Posted on: 24 March

If you are reading this I know you love your golf. You love the challenge the game presents of you against the course, and the mental challenge of producing your best golf week in week out. Although I enjoy the challenge of producing my best golf, I also enjoy the company of my friends and the social aspect of the game where we can laugh, cry, and commiserate all within the time it takes to play one hole.

Whether you are playing just for enjoyment, a drink afterwards or a friendly wager how do you inject a new level of competition? Over the years I have played a variety of these games to shake up my normal routine and practice. They help to keep my game sharp, and at the same time introduce some fun competition to a casual round of golf.

As Lee Trevino famously said “You don’t know what pressure is until you play for five bucks with only $2 in your pocket”.

Below are 6 of my favourite side games that I have enjoyed over my many years of playing golf.
1. Snake – The “Snake” is awarded to the first person who three putts in the group. He or she keeps the “snake” until someone else in the group three-putts and they subsequently get the “snake”. The person holding the snake at the end of the round is the holder of the “snake” and they face the predetermined consequence that comes with that.

2. Split Sixes – A game for a three ball. Every hole is worth six points and the points are split between the players according to their score on each hole. The points are split like this:
⦁ The golfer with the low net score on the hole gets 4 points
⦁ The golfer with the middle net score on the hole gets 2 points
⦁ The golfer with the high net score on the hole gets 0 points
In the event of ties on holes the scores are split like this:
⦁ Two golfers tie for the low net score, both players get 3 points and the high score gets 0
⦁ If two golfers tie for the high net score on the hole, the low net score gets 4 points and the two golfers tied for the high net score get 1 point each.
⦁ If all three golfers tie, 2 points each.
In addition I like to add in:
⦁ If the low net score of the group is best by 2 or more shots that golfer will get all 6 points.

3. Defender – Another 3 player game in which two players compete as a team against one player (the defender). On every hole the defender changes, and it is her or his job to “defend” the hole against the two “attacking” players by matching or beating their score.

4. Six-Six-Six – A four player game. I like to play this game as you play three matches in 18 holes. It’s fun and keeps it interesting, especially if someone, or yourself, is having a hot round. In your foursome you rotate partners every six holes. At the end of 18 holes you will have partnered the other three players in the group which is a great way to keep everyone involved. Especially if you have a disastrous first game.

5. Best Ball (second ball counts) – One of the most popular games to play in a foursome. Typically, two person teams take on each other and the best net score at the end of the hole is used to determine the winner on each hole and the higher net score is not used. But mix it up, so when there is a tie of lower net scores on the hole, include the second ball to determine a winner on each hole. This ensures that all players keep trying their best even if they are not likely to win the hole. If they are the same the hole is halved.

6. Skins – Played with 4 players. Firstly you need to assign a dollar value or point value to a hole. Each player plays their own ball and the lowest outright net score on each hole wins the ”skin”. If there is a tie between the low net scores the “skin” carries over to the next hole.

I’m sure you’ll find that “spicing it up a little” will add a new level of interest, competition and camaraderie in your next game. And if you would like to sharpen your game before your next round book a lesson at

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