GAME FORMAT DEFINITIONS (UPDATED JANUARY 15, 2013)
CHICAGO: In Chicago, players start with a negative amount of points, based on handicaps, then add positive points during the round. The idea is to get from the negative to the positive, clearing your “hurdle” (the term used for your starting total of negative points) by as much as possible.
Negative points begin at -36 for scratch golfers. A 1-handicapper starts with -35, a 2-handicapper with -34, and so on up to a 36-handicapper who starts with -0 points. During the round, positive points are added on this basis:
CRISS CROSS: the golfer gets to compare corresponding scores on their scorecard and choose the lower of two scores, resulting in a 9-hole total score.
It’s not as complicated, here’s how it works: Front 9 holes are paired up with the corresponding Back 9 hole. In other words, think of No. 1 and No. 10 as a pair, No. 2 and No. 11, No. 3 and No. 12, and so on up to No. 9 and No. 18.
Following the round, compare the scores you recorded on No. 1 and No. 10 and circle the lower of the two. Compare No. 2 and No. 11 and circle the lower of the two, and so on through No. 9 and No. 18. Then add up the 9 holes you’ve circled for your total score.
GOLD, WHITE & BLUE: All golfers tee off from the white (middle) tees on their first hole. After that, the tee used depends on the golfer’s score on the previous hole. Golfers who make a birdie tee off from the blues (back tees) on the next hole; golfers who make par, from the whites (middle tees); and golfers who score bogey or higher, from the golds (forward tees).
ELIMINATOR: Eliminator is a best-ball format with a twist: as a player’s score is used for the team score, he is “eliminated” from counting as the team score on ensuing holes, until only one player is left whose score is eligible to be used (then the process starts over).
Here’s an example: Players A, B, C and D tee off on Hole 1. Player A is the low-ball on the first hole. All players move on to Hole 2, but Player A’s score can’t be used; Players B, C and D are eligible. On the second hole, Player B is the low-ball. All players move on to Hole 3, but the scores of A and B are now ineligible; only C and D have a chance to provide the team score. On No. 3, Player C is the low score. And that leaves Player D as the lone survivor – his or her score must be used on the fourth hole as the team score. On Hole 5, the rotation starts over, with all four team members eligible again to have their score counted
HATE ‘EM: In Hate ‘Em, you select the three holes before the round starts, on which your score will be changed to par after the round is over.
The three holes must be comprised of one par 3, one par 4 and one par 5. Hate ‘Em is played with full handicaps
IRISH FOUR BALL: In Irish Four Ball, teams of four golfers – each playing his or her own ball throughout – use a Modified Stableford scoring system. The scores of a predetermined number of team members per hole are combined for one team score. For example, if the low two scores are being counted on a given hole, and those scores are 0 and 1 (Stableford, remember), then the team score on that hole is 1.
Many Irish Four Balls use the two low balls per hole throughout the tournament. A more popular variation calls for the number of scores per hole to vary throughout the round in this fashion:
Holes 1-6: One low ball
Holes 7-11: Two low balls
Holes 12-15: Three low balls
Holes 16-18: All four scores
JOKER’S WILD: Joker’s Wild starts with the members of each 4-person team being designated one of the four card suits (heart, diamond, spade, club). This is done randomly, with suit not related to playing ability. Once each player on the team knows his/her suit, players tee off and play the first hole.
All team members complete play of the hole and proceed to the next tee box. On that tee box is a sign displaying one or two card suits (depending on how many scores per hole the tournament is using). If, for example, a club and a spade are displayed, then the scores on the preceding hole by the players designated club and spade are combined for the team score. It’s also possible that one suit will be displayed twice; i.e., two diamonds. In that case, the diamond player’s score is doubled to count as the team score. And when a joker shows up, the team gets to use the lowest of its four golfers’ scores.
LONE RANGER: On each hole, one player in each foursome is designated the “lone ranger.” That designation rotates throughout the round; for example, Player A has it on the first hole, B on the second, C on the third, D on the fourth, then back to A on the fifth and so on.
In Lone Ranger, two scores per hole are added together for the team score. Here’s the catch: One of those two scores must be from the Lone Ranger. So on each hole, the team score will be the score of the player designated the Lone Ranger, plus the lowest score of the other three players on the team.
MEXICAN STANDOFF: a variation on a four-man scramble. The player, whose ball is chosen, does not hit the next shot. If Player A’s drive is selected, the other three players each hit a second shot from that spot. If Player B’s shot is selected, on the third shot, Player A returns to the team and Player B does not hit – and so on until the ball is holed.
POWERBALL: Powerball is a scramble with a twist. The twist is that 4 holes in the round will be designated as powerball holes. On those holes, one member of the foursome gets to tee off from the next back (blue or white) tees; the catch is that tee shot must be used, regardless of how good (or bad) it turns out to be.
Each member of the foursome will have to hit one of the powerball drives. Choose carefully! On the powerball hole where the potential gain is greatest, have the best driver tee off. On the hole that is wide open with very little trouble, have the worst driver tee off.
SHAMBLE: Like in a scramble, all members of a team tee off and the best ball of the four tee shots is selected. All players move their balls to the spot of the best ball. From this point, the hole is played out at stroke play, with all members of the team playing their own ball into the hole.
SIX, SIX & SIX: a variation on four-man, two best ball. On holes 1 – 6, the better of Players A & B and Players C & D are added together. On holes 7 – 12, the sum of the better ball of Players A & C is added to sum of the better ball of Players B & D. Finally, on holes 13 – 18, it’s better ball of Players A & D added to the better ball of Players B & C.
THREE BLIND MICE: In Three Blind Mice, once the scorecards are turned in the tournament organizers randomly draw three holes from the course just played. And everyone’s scores on those three holes are thrown out. The scorecards are retabulated and the winner is crowned.
WACK AND HACK: In Whack and Hack, the four team members each play their own ball for four individual scores. Two of those scores are combined to make up the team score on each hole. The two scores that are used are the low ball and the high ball. So if the four players score 4, 5, 6 and 7, respectively, the team score is 11 (4 + 7).
But there’s an exception. If the low ball for the team is a birdie or better, then the team gets to use its two low balls on that hole.
STRIKE THREE: At the end of the round, each player gets to throw out the scores from three holes. The low gross and net from 15 holes is used to determine the winners. Must keep score for all 18 holes.
CHAPMAN: In the Chapman System, both players on a side tee off, then they switch balls. Player A plays Player B’s drive, and vice-versa. Each player hits his second shot. They then select the best of the second shots, and from that point until the ball is holed they play only one ball in an alternate shot format.
SCRAMBLE: In a scramble, each player tees off on each hole. The best of the tee shots is selected and all players play their second shots from that spot. The best of the second shots is determined, then all play their third shots from that spot, and so on until the ball is holed. Must use three drives and three second shots from each member of the team.