When you think about a fivesome on the golf course what is your initial reaction?
If you’re like most golfers you’re probably getting a little angry just thinking about it. Because playing golf with more than four players tends to slow down the pace of play.
Since this is an issue of the game already (since most rounds take 4-5 – 5+ hours), adding an extra player isn’t helping anyone play faster. However, if the golf course has a good marshal or the members at a club marshal themselves, a fivesome can work.
If you do go out with a bigger group, it’s fun to mix it up with different golf games that are made for five players. Keep reading to learn our favorite golf games and some best practices to play golf with bigger groups.
Golf Games With 5 Players
If you’re able to get out with four other buddies, don’t just play a normal round of golf. While there’s nothing wrong with it, there are so many other fun games out there to mix it up.
Since golfing with five people doesn’t happen often (at least at most golf courses), make sure to play one of these exciting golf games. This way you can have a winning team and a losing team to create some extra energy during the round.
If you haven’t played the Wolf game yet you are missing out. This is one of the most fun golf games out there and can be played with three, four or five players. The first shot and the first hole can really set the tone for the day!
Here’s the premise of the game… on the first tee you will tee flip to establish the tee box order as it will alternate on the next hole. For example, A player hits, then B player hits, etc. Normally each player tees off four times through 16 holes but since you’re playing with five guys, you’ll each tee off three times.
Then, the normal rules of Wolf apply or you can make edits based on having five players. For example, in a typical game of Wolf you can recruit another player to be on your team based on their tee shot. But in this case it would still be 2 vs. 3 since it’s an odd number of players.
You can also adjust the scoring as needed as well for double points. Plus the lone Wolf rules can change too. Whether you’re a scratch handicap or 10+, this game is a ton of fun.
The game is a ton of fun and highly recommend reading our full post on Wolf here.
While playing wolf is exciting, another fun golf game to play regardless of the number of players is Stableford. The premise is simple – golfers get rewarded points based on their score to par.
For example, the scoring system might look like if your group plays this game:
- Eagle = 7 points
- Birdie = 4 points
- Par = 1 point
- Bogey = 0 points
- Double bogey or worse = -1 point
A Stableford is fun as you can play your own golf balls and are rewarded for birdies and eagles. After the round is complete, the player with the most points wins. Which is fun because it doesn’t necessarily mean they shot the lowest total score either.
You can mix up the point system, add handicaps, and adjust for more than four players for a team format as well. Click here to learn more about Stableford golf events.
Anytime you’re out with a big group or several groups of players (like a guys trip or Bachelor party), a skins event is always fun. With skins, each player will put up a certain amount of money before the round to make “the pot.” This might be $5 or $10 to $100 or more per player and is paid before the first tee box.
The goal is to get the lowest score on the hole (whether it’s gross or net). If you are the only player with the low score on that specific hole, you get the skin. This could happen with an eagle, birdie, or even par if it’s a very challenging hole.
At the end of the round the pot is divided by the total number of skins. The fewer the skins, the bigger the payouts.
Skins is fun because like a Stableford, it encourages more risky tee shots. That might mean more drivers, firing at the flag, and more aggressive short game shots. Plus, you get to keep your own score too.
All it takes is one skin to win your money back and maybe even cover the cost of your tee time. Plus, with skins you can also place other side bets as well between other players.
4. High and Low
Another fun way to play golf with five players with the high and low game. The two low handicap golfers are paired together to take on the three worst golfers. While it might not sound like it’ll create a fair fight, it typically does if you’re playing a best ball format.
Additionally, you can also incorporate handicaps into the mix as well. If all the players in your group are similar in terms of handicap, mix up teams after six or nine holes. This is a good way to mix it up and have different teammates during the round.
Another fun way to change things up to incorporate other formats like a scramble. The two best players might have to play their own balls while the three higher handicaps can play a 3-man scramble. Depending on the handicap difference, this is a fun way to get creative.
Niner is a stroke play type of format that you can play with four or five golfers. It’s best if they’re all near the same handicap as it doesn’t work as well with giving away strokes. If you’re an avid golfer and everyone else is a high handicap it might not work out well.
