Golf Skins Scoring Format Explained

Which scoring format do you play most often during your casual rounds with friends? Are you a traditionalist who sticks to strokeplay and Stableford? Or do you enjoy mixing it up and playing matchplay or skins?

In this article, we are covering the skins scoring format. We will guide you through the details to understand how it works and how you can turn a profit from your round.

Types of Golf Scoring Formats?

While most average golfers use the strokeplay or Stableford scoring system, there are numerous formats that we can explore to keep our rounds fun and exciting.

In strokeplay, we count every shot. There is no limit which means we average golfers can rack up some eye-watering scores. Stableford sees us earn points for our scores and is the most common format for casual golfers to play.

Matchplay is a format you likely don’t play during your casual round. But it is one of the most competitive and exciting golf scoring formats. Whoever has the lowest score at the end of each hole wins. The point of match play is to win more holes than your opponent during your match.

The final scoring format is called skins golf, where your reward is cold hard cash. We will dive into more detail on this format below.

Skins Scoring Overview

There is no better way to up the competitiveness of your round than to play skins. Instead of playing to score as low as you can over 18-holes, skins golf requires a hole-to-hole approach.

At the start of your round, you and your playing partners assign a value to each hole. Every hole could be worth the same amount, or you could issue a higher value to more difficult ones.

Whoever cards the lowest score on a hole claims the skin. With the ultimate aim being to win the most skins or money in a round. In essence, skins is matchplay, except instead of playing against one specific player, you are battling it out with everyone in your group.

How To Determine The Value Of A Skin?

Before you tee off, you and your playing partners need to decide the value of each skin. There is no set amount that you need to assign it boils down to your group’s budget.

The easiest approach is to apply the same value to every hole. For example, if you decide that each skin is worth $5 and you are playing 18-holes, then the total up for grabs is $90.

Alternatively, you could make it more interesting by assigning a higher skin value to more difficult holes.

How Do You Win A Skin?

As is the case in match play, a skin is won by the player who shoots the lowest score on a hole. For example, if you card a 3, and the rest of the players in your group score 5, you win that skin.

The overall winner of the round is the golfer who wins the most skins. If the value of each hole is the same, it will be the player that wins the most holes.

However, when you assign different values to holes. It leaves those who are not playing well with a chance of winning the overall competition. All they need to do is win a few holes with the highest skins value.

What Happens If Everyone Ties A Hole?

If everyone in your group cards the same score on a hole, you have two options available to you. The first option is to carry the skin over to the next hole. So, if the value of the tied skin is $5, it will be added to the value of the next one.

The second option is not to carry it over and write the hole off completely. As a result, nobody wins that skin, and you move on to the next hole.

Handicap Skins

If you and your group are playing off vastly different handicaps, it makes sense to factor it in. For example, if you play off a 20, but the rest in your group are single digits, the only chance you have at competing is to bring your handicap into play.

Should you score a 4, on a par 4, stroke 8. You will effectively have carded a birdie. So, your competitors will need to card an eagle to win the skin.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have a deeper understanding of the golf skins scoring format, how likely are you to play it the next time you tee off? No golf scoring format creates excitement and competitiveness more than skins. And, it gives us amateurs the chance to experience the thrill of competitive golf every hole.

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Nick is the founder of GolfSpan and an avid golfer. He's not quite a pro but has over 15 years of experience playing and coaching golfers worldwide. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience when it comes to choosing the right golf gear and finding the right setup for your game.

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