How to Play the 'In the Bucket' Golf Format (Also Called Sucker in the Bucket)

"In the Bucket" is a best-ball golf tournament format in which every fourth hole, one player from a four-person team is left "in the bucket" — his or her score must count as the team score.

In the Bucket (which is also called Eliminator) works on a four-hole rotation. And remember that in a best ball, the four team members are all playing their own golf balls into the hole. The lowest score among the four counts as the team score on each hole.

How the In the Bucket Golf Format Works

Our team is comprised of Golfers A, B, C and D. Imagine on Hole 1 that A scores 5, B a 4, C a 7 and D and 6. B's 4 is the best ball, so that is the team score.

On Hole 2, B is eliminated from counting as the team score, because B had the low ball on the previous hole. (B still plays, his score just can't be used). On the second hole, A has the best ball, so A is eliminated from contributing a score on the third hole.

So now, on Hole 3, only C and D are eligible to contribute the team score. Let's say C makes a 5 and D a 5. C's 5 is the team score, but C is now eliminated from contributing the team score on the next hole.

Which means that on Hole 4, Player D is all alone — Player D is in the bucket. D's score must count on the fourth hole because D is the only player whose score is eligible to count. That's a lot of pressure on one golfer!

On Hole 5, the rotation starts over and all four golfers on the team are eligible again. But on Hole 8 (and 12 and 16), one golfer will be left in the bucket.

What happens if two or more eligible players tie for low score on a hole? The team members decide which player's score counts as the team score. (A golfer who ties for low score but is willing to wait — is willing to risk becoming the golfer in the bucket — is always appreciated.)

As noted, the In the Bucket game is also called Eliminator, and sometimes is called Sucker In the Bucket.

Since In the Bucket uses four-person teams, that means there are two holes left at the end. What is typically done on those holes is to play them as straight best-ball holes.

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