How to Play the 'Second Chance' Golf Game

In the golf game named "Second Chance," each golfer plays two balls on every hole, and his better ball — the one with which he makes the lower score — is the one that counts for that hole. As an example, if on the first hole Golfer A makes a 4 with one of his golf balls and a 5 with his second ball, then his score on Hole 1 is 4.

Second Chance is that simple. But you can bet it various ways: Wager on the overall stroke-play outcome; place separate bets on the front nine, back nine and total; play it as match play; and so on. Whatever you want.

The major consideratin with Second Chance is time. Because each golfer is playing two balls, each golfer is playing double the number of strokes of a normal round. A twosome will take as long to play as a normal group of four.

For that reason, Second Chance is best played by two golfers playing one-on-one, and playing on a golf course that is wide open, without many other golfers around. Another opportunity to play it is when a twosome is stuck behind a foursome that won't (or can't) let it play through. That twosome might fight itself waiting on every stroke, so playing a second ball can make sense. Just be sure you don't start slowing down groups behind.

Second Chance as a tournament format is uncommon, but not unheard of. Why uncommon? Again, it's about time. A golf course doesn't want to commit double the amount of time a normal tournament would take, holding up use of the course for other golfers.

The golfers playing Second Chance can speed up the game a little by picking up one of their balls any time it becomes obvious which ball's score is going to count on a hole.

Strategy? Focus on getting the ball in the fairway on your first stroke from the tee, because if you do then you can play more aggressively with the second ball. Many golfers adopt that strategy throughout a Second Chance game — play conservatively with the first ball, aggressively with the second ball.

More golf formats:

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