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What Is a Skins Game In Golf?

Leaderboard Games: Skins

Leaderboard Games: Skins

In this blog series, we’ll introduce a variety of games for out on the course this summer, starting with those supported by the Leaderboard app. Stroke-play getting old? Here’s your solution.

By Liam Driscoll. Follow Liam on Twitter.

The second game in our Leaderboard Games series is none other than Skins. Arguably the most popular golf game, Skins is similar to match play and a good alternative for groups beyond two players. The game is played as follows:

Similar to games like Nines, each “skin” is given a monetary value before each round. Each hole is worth one “skin”. If a player wins the first hole with the low net score, meaning the score factors in their handicap, they win the skin. However, if two or more players tie for the low net on a hole, the skin rolls over, and the following hole is worth two skins - the original skin from the first hole plus the skin from the second. 

Play continues throughout the duration of the round the same way, where skins are awarded to the player with the low net on the hole, not including ties. 

Because ties roll over, and there isn’t a limit on how many skins can be awarded on a single hole, the game rewards those that can handle a bit of pressure as the stakes get higher and can capitalize on the mistakes of others. Alternatively, someone who was unable to pick up any skins on the front can fall ass-backward into a handful on the back if the competition falters. In this way, Skins keeps everybody involved throughout the duration of the game. 

A fun side note about Skins is that, for 26 years from 1983 to 2008, the game made an appearance on the PGA Tour as an unofficial money event.

Fred Couples is undoubtedly the PGA Skins champion, winning the event 5 times, and finishing in second and additional 2.

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