5 of the Best Golf Games to Play During Your Round

Golf is one of the most enjoyable games on the face of this earth, but as we all know it can certainly be frustrating. Even more frustrating is looking at your scorecard at the end of the round to see all the bogeys and the final score.  It’s almost like looking at your bank account after a long night out. 

Regardless, your round doesn’t have to be that frustrating. Most amateur golfers think you have to keep score every time you hit the links, when in actuality that’s not always the case. 
There are plenty of fun games to play within your foursome. Rather than killing yourself trying to shoot the lowest score, take a break and enjoy your round while trying to make some cash off your playing partners. 

You may be aware of the standard playing formats such as scrambles, match play, and stroke play, so here are some of the more common games to play during a round of golf. 

WOLF

Probably my favorite of all games to play among a foursome, wolf keeps everyone involved and is for golfers of all skill levels.  However, it can seem confusing, so hang in there. 

Each hole starts with one golfer in the group being designated as the “wolf, “ and rotates each hole. 

The wolf tees off last after watching each golfer in the group hit their tee shot. After each individual’s tee shot, the wolf decides whether they want to team up with that golfer or see the next tee shot.  

If the wolf decides to team with a golfer, it will be those two against the other two golfers in the group for that specific hole. The golfer with the lowest score on the hole wins the point for their team and the losing team gets a point taken away (Points are a dollar amount to be determined before the round).

If the wolf decides to not team up with any golfer, he or she becomes the “Lone Wolf.” The Lone Wolf plays the hole against the other three golfers in the group and hopes to have the lowest score. If the Lone Wolf wins, then he receives three points, one from each golfer. If the Lone Wolf loses, then he/she must give up three points. 

The points are added up at the end of the round and decide on payouts for each golfer.

NASSAU

Nassau is one of the most popular golf games to play and are much more simple to understand. 

Golfers can either play individually in the group or split into two teams. The player or team then compete against essentially three bets in one: front-nine, back-nine, and the 18 hole round. 

The player or teams that win each side collects the determined prize amount. The beauty of this game is that it can be played in almost any format. Stroke play, scramble, best ball, or match play. Any of these will work in Nassau. 

SKINS GAME

If you’re really looking for an intense game to cash in on, ‘skins’ is the perfect format. Golfers decide how much a skin will cost and that then compete for that amount on each hole.
Skins is similar to match play where a golfer wins a hole rather than counting the total score. Only in skins, there are no halves or ties. If golfers tie on a skins hole, the cash amount is carried over to the next hole and it’s worth double. 

At the end of the round, each golfer counts up their skins and decides how much they won or lost.

BINGO, BANGO, BANGO

Bingo, Bango, Bongo is a point-based game that can be played with anywhere from two golfers and up. 
There are three ways to collect points on each hole depending on whether you get Bingo, Bango, or Bongo.
•    Bingo - First golfer to get their ball on the green
•    Bango - Golfer to get closest to the pin once balls are on the green
•    Bongo - Golfer to hole out first
Add up the amount of points for each golfer at the end of the round and collect your winnings (or losings).

SNAKE

Snake is a fun game for amateur golfers to help them avoid the dreaded three-putt. The round starts with the group deciding on an amount to bet on. 

Each time a golfer three-putts, they become the new snake. After each three-putt there becomes a new snake and whoever is the snake at the end of the round has to pay the other golfers in the group the amount originally agreed upon.

What makes this game so great is that there are no “gimmies.” Golfers must putt out everything, including the short five-foot putts. It puts more pressure on the knee-knockers and helps golfers build confidence in that short range.  

Playing regular rounds as an amateur golfer is always fun, but it can be even more fun when competing against friends. Use these game types in your next round to bring a competitive edge to your round.  

How to Properly Warm Up Before a Round of Golf

In almost every sport, you’ll see every athlete warming up by stretching and getting mentally prepared for the battle that lies ahead. Even in golf, the pros show up to the course almost three hours before their tee time to prepare for their round. Unfortunately, this is an area that amateur golfers seem to overlook. 

Most amateurs will show up 15 minutes before their tee time, roll a few putts, and then head straight to the tee box. Warming up for a round of golf goes beyond hitting a few putts on the practice green. 

Setting yourself up for success starts well before the first tee. Just like a pre-shot routine, it’s important for golfers to have a pre-round routine as well. Here are a few things to consider applying to your warm ups. 

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

There’s no reason to add additional stress to the game of golf by rushing to make a tee time. Getting to the course early is the first step to a promising round. If you don’t have enough time to effectively warm up, then it’s going to cost you on the course. 

