Types of Golf Tournaments

By Larry Anderson

For some golfers, the game is all about relaxation. They want to play a round and enjoy themselves without the pressure of competition. Other golfers thrive on competition and seek out opportunities to test their skills against other golfers. Some of the most common types of tournaments are match play, stroke play, skins, foursome, scramble and string.

Match Play

During match play events, individual golfers or teams of golfers compete against each other and seek to shoot the lower score on a hole. The score for the round is not kept based on 18 holes but rather on the winner of individual holes. A hole is either won, lost or halved (tied). The individual or team that wins a match play event is the one who wins the most holes.

Stroke Play

The most common professional golf tournament is stroke play. In this type of event, individual golfers or teams of golfers keep track of their total score for 18 holes. The team or individual with the lowest score after 18 holes is the winner.


In skins games, a type of match play, every hole is worth a certain number of points or amount of money. The golfer who wins the hole wins the points or the money assigned to it. If two or more golfers tie for the lowest score on the hole, the money or points carry over to the next hole. As a result, the next hole is then worth more points or money.


During foursome events, two golfers play together on a team. The two golfers play one ball and alternate shots. One golfer tees off on even-numbered holes, the other on odd-numbered holes. The golfers alternate shots the remainder of the time. Foursome events can be played in the styles of match play or stroke play.


Scramble events consist of teams of two to four players. All of the players tee off, and then the players decide which shot was the best. The other players retrieve their balls and shoot them from the same location of the best ball. This process is repeated until one member of the team sinks a putt.


String events require that each golfer has a length of string, which is determine by the golfer's handicap. In most situations, the string can be 50 cm per handicap point. The golfers can use the string to improve their lies. So if a golfer has a bad lie near a tree, for example, he can move the ball the length of his string in any direction. The string can be used once per shot.

About The Author

Larry Anderson has been a freelance writer since 2000. He has covered a wide variety of topics, from golf and baseball to hunting and fishing. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including "Fargo Forum" newspaper. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Concordia College.


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