To increase your focus and have more fun on the golf course, I recommend playing games with your playing partners. Having a little wager adds meaning to your score and can really change your mindset. Below are some games that you can play to spice up your golf experience:
• Luck of the Draw. For this game you need a deck of cards. Each golfer designates a playing card from the deck of cards for each club in their bag. There are 13 cards in each suit, and you can have up to 13 clubs in your golf bag, excluding your putter. If you carry less than 14 clubs, you can designate a golf club for more than one card.
Before each shot, each player will draw a card from the deck of 13. They will hit the club designated by that card. Once you get on the green you can use your putter.
• Bingo, Bango, Bongo. Each hole is played for three possible points. The first point, Bingo, goes to the golfer who reaches the green first, regardless of how many strokes it took to get there. The next point, Bango, is given to the player whose ball is closest to the hole once everyone reaches the green. The third point, Bongo, is awarded to the golfer who holes out first.
• Snakes. The snake is awarded to the first member of a group who 3-putts. She keeps the snake (some players carry a rubber snake to make it more fun). The player with the snake has to pay the other players a pre-determined amount of money for every hole she keeps the snake until another player 3-putts. This really helps you concentrate on putting.
• Scramble format is a great way for a group of beginners to go play and have fun. All members of the group tee off and go to the best ball. Each player plays from this location.
Play continues in this fashion for the remainder of the hole. A team score is recorded.
A variation of this is called a “Step Aside,” in which the player that hits the best ball steps aside, and the remaining three players play the next shot. This continues for the remainder of the hole. Thus, the golfer who hits the best shot never hits two shots in a row.
• Vegas. Two teams, two players each. You will have a team score for each hole. Here is the twist: Rather than adding the two scores, for example, 4 + 5 = 9, you pair the scores with the lowest first, so 4 + 5 is 45.
The points are tracked throughout the round and at the end the differential is paid off. Pick a bet that everyone feels comfortable with.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local golf courses. email@example.com; golfdoctorjean.com