka.

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