What Is Skins In Golf And How To Play It?

A golf ball is placed near the golf course hole with some money on the greens.

Interested in adding some thrill and excitement to your golf game? Consider playing skins. Here is all you need to know about the game and how to play it.

Skins in golf is a popular competitive game like stroke play and match play among golfers of all levels. 

It provides an extra level of excitement and competition while playing the game, as players are rewarded for their successes on each hole. 

This article will look at what skins in golf are and provide tips on how you can get started playing them.

i. What is Golf skins Game?

In golf, a “skin” is a type of bet that can be made among players during a round of golf. A skin is won by the player with the lowest score on a single hole. 

Skins can be played for money or for points, and the value of each skin is determined by the players before the round begins.

Every year in November or December, the highly-anticipated Skins Game was a major unofficial money event on the PGA Tour between 1983 and 2008.

II. How does skins in golf work?

The skins game is usually played between 3 to 4 players.

In skins golf, each hole is played has an assigned monetary value. The golfer who scores the lowest number of strokes on a hole wins the “skin.” In case of a tie between two or more players for the lowest score, the skin is carried forward to the next hole.

The points are accumulated throughout the round, and at the end of the play, whoever has won the most “skins” is declared the winner.

III. Guide for beginners

For those new to playing skins, there are some basic rules and guidelines you need to understand before venturing out onto the course. 

1) The basics of the skins game

Every hole can be valued at one “skin.” If a player beats their opponent outright with the full handicap applied, they will be rewarded with the skin.

In the event that nobody wins a hole, the skin is carried over to create an even higher stake at the next hole. It would then be worth two skins.

The moment someone wins the whole outright, the next hole will become one skin again.

Whoever possesses the highest amount of skins at the end of the round is the winner.

2) Before you tee off (Step 1)

It is important to decide on the stakes before you tee off. In skins golf, this means that all players must agree on what value each skin will have.

If a group of four is playing and they decide that every skin has a value of $5, then the cumulative amount of money at stake would be $20 for each hole.

Subsequently, consider the steps you will take regarding any remaining skins after the last hole.

In case of a tie, you can head to the practice green and partake in a putt-off or chip-off. Better yet, you can find creative ways of breaking your deadlock by playing out the round.

For example, who had more birdies? Who made the longest putts or drives? The possibilities are endless.

Before hitting the tee, ensure all parties comprehend the plan to avoid any frustration on the final hole.

Lastly, before you and your team begin the round, make sure to decide whether you will be playing gross or net skins.

3) On the course (Step 2)

Once you have determined the stakes, it is time to head out onto the course and play each hole as normal.

Just like in regular golf, you will still need to keep your scorecard, but you will also have to note down the skins each player has won.

For instance, if two golfers tie on a second hole and there is no skin carryover, they will receive nothing on that hole.

If there is carryover, and two players tie on a hole, then the third hole is worth double, as mentioned before.

No matter one’s score from the previous hole, all players have an equal opportunity to compete for these held-over skins.

The game goes into a “sudden death” if no skin is won on the 18th green. From here on, the game changes. If a player wins outright, they do win the skins.

However, if 1 out of the 3 players makes par on the first hole after the 18th while the other two birdie the hole, the former player is eliminated.

The rest of the two continue with the game until someone has the lowest score, and that player wins the skins.

IV. Different types of skins game

Apart from the basic skins game, there are a few other well-known variations of the game.

1. Back it up

This is a fun version of the game that adds an extra dimension to it.

Rather than just winning each hole outright, this skins game allows you to double down on your success and back up each victory prize.

Should you be victorious, the prize amount for your next skin will be doubled.

Nevertheless, if any other player wins the hole, they will receive nothing more than the original combined value of both holes.

Each skin’s original value will be transferred to the next hole if the second hole is tied.

2. Whole round skins game

In this format, the players can put their money into a pot and keep playing for an entire round.

Every time a player achieves the lowest score of the round, they are awarded a skin. Once the game has concluded, the skins are divided among all of those who earned a skin.

3. 4+ match

Some skins games can include anywhere from four to a dozen players. With this variation, the same rules apply, except that ties from multiple players on one hole will not carry over to the next. Doing so would unnecessarily complicate the already straightforward game.

Occasionally, a four-plus-player match could be set up as a standard game with the help of a golf app that makes scorekeeping convenient.

4. No carryover

When a golf skin is tied on any given hole, the value of that particular skin will not carry over to the next hole.

The value of that skin remains unclaimed.

V. Validation

When a player wins a skin, they must validate the success by obtaining the lowest score on their following golf hole (with ties being accepted).

If the player cannot validate that skin, the value gets “stolen” by the other player who scored the lowest on that hole. Consequently, the pressure is now on the golfer to obtain the skin they “stolen” from their competitor and win the upcoming hole for an additional skin.

This intense cycle goes up to the 18th hole.


Skins can be a fun, exciting way of making golf more interesting and dynamic. Before you play skins golf, ensure to have all the players on the same page. It is important to remember the different rules that apply in order to ensure fair play. With the help of these tips and rules, you can enjoy a thrilling skins game with your friends or against the course.

Similar Posts