Buddies trip format

Jealous of everyone else’s trips I see on here, I picked up the job of trying to organize a golf weekend for some buddies in town. Looking at a 2 round stay and play (Mt. Mitchell GC in NC for anyone who’s played there). Inexpensive rate that was able to persuade some of the less avid golfers to sign on.

I’m looking for tips on how to organize some sort of competition format for the group that lets everyone enjoy regardless of skill level.
-looking at 12 guys
-varying skill levels with best being around an 8 and worst being in the 25+ range

I typically play a version of stableford with my usual group but I’ve never done anything organized for multiple rounds. Any suggestions on how to fairly structure this for 2 rounds would be awesome.

The hope is to get some new guys hooked enough to do a Pinehurst weekend for year 2 so I feel like nailing year 1 is critical.


6 on 6 Ryder Cup style. Maybe modify this format

LOLOL at “Individual match play (that means hole by hole)” shows you what I was working with on this trip.

Also I misspelled “Bogey” multiple times. To be fair this was a copy and paste job.


Day 1: Southern Pines

Two man teams (points). Each man plays his own ball. Teams get points for each man’s score: 5 pts eagle, 3 pts birdie, 2 pts par, 1 pt bogie. Team with most points wins the match (both balls count). 1 point for match win, 1/2 point for tie. EXAMPLE: Player one gets a par and player two gets a bogie. That is 4 points for that hole. At the end of 18 holes, the team with the most points wins the match.

Day 2: Tobacco Road

4 Ball Team Play Each team will have one A, B, C and D player. The top 3 scores count for each hole. Points awarded in this way: 5 points for eagle, 3 points for birdie, 2 points for par, 1 point for bogie. For example if the team has 2 pars, 1 bogey and a double the team gets: 2+2+1-5 points for the hole. Highest total points for the 18 holes wins.

Day 3:

Individual match play (that means hole by hole). 1 pt for match win, 1/2 point for tie.

1 Like

Haven’t played there, but stayed right next to it with @chilidipper and about 10 other people to hike and do cabin things. Awesome area and the course looks sick.

That’s goddamn brilliant. Ryder Cup format…

We also do annual trip to sandhills area. For our games we use a dynamic handicap, meaning we’ll all start with agreed upon handicaps, then adjust after each round. It’s rudimentary, but since we have some guys with established handicaps and 50+ rounds per year and others that only play the 4 rounds from the outing each year, it helps us keep it fair/competitive.

Player A: known 8 hdcp, shoots 82 (on par 72). +10x0.75= 7.5 (8+7.5)/2=new hdcp (which is still 8)
Player B: estimated 30 hdcp, shoots 108. +36x0.75=27 (30+27)/2=28.5 (plays as 29)

We’ll keep that going throughout the weekend so eventually it’ll be 4 numbers being added & divided going into the final round. Which is typically the nicer course and the highest dollar value for bets (all carryovers/ties are settled the last day), so by then we’ve got a pretty dialed in handicap for all players specific to that week. It isn’t perfect, but it’s worked for us for a few years and this year had all matches on the final day come down to final putts on the last hole (with a couple being settled by putt-off on the Pinehurst putting green).


My group is in our 10th year of a spring buddy trip and we switched to a 6 v 6 Ryder Cup style last year. It was by far the most enjoyable year we’ve had. Our trip is 5 rounds over 4 days.

Round 1 - Practice Round/Warm up Round
Round 2 - 2 Man Team Modified Stableford. Points for both team members count for total score
Round 3 - 2 Man Team 4 ball. Best Score for team counts. Match play scoring
Round 4 - 2 Man Team Modified Scramble. Pick best tee shot from your team and play own ball from there. Best score counts. Match Play Scoring. No scramble on Par 3s
Round 5 - Singles Match Play

Rounds 2 - 4 have 3 team points available and Round 5 has 6 team points available. First team to 8 points Wins. Player with most team wins gets MVP.

We have captains choose teams and pairings before every round.

I should add - our entire group has an established handicap so we use those. For competition purposes each foursome has one player who is the lowest handicap plays off scratch. The other 3 players subtract the scratch players handicap from theirs. So the low handicap in a foursome may be a 5. He plays as scratch while the other three golfers are all 10 handicaps. They now play the round off a 5.

