There are plenty to choose from, but which is the best? Come and join the debate

What are the best golf formats? Our regular ranting columnist, the Angry Club Golfer, sent a few of your heads spinning recently when he remarkably suggested that Stablefords should be banned at clubs.

But, for those of us with a bit more sense, that moan did get us considering which game we liked the most?

We are remarkably blessed as a sport to have any number of ways of trying to get the ball into the hole.

Best golf formats

What’s your personal favourite? Two of our writers share theirs…

‘Nothing can beat the beauty of match play’

I once tried to convince people that my Captain’s Day would be best served as a par/bogey event – I never did get that one over the line – but though I don’t mind a change from the everyday, there is nothing that can beat the beauty of match play, writes Steve Carroll.

It’s the psychological warfare as much as the shots: to gimme or not, to press the advantage or not. Was it Seve who said “I shake their hand but think, ‘I’m going to bury you'”?

I love all that – the quiet stare, the silence as your opponent squirms but then, whatever the result, the pint in the bar and the deep analysis.

It’s golf at its best and it’s most fundamental – remember the game was essentially born into match play.

‘If you want fun, nothing beats a Scramble’

I played in a Texas Scramble recently for the first time in a long time, and I had forgotten how fun it is, writes Alex Perry.

Traditionalists may not like it, which sees the team pick one position from which to play for each shot, but is there a more social format you can play? As a three or fourball, you’re practically together for the entire round, hitting from the same place, discussing tactics, and, of course, sharing stories and jokes and generally having a nice time.

Then throw in the fact that you can only use a certain number of tee shots from each player and it really starts to pile the pressure on.

Oh we have to use my drive on this hole, do we? Watch me stripe this one down the mi… oh we’re in the trees. Sorry.

Plus you can get around 18 holes in what feels like no time at all.

A wonderful change from the normal grind of a stableford. Inject it into my veins.

What’s your favourite format? Get in touch, or you can tweet us.

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap.

Handicap: 10.9

Alex Perry


Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

Handicap: 14

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