How to Play the Golf Format Named 'Switch'

"Switch" is the name of a golf format whose twist is pretty straightforward: Following the drives, the two partners who form a side switch golf balls — each plays the other's drive.

Switch is a format for two-person teams. If Chuck and Beth are partners, they both tee off. But then Chuck walks to Beth's ball, and Beth walks to Chuck's ball. They switch balls after the drives.

From that point on, each plays their new ball into the hole. And that is how Switch is played.

How is Switch scored? There are multiple possiblities. You can play it as stroke play in a tournament format, or as a match (two vs. two) in a match-play bracket. A group of four golfers can also pair off into twosomes and play Switch for pride or money.

In a tournament setting, the tournament organizers will tell you how to score Switch; in a friendly or wagering setting, it's up to participants. Most Switch competitions use one of two methods for scoring: count the one low ball (the lowest score of the two partners) on each hole; or combine the two scores of the partners on each hole.

In Chi Chi's Golf Games You Gotta Play (affiliate link), Chi Chi Rodriguez called Switch "an excellent game for husbands and wives or for partners of widely differing capabilities on the course." That's because, with partners of that type, the stronger player will play the second shot of the shorter driver, while the weaker player gets to play the second shot of the longer drive.

Switch is also a good practice game for two golfers of differing abilities, Rodriguez explained, because it "allows both players to hit from places on the course they normally wouldn't see" after the drives. "The game can be an especially valuable tool for sharpening long- and middle iron play among low handicappers who frequently go round after round hitting nothing but driver and wedge."

See How to Play the Chapman System for a similar format.

More formats:

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