With Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama preparing to compete against each other in "The Challenge: Japan Skins," the Skins game format comes back into the spotlight.
There are so many good golf games to play, most of which have rules that make putting a little money on the line easy, too. One of those great games is one that you've seen on TV in the past and can be a lot of fun: a Skins Game.
The rules of a Skins Game
There are two ways to play a Skins Game:
- Where skins are determined a match play-style format
- Where skins are determined after the whole round is played
Match Play Skins
In the match play format, you only need a minimum of two players, and each hole is scored like match play, with the winner on that hole being the player with the lowest score (with or without handicap). However, if there is any kind of tie for first place, then no one wins the hole (it's call One Tie, All Tie). Typically, the skin for that hole then carries over to the next hole, making it worth two skins. Ties continue to carry over until someone wins outright, collecting all outstanding skins.
In some formats, only players that tie on the previous hole are eligible for carry-overs. Sometimes that can create lots of mini-matches for carry-overs through the round. Also, there's been a version where a player essentially has to win two holes in a row to get skins, which is silly.
At the end, the player with the most skins wins and is typically paid a per-skin amount by the other players in the game in the amount of the difference of skins between them and their opponents' individual skin totals. Sometimes, groups choose a set amount that goes to the winner from each player regardless of skins won, but that's lame.
Whole Round Skins
In this version of the Skins game, you don't know who wins until the round is finished. Players put money into a pot at the start of the round and play the whole round out. Every time a player has the lowest score for the round among the competitors, they earn a skin. At the end, the pot is divided up by the number of skins and money is doled out accordingly.
This is a great format for games that span multiple groups because it encourages aggressive play and adds a little post-round drama.