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How To Play Skins In Golf (Rules, Tips, Tricks)

When it comes to skins golf game rules, you will need to have a thorough understanding of the format rules and how they work.

This is the only way to make sure you know how to play skins in golf the right way.

It’s important to know how to play skins in golf whether it’s the rules or tips.

To play skins in golf, each golf hole has a prize of one “skin” for the winner. The player with the best score after each hole receives one skin. If the score is tied, the next hole has a prize of two skins. The game’s winner is the player with the most skins after all of the holes are completed.

Playing skins golf is straightforward once you get the hang of it.

You are not going to be looking at an 18-hole golf score. Instead, each golf hole is going to become important as it will hold the same value as the other golf holes in the game.

This guide is going to take a look at playing skins in golf and how to do it the right way.

What Is Skins In Golf?

Skins in golf refer to specific rewards at the end of each golf hole during a game. This means the winner of the hole receives one “skin” that will carry over on their scorecard. The player with the most skins at the end of the round wins.

It is important to note that skins can also refer to tangible rewards.

This can include a set cash amount per golf hole. This will depend on the golfers and how they want to play skins golf as a group.

Otherwise, skins in golf will simply be a point that is tallied on the golf scorecard at the end of each hole for the winner.

how to play skins in golf

Why Is It Called Skins In Golf?

The term “skins” in golf comes from the sport’s origin. Scotland was home to various settlers and traders that would come to the shore with animal skins in hand. They would use these as a way to gamble on sports with the winner taking the skins. This term carried over to golf and has remained ever since.

While golfers do not bet on animal skins during the game, any prize that is given for a golf hole is now called a skin.

This can include simple points or cash amounts as seen in PGA skins tournaments.

Golf has a rich history with names and this is one of those situations.

How To Play Skins In Golf

1. Each Golfer Plays A Separate Shot

Playing skins golf begins with each player playing a separate shot.

The general purpose of the skins game in golf is the same as other types of golf. This means each golfer is going to complete the golf hole naturally.

The goal remains to complete the golf hole in the fewest shots possible as you would normally.

2. Scores Are Compared After Each Hole

When the golf hole is done, it is now time to start focusing on the skins for the golf hole.

You are going to go back to the golf scorecard and begin assessing the scores for each player. You will want to make sure the scores are tracked as that is the only way you can reward the “winner” of the golf hole at the end.

3. Best Score Receives One Skin

So, who wins the golf hole in a skins game?

You are going to reward the best or lowest score for the golf hole.

The player that took the fewest shots to complete the hole is the winner for the hole. They are the one that is going to have one skin by their name on the scorecard.

In professional situations, this would mean the player is going to have a set dollar amount rewarded to them for winning the golf hole.

how to play skins in golf

4. Next Hole Receives Two Skins (If The Previous Hole Is Tied)

Let’s assume the golf hole is completed and now two or more players are tied with the same score.

What happens with a tie in a skins golf game?

For ties, there are two methods. The first method is to simply leave it as a tie and move onto the next hole.

The second method is to use a carryover method meaning the next golf hole receives two skins. If that hole is tied, the next hole receives three skins.

This also elevates the value of the remaining golf holes making it more competitive and fun.

5. Winner Has The Most Skins After All Holes Are Complete

The winner of a skins golf game is simply the individual that has the most skins rewarded to them at the end.

Each golf hole is important as collecting those skins starts right from the first hole.

It is also important to note that PGA tournaments use higher dollar amounts for the final golf holes. This means it is possible to make a comeback for the players that are lagging behind by winning those last few golf holes in a skins game.

How To Win Skins In Golf

To win skins in golf, the goal is to simply pot the ball with the fewest shots possible during a golf hole. If tied, the next golf hole has two skins as the prize for the winner. This continues until the player with the most skins is declared the winner at the end of the round.

Winning skins in golf is all about maximizing how efficiently you play on the golf course.

Some golf holes are easier than others but the concept remains the same. You will want to focus on optimizing how well you play each golf shot to make sure it is done the right way.