Each hole has nine points available; the points can be divided in a number of ways. For example, if three players tie the hole then each of them gets three points.
If one player wins the hole alone, he gets five points and if there was a tie for second, each gets two points. If there is a clear 1st, 2nd, and third place the points are 5, 3, and 1 points respectively.
The player with the most points at the end of the round wins!
6. Captain’s Choice
Captain’s choice (also known as Captain) is a great five-man event. It has some similarities to Wolf and incorporates a fun team atmosphere into the group.
Here’s how the game works… The format is a best ball event – each player will play their own ball on the entire hole and the lowest score counts for the team score.
Each player in the group gets a number, 1-5. The first match is players 1 & 4 vs. 2 & 3 then the fifth player rotates teams every three holes. After three holes, player #5 switches teams.
What I like about this format is that it’s easy to keep track of on the scorecard. Give it a try the next time you’re out with five golfers to see which team wins!
The final golf game to try with five players is known as a ghost (it also works if you have three players too). If things go bad, it could lead to a “haunting” experience.
Here’s how it works… on each hole one golfer will select to play with the ghost of the group. The ghost is an imaginary player who is a “perfect golfer” (if there is such a thing) and makes par on every single hole. The ghost does have to give strokes and it’s best for the player with the highest handicap to get the ghost.
The game is a team event so it’ll be two, two-man teams and one ghost/single team (three matches total per hole). It’s a best ball event and you can mix up who gets to play with the ghost during the round. You can switch it up so it’s the entire round, six holes, or nine holes so other golfers can get paired with the ghost as well.
FAQs About Fivesomes in Golf
Do you have more questions about golfing with four other players? If so, keep reading to learn the best etiquette for fivesomes and other ways to make the round more enjoyable.
Can you play golf with 5 players?
If the golf course allows five players, then yes but not all of them do. If you are able to play with a group larger than five (which is typically the most), make sure to keep up the pace of play.
There’s nothing worse than being behind a group of slow golfers. Play ready golf, allow others to jump ahead if needed, and try to keep up with the group ahead of you.
But to make the most of your time together, play one of the golf games with five players mentioned above. These are a great way to mix up traditional stroke play, scramble, shamble or best ball events since you have an odd number of players.
Do golf courses allow fivesomes?
Some golf courses allow fivesomes but very few. Most public golf courses do not as it’s a pace of play issue and can affect other tee times behind you.
But some private or semi-private country clubs do allow groups larger than four. It’s more common in off times (afternoons, winter, etc.). In fact, I used to belong to a club that would allow 6 or 7 players as long as you kept up with the course rule – play 18 holes in four hours or less!
It got a little hectic at times with so many golfers but did make for some fun rounds of golf. If you’re thinking about joining a country club, it’s always a good idea to check for things like number of players, when tee times start, food/beverage fees, and more.
Can you play Wolf with 5 golfers?
Yes, Wolf is a great game to play with four or five players. If you do play Wolf with five people, you can adjust the rules as noted above. This is one of the most fun golf betting games with a big group of friends!
Can you play Pebble Beach as a fivesome?
While it doesn’t say on their website, I think it’s a safe assumption that you can’t have more than four golfers. We did this bucket list trip in 2016 (with caddies) and still got warned about pace of play as we were in no rush. We took lots of pictures/videos and apparently on 15 we were “slowing down” others, despite being on time.
Most high-end public courses like Pebble will not allow bigger groups as they have a strict tee time schedule.
Final Thoughts on Playing Golf with 5 Players
Golfing with a fivesome isn’t a normal occurrence at most golf courses but can be a fun way to mix it up (if the golf course allows it). Since you can’t do a round-robin type of format, try one of these new games instead.
It’s a fun way to mix it up – especially if you play Lone Wolf which is a great game with four golfers and maybe even better with five players.
If you do go out as a fivesome please remember to keep up your pace of play.
There’s nothing worse than being stuck behind a group of five or several big groups and watching them take their time. If a single or twosome is behind you, let them play through so everyone can enjoy the round.