Appreciate all of the suggestions. Really liking the idea of Ryder cup format and playing in pairs round 1 and solo round 2. Wish we could swing a 3rd round this time but I think this will be sure to get some guys hooked to go again next year and expand it.

Thanks again guys,

I have no idea if its any good but The Grint app has a Ryder Cup feature. Might be fun for people to be able to keep tabs on the other matches


I live close to Mt.Mitchell. Great track and lots of outstanding mountain views! If you’re wanting to venture around there come play Grassy Creek in Spruce Pine (my home club and about 20-25 min from Mt.Mitchell GC). If you want some food recommendations or anything else let me know! You will have a blast.

My recommendation would be to go Thrift shopping the week before and pick up a Sport Jacket or a trophy like vase and personalize it with a patch or logo that is meaningful to your group and have the winner take home the Jacket or Trophy. Might motivate everyone to try and make the effort to do it each year.

The trophy/jacket is a must in competition format IMO. It’s been almost a year and the losers from our weekend are still getting pictures of the champs drinking out of the trophy. Haha

Great idea. Looking up trophies for my guys trip now.

@BigJones, @jkjod and I have been doing a Ryder Cup tournament with friends and family for 7 years. (We think) we’ve got the format down pretty good. We’ve started with 7 people and have had as many as 20. 16 seems to be the golden number so far. Skill levels range from 4 to 24+ and we’ve figured out how to do the matches without using handicaps, although we are always tweaking that aspect.

Day 1 - Practice Round/Par 3 tournament/Draft Party
Day 2 - Morning - Shamble, Afternoon - Scramble (usually the drinks are starting to work by then)
Day 3 - Singles - then the shit talking really gets started.

Trophies and MVP awards are a must.


Another vote here for Ryder Cup format. We are going on the 11th year of our trip and this format has been the most fun, assuming the numbers are right (increments of 4 golfers starting at 8).

We typically play 36, 36, and finish with 18. Drafting the first night everyone gets there is a blast, but if you are golfing (not practice round) the first day you arrive, this should be done ahead of time.

After a few different formats, for the ease of matches and score keeping, two-man two-ball matches in the AM, and two-man scrambles in the PM work well on the 36 hole days. The final day is 1v1 match play.

Outside of Ryder Cup, we really like 2 man teams for the whole weekend. Partner golf at its finest. And typically better payouts in the end. But this can get dicey if there is too big of a spread in indexes and specifically if some of those high handicappers are brutal to play with.

I am going on a trip to Orlando with like 10 guys from 1-15, but since it’s 10 having a tough time finding a format.

I’ve always been a big fan of match play versus net par. Very easy for one-day and multiple-day contests with any number of guys. You need everyone to have a legit handicap though.

If I’m a 4 handicap and par the #3 handicap hole, I’m “+1” to par. If I birdie the next hole I’m +2. If I bogey the #6 handicap hole I’m back to +1, etc…

Just saw this. We’ve done the exact same trip the past two years to Mt. Mitch and just recently booked our third one for June. Big key that we found in year 1 is to make the format easy to follow. I organize them every year and got WAY too over my skis and tried to implement a net stableford to go along with net best ball, with intergroup and interteam best ball aspects. Was way too much going on for anyone to follow.

Last year we did two 6 man teams. All net, 2 man best ball for the first two rounds on Saturday (switching up groupings and pairings in between rounds) and then singles on Sunday (still in 4somes but you’re just playing one other guy on the other team). Ended up coming down to the last hole to decide the winner. Also have an overall best ball stroke play element and winner gets a thrift store jacket we picked up for the year.

Let me know how I can help since I’ve been the one herding cats the past two years up there. We have a big disparity in handicaps too (scratch to 34), but everyone is able to contribute since the course is so playable. Mt. Mitchell GC was built for these types of weekends.

1 Like

Hey @ashby Here’s a good thread to ask your question about formatting your ryder cup event. You’ll get better response than creating a post. Good luck!

