Fun Games to Play While GolfingPublished on 03/14/2023 · 6 min readSpice up your time on the golf course this season with these Expert suggested games. They will both improve your golf game and keep things exciting!
Photo by A.R.T Paola
It's possible that playing a normal stroke-play round with your friends or going to the driving range is getting a bit boring for you. Whether you play public courses, only like going to the driving range, or belong to a country club, there is something for everyone.
However, there are some different games golfers can play while out on the course or out practicing to have more fun. Not all games have to include side bets for money for different playing formats; you can play for pride or for other things. From shaping shots to closest to the pin, the following games offer something for every type of golfer—all you need is golf clubs and to enjoy yourself!
The Putting Green and Chipping Green
Get your putter and wedges ready because the putting green and chipping green are great places to start playing small, fun games with your friends without having to sacrifice a lot of time or money. One of my favorite formats to play with someone else is a match-play putting contest. It works the same way as regular match play does, but you can add your own rules to it.
You can play nine-hole matches or 18 if you have more time. You can have a set amount of holes, even three or six holes if you are really pressed for time. Flip a tee to see who gets to pick the hole and hit the first putt. The winner of the tee flip will not only choose the hole you are putting to but also where you will putt from for the first shot. Generally, you want to choose putts more than 10ft from the hole or a few long ones 50+ ft away if there is room on the putting green. The player that putts the ball the fewest amount of times wins the hole. If you tie, the match is still “even” or “all square”. The goal is to win as many holes as possible so you can win the match. If you can one-putt some holes, it will put some pressure on your opponent. Alternatively, if you three-putt, it might put some stress on yourself.
For example, let’s say you and your friend are even after 17 holes on an 18-hole match play. If you win the hole, the match will be over because you won 1-up, and there are no more holes to play. However, if you both tied, it would go to a sudden-death playoff to keep playing more holes until the first person wins the next hole with the lowest score. This can be a lot of fun and pretty intense playing for pride or even as a betting game.
Tip: If you want it to be more challenging, while Player A (the first player) is putting, Player B (the second player) should look the other way so they don't see which way the golf ball is breaking on the putt.
The same can be done with a chipping match-play contest, but with one minor tweak. Instead of needing to get the ball in the hole, you will try to get it as close to the flagstick (pin) as possible. This will most likely determine a winner on each hole of your match unless you both chip-in or hit it to the exact same distance. This is an exciting way to recreate some pressure during practice that you might feel on the golf course so that you’ll feel more comfortable in the future.
Driving Range Games
A simple yet entertaining game is the closest-to-the-pin contest, which you can play with a friend. Next time you go to the range, pick different targets to aim at to see who can hit the ball closest to the pin. In this points game, you and your friend determine how many targets you will have. Then you’ll decide who hit the ball closer to the pin. The person who hit it closer receives one point. You can set the point quota to what you feel is appropriate for the amount of time and practice balls you have! The highest score wins! Happy pin-seeking!
Level the Playing Field
High handicap, mid handicap, low handicap, and scratch (zero handicap or better) are the four types of common classifications to rank players' skill levels. A handicap is determined by a few rounds played to establish how many extra shots you should receive during a round of golf.
Each hole on the scorecard will be ranked from 1 to 18, one being the hardest and 18 being the easiest. If you were an 8 handicap you would receive eight shots on the top-eight hardest golf holes. During or at the end of a round, you can calculate your new score with your handicapped score.
Let's create an example here to simplify all this. If you and your friend wanted to play a game while golfing together, but knew the difference in skills between each of you was too large, you could put in a handicap. You might be a 10-handicap while your friend is a scratch golfer. In that case, you would receive 10 shots on the hardest ranked holes and your friend wouldn't receive any extra shots on the scorecard. If you get a par on one of the 10 hardest-ranked holes, it will turn into a birdie! The same goes for a double bogey into a bogey, bogey into a par, or a birdie into an eagle.
This makes each tee shot a little less stressful when you know you have an extra shot on a hole. Even if the golf ball went into a hazard (water) or out of bounds (out of play), there still is a chance to have the lowest net score (including handicapped score). Even though you might have a higher score (higher gross score, no handicap), the lower score will be reflected in the net score. So if you don't like hitting certain shots like from the fairway or bunkers, this handicap system can help offset your weaknesses against other players. This helps bring the competition closer together when the skill gap is far apart. The same could be done in a foursome (four golf players) to play this same format.
Playing on a Golf Simulator
Golf is becoming more and more accessible, wherever you are! You can take a swing using a golf simulator at home or at a store. Simulators, like the FlightScope Mevo Launch Monitor, are becoming more affordable to be able to play against your friends at home. Not all simulators/launch monitors cost thousands of dollars, yet they can still deliver great quality.
Now that you can golf wherever you want with your new launch monitor (golf-simulator), you can save a lot of time and money because you won't need to wait behind other golfers on a busy weekend leading to a more relaxed, fun time. Some simulators, like the FlightScope, offer the ability to play on a virtual driving range or have a target-practice challenge to see who can get the most points! These programs come with the simulator; all you need to do is download the app on your phone, laptop, or tablet! For a little extra money, you can play different golf sports with supported software offered by E6 Golf.
There is something for everyone with all types of budgets to enjoy during these tough times without having to sacrifice your favorite hobby. So get out there, try some of these new games/ideas out, and have fun!