Activate Your Glutes and Other Muscles

You may recall last year when Tiger Woods withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open. Woods had a bizarre interview with the media which he kept blaming “deactivated glutes” as a big reason for his withdrawal from the tournament. 

As ridiculous as this sounds, there’s plenty of truth behind his comments. Amateurs don’t realize how many muscles actually go into swinging a golf club, but it’s time to start educating yourself. 

Your butt muscles play a major role in helping generate power for golfers and they also help to maintain posture throughout your swing. An easy exercise to help activate your glutes is to lay on the ground with your feet flat, raising your pelvis, which ultimately engages your glutes. This may seem silly, but it plays an important role. 

Don’t just stop with your glutes. Stretch out other important muscles like your hamstrings, calves, shoulders, neck, and back. Getting a full stretch in will not only help get you loose, but it can also help prevent injuries. 

If you ever get a chance, check out Miguel Angel Jimenez and his pre-round stretches. It’s one of the best of any pro out there. 

Visualize the First Shot

Your tee time may be may not be for another hour, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start thinking about the first tee shot. Hitting that first shot is usually the most nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. Start visualizing it ahead of time. 

If the first hole happens to be near the putting green, glance over to see what you’ll be dealing with just so you’re prepared when you step up there. Can you safely use driver or should you use a club you’re more comfortable with? 

No need to overanalyze the situation, but it doesn’t hurt to get familiar with it. If you hit balls on the driving range beforehand, practice the first shot you’ll be hitting. Having that confidence ahead of time can make all the difference from hitting a fairway and hitting a shank.

Take Your Putting Seriously

It’s always nice to get some reps in on the driving range to loosen up, but most of your time should be spent on the putting green. After all, most of the shots you take in a round are with the flat stick.

Most of the time, the putting greens are set up just like the greens on the course, so it’s crucial that you take your putting practice seriously. Rather than mindlessly hitting putts, take the time to understand the true roll of the greens. Figure out how much break goes into the putts and take that knowledge with you to the course. 

Start with shorter putts to build your confidence early and then move to 10, 15, and 20 footers. Once you have the greens figured out, move to the rough and repeat the process with your chipping. 

Figuring out an effective pre-round warmup can do wonders for a golfer’s round. If you show up to the course at your scheduled tee time, you’ll spend the first few holes trying to get into a good rhythm and give up strokes along the way. Stop giving away shots and start warming up. 

 

Calculating Your Handicap and Why It's Important

One of the biggest thrills about playing the game of golf is improving each time you go out to the course. The adrenaline rush of breaking 90 or making one less bogey whenever you play 18 holes.

Unfortunately, some amateur golfers don’t have a strategy to help measure their success on the golf course. They don’t take the time to develop one of the most basic measurements in all of golf: an official handicap.

The handicap in golf is a number to determine a golfer’s playing ability. It’s rare that you’ll come across a foursome of golfers with all the same skill level, so the handicap helps level the playing field so it’s equal for all golfers. This makes it more appealing to play competitively among one another.

At the end of each round, the golfer subtracts their handicap to the final score to keep things fair. If you happen to be a scratch golfer, then your handicap is 0 and nothing is added to your score. The lowest number when scores are adjusted is the winner of the round.

So how is a handicap calculated? There are a number of factors that go into figuring out one’s handicap such as score, slope of a course, and course rating. You can manually figure out a handicap, but it’s best to go through a website that does the hard work for you.

If you belong to a country club, there is usually a computer in the clubhouse that allows you to keep track of your handicap by entering your score after the round. For those not lucky enough to belong to a club, you can register your handicap online through multiple sites.

Golf.com offers their own handicap tracker as well as Golf Digest. The beautiful part about using these two handicap trackers is that they’re both accessible through an app as well. If you can’t make it to a computer, you can easily punch in your score on your smartphones.

Handicaps take into account a golfer’s most recent rounds up to their last 20. The point of a handicap is to tell a golfer’s playing potential rather than their average score.

Not only can a handicap predict a golfer’s potential as well as keep the playing field equal, but it also measure progress. Make it a goal to lower your handicap with every round. The lower, the better. It’s always important for amateur golfers to set goals from themselves and playing to lower a handicap is the perfect goal to set.

Once someone finds out you golf, they usually follow up with the infamous, “What’s your handicap” question. Start 2016 off right by building a handicap for yourself and working to keep it low. It’s never too late to figure out your playing potential.