Golfers work hard on lowering their scores and improving their skills – sometimes so hard that they start to take the game too seriously. Foursomes who regularly play together may become too competitive and forget that the point of the game is to have a good time. A solution is to bring some wackiness onto the course with unusual formats for play. Award the winner of your wacky game lunch at the clubhouse, a gift certificate at the pro shop or greens fees for the next round.
The format allows golfers to earn points for emulating the skills of some of golf's all-time greats. One "Arnie" is awarded for every par a player manages to make without ever hitting the ball on the fairway. Arnies are named in recognition of Arnold Palmer's remarkable ability to make epic recovery shots from deep rough or behind trees and come out of the hole with a par or birdie. A "Nicklaus" is awarded for the longest drive of the hole – that lands in the fairway – on par 4s and par 5s. This is given in recognition of the rare combination of power and precision Jack Nicklaus had with his tee shots throughout his long career.
Worst Ball and Blood Bath
The best-ball format is relatively well known, but not so well known is "worst ball." The team of two or four players must play the worst ball hit by their team for the next shot, rather than the ball with the best lie. Another game is "blood bath," played with teams of two or four players. Each member of each team drives the ball. The other team decides which of the drives will be played.
The game of "basket" provides rewards for being successful with several different types of shots, for which points are given. The objective is to earn the most points over the course of the round. Six points are awarded for each hole: one point each for low ball, least number of putts, closest to the pin and birdies – if any – and two points for the team that has the fewest total strokes on the hole. If one team wins all six possible points on one hole, it earns double points.
Snakes and String
The "snake" is awarded to the first member of the foursome who three-putts. He keeps the snake -- some players carry rubber snakes to hang out of their golf bags – until someone else three-putts. He has to pay the other players a predetermined amount of money for every hole he keeps the snake until the next person three-putts. "String" is played in groups of four. Each player is awarded a predetermined length of string between 10 and 15 feet. When players have long putts, or other shots they feel they could use a shorter distance on, they are allowed to move their golf balls and use up some of the string. For example, if they have a 12-foot putt and want to shorten it to a 5-foot putt, they cut off 7 feet of string and move the ball to within 5 feet of the hole. The idea is to not use up the string in the early stages of the game but to save it for a critical shot later on.