Golf Games
For Individuals

Welcome to Golf Games for Individuals

This Golf Games for Individuals Page has suggestions on games for individuals to accumulate points and can be used in any size group of players. Whether playing just the two of you “Mano a Mano”, or in a threesome, foursome, or even larger groups of virtually unlimited size.

Golf Games for Individuals

Use this table to navigate easily to each game and back again

Golf Games for Individuals

All these games can be played with or without handicaps

~ Individual Stroke Play

Two individuals play against each other or every individual plays against any number of other players in the tournament field for total score on the round of golf. It can be for just overall score on the round or in the form of a Nassau (see below).

~ Match Play

Two individuals play in a match for holes won. Total score is not important as losing a hole 8 to 4 is only one lost hole and does not take a player out of the match.

This format can also be used in two or four man teams and is often also played in the form of a Nassau (see below).

~ The Nassau

Probably the best known and most widely played game between friends.

The Nassau is a game played for one bet on the front 9, another bet on the back 9, and can also have a 3rd bet for the over-all 18.  This game is played in the match-play format where points are awarded for each hole won outright throughout each 9. Many also play this game with Presses (see below).

This game can be played between individuals in a 2-man game, or by 2-man teams in a 4-some match.

~ Presses

* Note that although virtually any bet can be “pressed”, it is most often used in Match Play and Nassau formats.

Presses are a new bet for the same amount as the original bet and are usually called for when one team falls 2 bets or holes down, and carry forward for the remainder of the nine holes, and you can have multiple Presses (bets) running for the nine hole game.

Variations include the “Automatic” 2-Down Press, and the “Suicide” Press where the Press must be won. Any ties go to the team that was ahead when the press was called and accepted.

The Dot Game

We often use any number and combination of the suggestions below in what we call a “Dot Game” where winning any one of these gives you a point or a “dot”.

Those points or dots can carry any value agreed upon by the group and players collect on the difference between their point total and the point totals of the others in the group.

~ Skins

Along with The Nassau, the Skins Game is probably one of the most popular games played out on the course.

The player with the lowest score on any hole wins that hole’s “skin” and can be played under two (or more) variations:

  1. Holes that are not won carry over and accumulate until won outright by one player in the group. Under this format there could be a situation where the only 2 skins all day occur on the 17th and 18th greens and the winner of the 17th hole gets 17 skins and the winner of the 18th hole only gets 1 skin.
  2. For that very reason, many groups choose to play skins with no carry-over. Holes that are not won outright just die, and only the outstanding number of holes won outright are counted and paid. That way all skins carry the same value regardless of on what hole they may have been won.
  3. Can also be played for higher stakes (or like they do on TV), where holes are worth progressively more. For example: 1st 6 holes have one value, with the 2nd 6 holes played for a higher value, and the final 6 holes played for an even higher value. Or each hole could be worth more than the last.

Play with whatever format works best for your group’s style.

~ Sandiesgolf games for Individuals 

Player gets up & down out of a bunker in 2 or less shots. Player must exit the bunker on the first shot, then get in the hole on the second (or holing the bunker shot counts too, 'cuz that's pretty good golf). Can be played that the first shot must reach the green (making the second shot a putt), or can played that getting down on the second shot can be from anywhere. Can also be played that the final hole score must be for par or better. 

~ Rommellgolf games for Individuals 

Player incurs a penalty for failing to exit the bunker on the first shot. Can also be played that rather than the player failing to exit getting a penalty (and deducting a dot), the other players in the group simply each get an extra point.

* Note - Usually easier to score by adding dots to the other player's score(s) since most golf pencils don't (purposely) have erasers, so deducting dots from the failed bunker shot player's score requires a lot of complicated math.

~ Greenies or KP’sgolf games for Individuals 

Player who hits closest to the hole wins. Usually played on par 3’s, but can also be used on any hole as well as long as the shot used is in regulation – must be the 1st shot on par 3’s, the 2nd shot on par 4’s, or the 2nd or 3rd shot on par 5’s. Only balls on the green count!! 

~ Fairwaysgolf games for Individuals 

Player gets a point for hitting the fairway (on par 4’s and 5’s). 

~ Long Drivegolf games for Individuals 

Player gets a point for hitting the long drive on any par 4 or par 5 (drive must be in the fairway). 

~ Threes (on the par 3’s) 

The player with the best total score on just the par 3 holes is the winner of this game – often played that the winner must be at par or better.

The player(s) with the lowest score wins – if two or more players are tied then all tied for the lowest score are deemed equal winners. 

~ Barkiesgolf games for Individuals 

Player gets a point for making a par or better after having hit a tree.

~ Bogey Birdiegolf games for Individuals 

Player gets a point for making a bogey after taking a two-stroke penalty. 

~ Ruffies

golf games for Individuals 

Player gets a point for making a par or better on a hole where he/she NEVER played any ball from the fairway. 

~ Alligatorsgolf games for Individuals 

Player gets a point for making a natural par after taking a one-stroke water hazard penalty.  

~ Bingo, Bango, Bongo

Played with three winners per hole.

  • - 1 winner for the 1st ball to reach the green
  • - 1 winner for the ball closest to the hole once all balls are on the green
  • - 1 winner for the 1st ball to hole-out.

Must be played under the proper rules of golf where every player must await his proper turn to hit. Otherwise, everybody would be scrambling to hit first to reach the green and to putt-out. 

~ Snakes 

Any player who 3-putts any hole owes a “snake” to each of the other players in that group. Can played that they are paid at the time of occurrence, or can be accumulated and settled at the end of the round.

Can also be played as just one “snake” per each nine holes; where only the last player to 3-putt on each nine owes the “snake” to the others in the group.

~ Black Mamba 

This is a slight variation on the Snakes Game, whereby any player who 4-putts owes a “Black Mamba” to everyone in the group. Usually played in addition to Snakes, but can also stand alone where players are only penalized for 4-putting any green. 

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Stableford Format 

Points are awarded for each score on every hole. You can use any modification for points awarded (or subtracted) on every hole, but the R&A and the USGA award points as follows:

The Nassau

Probably the best known and most widely played game between friends.

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