How to Organize a Buddy Golf TOURNAMENT

Occasional Contributor




As a “weekend golfer” who still thrives off of competition, I love organizing a couple golf tournaments each year to get a group of close friends together with slightly higher stakes than your typical Sunday Nassau. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes when setting up any event, but it can get even trickier when you’re working with a broad spectrum of skill levels—especially when half the group doesn’t keep a legit handicap. In order to keep things fair, light, and fun while still emphasizing the competitive spirit, I often rely on the simple and popular format of a 4-Man Scramble.


A scramble has a lot of positive aspects working in its favor. One of the most notable advantages to the format is that any golfer can participate with or without a legit handicap. In my group of friends, we range from scratch golfers to weekend warriors who can’t break 100. The beauty of a scramble is that you can pair “A” golfers with “D” golfers and “B” golfers with “C” golfers so you can create a fair spread between each foursome without needing to handicap each player and complicate the scoring.



Early tee times watch the final groups come in on 18


In the handicap-less format, a lot will end up riding on the shoulders of the A and B golfer in each group, but in my experience, it still all comes down to what the bottom-tier golfers bring to the table. All it takes is one long putt or one clutch chip from your D golfer to make a significant contribution and ignite the entire group. In the end, I often find that the “worst” players in the tournament have the most fun because it allows them to compete alongside the best golfers in the group and legitimately add value to the team with a single shot.


As commissioner, you are bound to get some scrutiny with your pairings, so just be sure to make the foursomes as fair as possible and always crosscheck them with another participant. It’s also a good idea to ere on the side of weakening your own team to avoid any major controversy—you want to be able to compete, but nothing is worse than the organizer winning every time!



 Me, (middle) winning one too many tournaments as commish!


Scramble tournaments are an absolute blast and allow weekend golfers to compete for some cash while still being able to enjoy themselves with close friends (and a few adult beverages). As with anything, it requires some initial legwork from the organizer, but it is well worth any hassle to get out and play some golf with a big group of friends. Before you set up your tournament, here are some additional tips to enhance the event:


  • Call a few courses to get the best deal. Most courses will negotiate a discounted rate if you can book 4+ tee times. The cheaper the rate, the bigger the purse!
  • Print a rules sheet for each cart. As simple as a scramble should be, it’s good to clearly write up the format, rules, payouts, etc to avoid any misunderstanding.
  • Create pairings based on chemistry as well as skill. Don’t group someone with three other people he doesn’t know. Do your best to make the groups fun as well as competitive—but beware; it can be tough to appease everyone.
  • Add a couple Closest to the Pin contests. You need to be a strong golfer to truly compete in a long drive contest, but anyone can stick a par 3.
  • Use your purse to buy a tournament trophy. This one-time purchase gives everyone something to play for that will live on from year to year. Use your winnings to add engravings for the new champions.
  • Book a reservation for a post-round dinner. Nothing is more fun than recollecting all the great shots and hilarious moments with the full roster of players. I usually hold off on any payouts until we get to the bar to encourage participation.


I hope these insights and tips help you organize your next casual tournament with friends. If you have your own tournament you run or any tips/experiences you would like to add, please reply to this thread and share your story!



The Trophy

IMG_5932.JPGThe crowd gathers for a thrilling 3-hole playoff

IMG_7169.JPGThe best part of the event—food, drinks, laughs, and bets settled!

Chris Edwards
Copywriter — TaylorMade Golf