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Is Golf an Individual Sport?

Is Golf an Individual Sport?

Is Golf an Individual Sport?

Traditionally, golf has been an individual sport.  In fact, that is one of the reasons why golf is so popular, pitting individual players against one-another in a collective group.  However, as golf is evolving, more-and-more players are beginning to play golf in groups and teams.

Below, we are not only going to discuss whether or not golf is an individual sport but also how you can incorporate a team or group style of play in the game.  Doing so will not only make the game more enjoyable but can also help lower skilled golfers develop their game and style of play.

Why is Golf an Individual Sport?

Traditionally, golf has been played as an individual sport.  Within the sport, each individual golfer attempts to move their golf ball from the starting point to the green and into the hole.  The hole in a game of golf is marked by a flag and each golfer attempts to get their individual golf ball into the hole in as few shots as possible.

Due to the intrinsic nature of each golf ball belonging to an individual golfer, it is only natural to assume that golf is an individual sport.  And that assumption, while natural, is also correct.  Golf, by its very nature, is a sport meant to pit individual players against one-another.

But digging deeper, it is important to understand just why golf is an individual sport.

And the reason largely rests on two distinct points.

Firstly, golf is a testament to each individual golfer’s ability to effectively move the ball from one end of the course to the hole.  End point.  If you are looking to understand golf, then the above point is really the only thing you need to understand.  Move the ball from one end of the course to the other, in as few shots as possible.

But secondly, an individual golfer is tied to their individual golf ball.  As a game of golf progresses across the course, each individual player is expected to not only keep track of their own golf ball, but also only play their next shot against that ball.

Due to this one-to-one nature, golf becomes an increasingly more-and-more individual sport.  Whereas in other sports, particularly basketball and football, the ball is shared with teammates via passes.  However, the same is not true for golf.  Golf balls are not shared between players and each individual player is responsible for their own golf ball.

Is Golf an Individual Sport?

How Golf Can be Seen as a Team Sport

Although golf is intrinsically an individual sport, there are many instances where a team of players can represent an individual organization or company.  For instance, if we look at colleges and universities across the nation, we see that each college will send multiple individual athletes to compete in a tournament.

However, although these teams represent one organization, on the course each player plays their own individual game.

Can Golf be Played in Teams?

While the traditional sport of golf has been played individually, newer variations have emerged in recent years allowing for team play.  Although the team play is an unofficial form of the game, it can be a great way to play the game and can provide some interesting forms of play.

In addition, playing teams in a game of golf can be a great way to help less-experienced players learn and enjoy the game.  If you are looking for ways to mix-up a game of golf, then below are a few team game options.

Is Golf an Individual Sport?

One Hit, Next Hit

One Hit, Next Hit is one of the most fun forms of golf as a team play.  With at least four golfers, players will form teams of two.  Beginning from the start of the course, the initial player, dubbed here as player A, will hit the golf ball towards the cup.

Then, player A from the opposing team will do the same, hitting their own golf ball towards the cup.

Both teams will walk to where their golf balls landed.  With the initial team up to hit the golf ball, player B, or the second player, will attempt to hit the ball to the cup.  Similarly, the second team will also alternate who attempts to hit, or whiff, the ball.

Both teams will continue alternating between players attempting to whiff the ball until both teams have made their golf balls into the cup.

Best Ball

Best Ball is another great team form of golf.  It allows for weaker or less-experienced players to piggyback off of the score of one of their players.  In Best Ball, players are divided into teams of two, three, or four.  Each player plays with their own golf ball.  However, whichever player on each individual team has the best score in each round shall have their score counted for their team.

So, for example, on team 1 if player A has a score of 5, while player B has a score of 4, while player C has a score of 2, then the teams score for that round will be a 2, based on the results of player C’s score.  Similarly, the opposing team will base their score on the best score of their individual players.


Scramble allows for a faster form of play on the golf course than many other team golf plays.  In Scramble, players will form teams of two or three.  Each player will tee up and whiff the ball.  After each individual player has teed the ball, each team will choose the best shot made by their team and will again tee off from one club length from that starting point.