How do You Play the Chapman Golf Format

The Chapman golf format, also known as the Pinehurst system or American Foursomes, is a fun and lesser-known golf game that allows golfers to showcase their skills in a team competition. This format involves two players teaming up to form a side, offering unique strategies and challenges compared to traditional golf games. By understanding the basic rules and strategies, golfers can experience new dimensions to their gameplay, making the Chapman golf format an enjoyable alternative to regular golf outings.

In the Chapman format, both teammates tee off on every hole, then switch balls for their second shots. After completing the second shots, the team selects the best ball to continue the hole. From this point, the teammates play alternatively until the ball is holed. This system prioritizes teamwork and strategy, as partners have to communicate and adapt their shots based on the overall performance of their team. With its unique characteristics, the Chapman golf format brings an exciting twist to the traditional golf game.

Key Takeaways

  • Chapman golf format is a team-based game where both players tee off and switch balls for their second shots
  • Teams select the best ball after the second shots and play alternatively until the hole is completed
  • The format emphasizes collaboration and strategic thinking, offering an engaging alternative to standard golf games

Understanding the Chapman Golf Format

The Chapman Golf Format, also known as the Pinehurst System or American Foursome, is an enjoyable team game that combines elements of both scramble and alternate-shot formats. In this game, two golfers form a team and work together to achieve the best possible score. It requires excellent teamwork and strategic decision-making, making it a popular choice for casual and competitive golf outings.

To begin, both players in a team tee off on the first hole. After driving, both golfers proceed to hit their partner’s ball for the second shot. You will hit your partner’s tee shot, and they will hit yours. Assessing each other’s ball positioning and selecting the better of the two shots is critical.

Once the team selects the best-positioned ball after the second shot, they will continue playing in an alternate shot format. One golfer will hit the third shot, and then they will switch turns until the ball is finally holed. The final score on the hole will be the total number of shots taken by the team.

A few key aspects of the Chapman golf format are:

  • Emphasizes teamwork and strategic thinking
  • Combines both scramble and alternate-shot styles of play
  • Requires both golfers in the team to contribute throughout the game

While playing the Chapman Golf Format, remember to keep track of the team’s scores on each hole. Add your scores together at the end of the round to calculate the team’s final score. The winning team will be the one with the lowest total score.

As you play this format, communicate effectively with your partner to select the best ball position. Adjust your strategies depending on your capabilities as golfers to maximize your chances of success.

Basic Rules of the Chapman Golf Format


In the Chapman golf format, both players on a team tee off at the beginning of each hole. After the tee shots, they switch balls, meaning Player A plays Player B’s ball and vice versa. Once both players have taken their second shots, the team chooses the best ball and continues playing alternate shots until the ball is holed. The total strokes taken during the hole make up the team’s score for that hole.


Penalties in the Chapman format follow the same rules as standard golf, with additional rules for strokes after switching balls. If one player incurs a penalty stroke while playing their partner’s ball, the team adds the penalty stroke to their score. However, the partners should not switch balls again due to the penalty and should continue playing their respective balls.

Play Order

The play order in the Chapman format alternates between players, depending on the chosen better ball. After both players have taken their second shots, the player whose ball was not selected to continue play must hit the third shot. Following this, players alternate turns hitting the ball until it’s holed. This method ensures an equitable distribution of turns for both players, making the game more competitive and enjoyable.

Strategy in Chapman Golf Format


In the Chapman golf format, teamwork is essential for success. As a team of two, you and your partner need to communicate effectively and plan your shots strategically. Make good use of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and work together to select the best shots. Since you’ll be switching balls after the tee shots and playing alternate shots from there, knowing your partner’s abilities and preferences can go a long way in making informed decisions and boosting your overall performance.

A good practice is to discuss your strategy ahead of time, such as determining when to play aggressive or conservative shots. Keep in mind that being supportive and positive with your partner can help maintain a strong team dynamic in pressure situations.

Course Knowledge

Familiarity with the golf course is another crucial aspect of the Chapman format strategy. Since both you and your partner will be playing from different balls and locations throughout the round, you need to have a thorough understanding of the course layout, hazards, and greens. This knowledge will help you make better decisions on which shots to choose and how to approach each hole.

Pay attention to yardages, slopes, hazards, and green contours. Use course maps or range finders to enhance your understanding of the course layout. Knowing where to place your shots and avoid trouble can help elevate your Chapman golf format gameplay and maximize your team’s potential.

Remember to stay focused on each shot and maintain effective communication with your partner. By combining teamwork and course knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to excel in the fun and challenging Chapman golf format.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Chapman Golf Format


The Chapman golf format, also known as Pinehurst or American Foursomes, offers a unique team experience that combines skill, strategy, and teamwork. It can create a fun and competitive atmosphere among golfers. Here are some advantages of playing the Chapman format:

  • Teamwork: Chapman encourages collaboration and communication between team members, as both players play their partner’s ball after the tee shots, and then choose the best one to continue with.
  • Variety: This format adds a twist to the traditional game of golf, making it more fun and engaging.
  • Suitable for different abilities: Chapman is a good option for groups of four golfers with varying skill levels, as it allows them to pair off 2-vs.-2, creating a fair match-up.
  • Increased challenge: Unlike a scramble or shamble, the Chapman format requires both team members to contribute throughout the round, keeping golfers more invested in their game.


There are also certain drawbacks to the Chapman format. Some disadvantages include:

  • Time-consuming: Due to the number of shots and decision-making required, playing a round of Chapman golf may take longer than other formats.
  • Added pressure: Golfers might feel additional pressure to perform well for their teammate, which can be stressful for some players.
  • Less forgiving: Unlike a scramble, where the best shot is always utilized, in the Chapman format both golfers must contribute, so a poor shot cannot always be easily compensated for.
  • Limited to small groups: Chapman is primarily a 2-person event, making it unsuitable for larger groups or team-building activities with multiple participants.

In summary, while the Chapman golf format holds various advantages such as promoting teamwork and accommodating differing abilities, it also has some disadvantages like being time-consuming and adding pressure for golfers.

Chapman Golf Format Variations

The Chapman golf format, also known as the Chapman System, is a fun and challenging way to play golf with a partner. This format requires teamwork and strategic thinking. However, you can also add variations to this format to make it even more interesting and enjoyable. Here are a few Chapman golf format variations that you may find appealing:

Mix and Match: In this variation, instead of switching golf balls after the tee shots, you and your partner can decide to switch golf balls at any point during the hole. For instance, after the second or third shot, you can switch back to your original ball or continue using the other’s ball. This adds an extra layer of strategy and makes communication between partners even more crucial.

Modified handicaps: To make the game more competitive, you can employ modified handicaps based on the skill levels of the players in your group. For instance, you can provide strokes to the higher handicap teams to level the playing field. This encourages a more strategic approach and adds an element of competitiveness between teams.

Mulligan Option: If you want to make the game more forgiving, you can introduce a mulligan rule, allowing each player one or more mulligans during the course of the round. This can be helpful when a player hits an errant tee shot or misses a crucial putt. However, you should set a limit on the number of mulligans allowed per player to maintain the game’s challenge.

Chapman Skins Game: In this variation, you can combine the Chapman golf format with a skins game structure. Each hole is assigned a point value, and the team with the lowest score on a hole wins the points for that hole. In case of a tie, the points carry over to the next hole. This format adds pressure and excitement, as even a single hole can swing the game in your team’s favor.

Remember that no matter which variation you choose to play, the key to enjoying the Chapman golf format is open communication and collaboration with your partner. Adapt the rules to best fit your group’s preferences, and have fun on the course.