The Lucky Sevens Golf Format Explained

The format named Lucky Sevens is played by teams of four. It is usually played as an association playday format or a charity tournament or company outing format. Lucky Sevens requires the use of playing cards to determine which scores to count on each hole.

Before a Lucky Sevens tournament begins, two things have to happen. Each foursome of golfers draws cards to determine who will have the team's Ace, King, Queen and Jack designations. And tournament organizers go around the golf course and place one of those four playing cards — Ace, King, Queen or Jack — on each teeing ground beginning with the second hole (the final card should be placed where it can be viewed as golfers leave the 18th green). Each card is used four times.

When a team of four completes a hole — each playing his or her ball into the hole — they head to the next tee where they see the playing card. And that is how each team knows which score to count on the preceding hole.

For example, say your team's Ace player made 5, King scored 4, Queen made 5 and Jack had an 8 on the first hole. On the second tee, you find a Queen card. So your team's score on Hole 1 is 5, because that's what your Queen-designated player scored. (Note that these designations have nothing to do with playing ability — which golfer is called the Ace, which is called the King, etc., is determined randomly.)

If on Hole 2 your Ace player scored 7, King 5, Queen 3 and Jack another 8, and you find an Ace on third tee, your score for Hole 2 is a 7.

Several things to point out:

  • Yes, pure, dumb luck plays a big part in Lucky Sevens.
  • Tournament organizers should place each type of playing on four tees (four Aces, four Kings, etc.). This means each golfer is guaranteed to contribute the team's score on four holes.
  • Four types of playing cards, four holes each ... that's 16 holes. What about the other two holes? And where are the sevens in Lucky Sevens?
Sixteen holes are accounted four with our ace-king-queen-jack playing cards. On the other two holes — tournament organizers should determine those holes randomly — golfers will find a 7-card. When you find a seven, you get to use the best score of your four golfers. That's what makes sevens lucky.

Another option for Lucky Sevens is to place two cards on each tee box, so that two team members' scores are combined on each hole for the team score. That will mean that each golfer contributes a minimum of eight times to the team score. And the sevens in this option? Either count the two lowest scores among your four team members, or take the one lowest score and double it for that hole.

Compare Lucky Sevens to Joker's Wild, a very similar format that also uses playing cards in a team tournament.

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