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Best Formats for Golf Trips with Your Buddies

The hard part is done. You have picked a date that works for everyone and decided on your golf destination. You have made all your tee times and found a place for your group to stay. Your golf trip with your buddies is just around the corner.

You have one more decision to make. What golf format do you want to play on your trip? Sure, you could just play the golf courses, but wouldn’t it be more interesting to add some competition?

Factors To Consider

Every golf group is different. Selecting the perfect format is not “one size fits all”. You want to tailor it to the golfers on your trip. Think about these 4 factors before making your decision.

  1. # Of Players – how many golfers are going on your trip? Certain formats are better suited for larger groups.
  2. Match Play vs. Stroke Play – there are pros and cons to both. Match play is a great way to create a competitive environment, but some golfers don’t like all the “gimmies”.
  3. Gross or Net – do you want your format to use golf handicaps? To make it fair for all players, you typically will have to go with a Net format, but you may want to build in a system to adjust a player’s handicap if they are shooting much lower than normal.
  4. Prize Pool – we recommend establishing a prize pool. Collect $25-$50 per player the day you arrive and payout daily prizes. It gives your golfers a reason to get out of bed each day and attack the course.

Using these factors, we recommend you select either a stroke-play individual tournament or a Ryder Cup-style match. Let’s talk about how these would work.

Individual Stroke Play Tournament

Keep it simple, but make sure everyone has a chance. Play both gross and net scoring. Use your prize pool to pay out 1st and 2nd place each day for both gross and net. Crown an overall champion for both gross and net, based on total strokes for the trip. Allow your golfers to play age-appropriate tees. On the final day of your trip pair the leaders together.

Ryder Cup Match

For this to work well, you need an even number of players. We would recommend 16, 20, or 24. Unless all your golfers are similar skill level, you will have to play net match play. Select two captains, create team names and let them draft their teams. As long as no one’s feelings will get hurt, the draft can be a blast and create fun rivalries.

Play team matches (2 v 2) for a few days and play individual matches on the last day. Stick to “best ball” or captain’s choice for team matches (alternate shot isn’t much fun on a golf trip). Create a scoreboard to track the team standings (1 point for winning a match). Use your prize pool to payout winners after each round.

Commemorate Your Golf Trip

Is your buddies golf trip an annual event? If so, buy an inexpensive trophy that will get passed around over the years. Engrave it after each trip with the name of the overall winner (or team winner) and bring it to all future trips.

Golf trips are all about having a good time, creating traditions, and making memories. Before you know it, you will be crowning the 10th or 20th champion of your trip!


And don't forget- Mullybox delivers the latest golf products, and makes a great gift for the group!  Check it out at


Author: Ray Dingledine

Ray has played golf for over 30 years and competed at the collegiate level. He now enjoys coaching his local high school team and playing in amateur events.

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