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Golf Format Fun - Handicap Strings

Keith Moehring
August 25, 2022
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Handicaps even the playing field, but without a live golf scoring app, they add complexity and time to the end-of-round scoring calculations.

So, instead of handicaps, one fun alternative is to let your golfers use something more tangible—a length of string.  

How It Works

Every golfer gets a length of string they can use to move their ball to a more favorable position anywhere on the course. 

BUT ... 

Once part of the string is used, it has to be cut off and thrown away. You can’t use a section of the string more than once. 

Game Set Up

Before the round, cut every golfer a length of string. The length is equivalent to their handicap. You have options here:

  1. One handicap stroke = 1 foot of string
  2. One handicap stroke = 1 yard (3 feet) of string
  3. Handicaps of 10 or less—One handicap stroke = 1 yard of string
  4. Handicaps between 11 and 20—One handicap stroke = 2 yards of string
  5. Handicaps over 20—One handicap stroke = 3 yards of string

As an example, an outing you and I play in chooses to use option two. You're a 5 handicap, so you get 5 yards of string or 15 feet. I'm an 18 handicap, so I get 18 yards of string or 54 feet. Because I'm a worse player, I get more string to bail me out of bad shots. 

PRO TIP: Provide each golfer with a pair of scissors to cut the string after using it. 

On the Course

On the course, golfers can use the string to move their ball from where it landed to a more favorable position. For example: 

  • Closer to the hole on the green. 
  • Out of a sand trap.
  • Out of a water hazard (if they can see their ball). 
  • From behind a tree. 
  • Onto the fairway from a thick rough. 
  • In front of another golfer’s ball on the green to see their putt. 
  • To make a difficult putt.

PRO TIP: Consider making a rule that the string cannot be used to make a putt or even to place a ball within five feet of the hole. 

Golfers can use the whole length of string for one shot or strategically throughout the round. Either way, once it's used, it's gone.


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