What Type of Golf Game to Play?

When approaching the first tee, pretty much the only thing decided is that you are playing golf. Great decision. Other than that, a flurry of other questions become very important before taking that first swing. Your ball of choice, your playing partner(s), your (totally optional) wager and how many mulligans you need are all vital to your round. After squaring away the basics, likely the most important questions remains: What type of game to play?

There are plenty of golf games to play and the aforementioned questions are vital to choosing which one fits best.


This form of golf is likely the most well known. Grab a crew of golfers (limit four), each hitting their own shot. Take the best single shot from the group and hit from there. The goal is to have at least one safe ball off the tee, but certainly never the guarantee. On too many occasions, I have been put under the pressure of hitting a straight drive when my partner sprays his towards the lake. Depending on the number of players on the team, the scramble format produces lower scores and helps double-bogey golfers fulfill their dream of grabbing birdies.

Best Ball

The Best Ball format is usually played in a foursome as well, with a pair of two-person teams. Each player plays his or her ball throughout the entire game, recording a score on each hole. The designated teams use the best score between the two-team members and size that up against the best score of their opponents. Once again, if the 18th fairway in a tight match, the pressure is surely on when half the team puts one in the weeds.

Alternate Shot

The rules of the Alternate Shot format are all within the title. One player of a two-man team hits the shot. Then his teammate gets to hit the next shot, alternating between teammates for each successive stroke. The true test of a two-man golfing team is seen in the alternate shot format when one teammate consistently leaves the other in the sand trap.

Bingo Bango Bongo

Not only does this format have a catchy name, it’s an equally exciting game. On each hole, each player has a chance to win a slice of the pie. Once off the tee, the player who is the first to reach the green (Bingo) gets a point. The next point is dished out to the player who is closest to the hole when all players are on the green (Bango). Finally, the final point (Bongo) goes to the person who holes the first putt, regardless of distance. Of course the rules of order — furthest player from the hole plays first — must be obeyed.

If I had enough space, this list would include plenty of other great golf games. Enough that would take many rounds to try out. At least this way there will be a couple more in mind when you and your Sunday foursome is left pondering on the first tee box. Hack away.