1 Like

I went on a trip for 10 years with the same format and it dissolved so I started my own trip and we just had our 9th annual trip this past July (this year was Pinehurst Resort, we vary the location year to year). In now 19 years this format hasn’t changed through a variety of golfer skill levels and number of participants. We play a modified Ryder Cup style event with no handicaps. It just works, and it has every year. It’s called … Shank Ri La.

Thursday - a core four of us usually come down a day early and play a practice round. Pinehurst No. 3 this year.

Friday - everyone arrives and gaming fees are paid to the Commish in cash upon arrival - usually $50. Nothing big. Team captains pick teams over lunch then set matchups for the first matches, 2 man better ball format. Match play. Pinehurst No. 5 this year. We’ve had as many as 24 on this trip, usually 20 players. This year (Covid) was 8 players, our lowest number ever. Matches set for the next morning over dinner. With much revelry and reliving of the days events.

Saturday - morning 2 man better ball matches. Pinehurst No. 1 this year. We strive to vary the playing partners and opponents. Over lunch the afternoon matches are set. Afternoon matches on Saturday are 2 man Captain’s Choice. Nice change of pace and a perfect format for a second 18. Over dinner the captains set the matches for the next day. More revelry and reliving of matches.

Sunday - singles matches. This year Sunday was Pinehurst No. 4. This is where the cup is won or lost. Ceremony afterward over lunch. Prizes awarded. We pay out small prizes for CTP and long drive for each match and all winning team members get prizes too. We have a trophy that’s engraved each year with the winning team and captain name.

Rule No. 1 - fun and fellowship are mandatory. No assholes. We want to compete and win but not at the expense of the joy of camaraderie and brotherhood this great game brings. The memories - both golf related and friendship/fellowship related - are priceless and they compound each year. We’ve had some guys come and go over the years and some core guys who’ve done every one. I can’t wait for next years trip - our 10th annual.


How do you manage the betting with no handicaps? Is everyone pretty close in handicap or does the group simply not care? I have tried to get rid of handicaps on our trip but every year for the last 10 years there is always complaining that its not fair if handicaps are calculated.

We take an annual summer trip with 8-10 guys. Its pretty relaxed and people are not that interested in a Ryder Cup style event, but people generally want some kind of competition, and we range from scratch to 18 hdcp. We play a low stakes blend of team and individual games—I think everyone won something this year. This was our third year and we hit what works for us as a group—everyone loved the Birdie Challenge (stolen from the NLU guis), it was won by the worst player in the group who dropped a 20 footer on the last hole–lots of yelling followed. Also, we have a trophy (a garden gnome with a club in hand) who goes to the person with the best score that day.

From our group FB page:

…here is the list of games this year. I’ve tried to mix things up with a different format each day. Two days are team events, two days are individual events. The individual event days include some type of handicapping to level things out.

a. Whole trip: Birdie Challenge. Everyone puts a quarter into a pot over for every birdie that gets made over every round played (round dollar amount up to nearest dollar). Last person to make a birdie gets 2/3 of the pot, next to last different person gets 1/3 the pot. Two people tie for last birdie means they split the pot. Get ready to fire at pins on 18 during the last round.

b. Wednesday: 3 man $2 ($6 total) gross Nassau on day one, score two balls.

c. Thursday is Net skins with 1/2 strokes. ($5 buy in), pay top 3


Apply Half Strokes to all Full Strokes:

When this “half stroke” method is used, all full handicap strokes for a player will be converted to half strokes (Each handicap stroke per hole is reduced 50%). This is typically used in skins tournaments to avoid, for instance, a net birdie “knocking out” a gross birdie.

Source: http://docs.golfgenius.com/article/show/12344-half-strokes-shots

d. Friday is Quota Game: great individual game I’ve been playing this year, one of the better games for balancing out a span of handicaps. Take your handicap, subtract it from 36, and that number gives you your target for the day. bogey=1, par=2, birdie =4, eagle=8. Your goal is to get as far above your quota as possible, highest number above quota wins. $5 buy in, pay top 3 spots

eg: a 10 handicap needs to get to 26 points. For getting a total of 30 points they would receive +4.

e. Sat: 3 man shamble. Everyone on your team hits a drive. Team picks one drive from those three. All three play out their balls from that drive. Score one ball. Must use everyone’s tee shot 2x.