Types Of Skins Golf

1. Different Number of Skins

Different types of skins golf are available to golfers based on what they deem to be fun. This first method is also used by the PGA tour where they have different numbers of skins (prize money) for different holes.

They tend to keep a lower amount for the first few golf holes and then increase this amount for the later holes.

The reason for doing this is to make sure a player that has more skins from the first few rounds does not stroll to a win at the end without having to do anything.

It keeps everyone in the game by altering the values of each golf hole in a skins golf game.

2. No Additional Skins After Ties

This is another way of playing skins golf. This option involves not using a carryover strategy for ties.

Each golf hole is separate and has no role to play with the previous one. If there is a tie at the golf hole, there are simply zero skins rewarded to the players.

This simplifies a skins match in golf.

Benefits Of Skins In Golf

1. Elevates The Importance Of Each Hole

When it comes to the advantages of skins in golf, it is important to start with the importance of each golf hole.

Each golf hole is unique, which is not always the case with a regular golf match. This is due to the score continuing to carry over from one hole to the next in a traditional match.

This does happen with a skins game but each hole has a set value. This makes it easier for a player to catch up later if they don’t do as well in the beginning.

2. Allows For Faster Comebacks

One of the pros of skins in golf comes down to faster comebacks.

A player is not going to feel like they are behind the game if they lose the first few golf holes.

Instead, they can mount a comeback since each golf hole is worth one skin in a traditional skins golf game. If there are prizes, it is common for the last few rounds to have higher prize amounts to make it possible to mount a comeback as a golfer.

3. Each Hole Is Fun

There is added entertainment with each golf hole in a skins game.

Why is that the case?

Since each hole has a set skins amount, the golfers will know each golf hole is key. It is not just about staying above water during tough golf holes. Instead, the aim remains to have the best score to secure the skin for the hole.

how to play skins in golf

How To Have Golf Skins With Handicaps

Playing golf skins with handicaps can be done. To do this, start by comparing the handicaps of each golfer. Compare the differences and pinpoint the lowest handicap in the game. This difference is what will be used as the handicap.

For example, if a golfer has a 10 handicap and they are playing against a golfer with a 2 handicap, the difference is eight. The 10 handicap player is going to have a single stroke for holes 1-8.

Ties during the golf holes will go to the 12 handicap player.

How To Play Skins Golf With 3 Players

Playing skins with three golfers can be done and it’s a common occurrence. Simple adjustments need to be made to a few of the golf skins game rules.

The rules for skins golf with three players include:

  • Each Golfer Plays A Separate Shot
  • Scores Are Compared After Each Hole
  • Best Score Receives Two Skins From The Other Players
  • Next Hole Receives Four Skins (If Previous Hole Is Tied)
  • Winner Has The Most Skins After All Holes Are Complete

Playing skins with three players will require these adjustments. It’s the only way to keep the game fair.

Tips For Playing Skins Golf

1. Collect Skins On Easier Holes

When playing skins in golf, the most important thing is to strategize how you are going to approach the various golf holes.

You will want to focus on collecting skins on the easier holes and maximize how efficiently you play the hole.

This will make it easier to not do as well on the tougher golf holes. This is assuming each hole has the same value.

If not, you still want to maximize your accumulation of skins with the easier holes or you are going to be playing catch-up throughout the game.

2. Don’t Be Afraid To Tie A Hole

There is nothing wrong with tying a hole.

You are keeping the skin away from the other golfers and that is a win in itself. This is often a good strategy during a tougher golf hole during a skins match in golf.

Final Thoughts

These are the main rules on how to play skins in golf.

To play skins in golf, each golf hole is going to have a prize of one “skin”. The golfer with the best score gets rewarded one skin after each hole. This is tracked with the scorecard. After all of the holes are complete, the golfer with the most skins is declared the winner. For ties, the next golf hole has two skins as the prize.

The golf season tends to have all sorts of competitions and that includes skins matches. Getting the golf rules right including which golfer starts first is important during a skins game.