How to Play Horse Race Golf

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Golf tournaments are frequently held events throughout the year -- ranging from neighborhood groups having fun to professionally sponsored events. Some golf tournaments raise money for charity, while others purely showcase golfers with the best playing ability. There are a variety of tournament formats and styles, but one very easy format is called Horse Race.

  • Assemble your players. Horse Race format requires a field of 19 players. Start at the first hole and determine the order in which players will tee off. All 19 players are to tee off.

  • Work from the tee box through the fairway to the hole with each player playing his own ball until all 19 players have holed out. Each player will count each stroke and record the total on his scorecard.

  • Total the number of strokes per person at the end of the first hole. The player with the highest number of strokes is eliminated. If two or more players have identical high scores, opt for a playoff between these players, requiring them to putt the from a certain distance. Once a player has been eliminated from the playoff, move to the next hole.

  • Arrange a new order of players or keep the previous order minus the player eliminated. All 18 players will tee off and play the hole until each player has placed his ball in the hole. Total the number of strokes per player at the end of the hole. Again, the player with the highest number of strokes is eliminated. Include playoffs as needed between multiple players with identical highest scores per hole.

  • Continue to play the remaining 16 holes following the same pattern. All remaining players tee off and play their own ball until each player has placed his ball in the hole, counting each stroke along the way. At the conclusion of each hole, total the number of strokes per individual player. The player with the highest number of strokes per hole is eliminated until a winner is determined at the conclusion of the 18th hole.

Tips & Warnings

  • Horse Race golf tournament format is also called Shoot Out, Derby or Rumpsie Dumpsie.
  • Players can opt to play a nine-hole tournament, which requires less time.
  • You can also opt for 19 twosomes or foursomes with each player playing alternate holes.
  • Horse Race is a very time consuming tournament format, as all eligible players are required to play each hole before the group can move to the next hole.

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  • Photo Credit Golf image by Vanessa van Rensburg from Fotolia.com
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