Guys Golf Trip Ryder Cup Format

For the past six years I have organized a guys golf trip to Pinehurst NC. I have written a couple of posts about how to organize a guys golf trip and also suggested a format that works for 8 or 12 guys, but this year I threw that all out the window and moved to a Guys Golf Trip Ryder Cup.


While the format I have used in the past has been great, the Ryder Cup format was a HUGE success and I expect we will continue the format for years to come. In fact, to a man, every guy said it was the best trip ever. Why? Well because it is just more fun to play for a team. Just because you can’t play for your country does not mean you cannot experience the thrill of draining a putt on the 18th to win a critical match.

Anyone who has played on a team knows that having the pressure of letting down your team is much worse than just messing up your own score. Whether you are sinking a 5 foot bogie putt or draining a 60 foot gagger, it is just more fun when you are playing on a team. For example, some of my best memories from the trip were when we hung out watching guys come in on the 18th hole as we tried to figure out who needed to do what. Especially when it was for all the marbles as was the case in our Ryder Cup.

Golf trip 2

Now before you skip to the end to get the format I used, I would emphatically tell you that just as critical to the format is how you actually set it up. In fact, the actual format is the least important detail. Note, our trip was for 12 people but this can be used for any number of guys.

4 Keys to Organizing a Guys Ryder Cup Golf Trip

1) Choose Captains: This is where it all starts. Have two guys who will take control of the process and add a level of energy. While the two captains should be of similar golfing ability, you do not need to choose the two best golfers. Rather, you should pick guys who will add some personality and excitement to the match. In our case, one Captain brought shots of whiskey for everyone and even quoted the entire “Miracle on Ice” speech prior to the final round. Basically, you need the biggest shit-talkers in the group to take on this task.

Golf trip

2) Have the Captains pick teams: Yes, I know you are the organizer but you need to let the captains pick the teams. I would suggest the draft occur about three weeks prior to the trip. This way no one can complain about lopsided teams. Plus it gives the Captains ownership of their squad and plenty of time to start talking smack.

3) Ditch email: I have tried tons of apps for golf trip organization and have not found one that I like. Email is a disaster and texting is goofy. What we ended up using is an app called Groupme. It is basically like text messaging but it is all inclusive. This way you can talk smack, add updates, or send out announcements and they will be in one place. No more worrying about not replying to all or guys not getting your text. You can also attach images or documents.

4) Get team uniforms: This is super critical. Having everybody show up in the same shirt makes the whole thing feel legit. At first some of the guys gave me grief about having to buy a shirt, but in the end they all said it was awesome. Seriously, this is a MUST. For our trip I contacted QED Style who gave me a discount since I got 24 shirts. Everyone totally dug the polos, but whatever you choose make sure they are of good quality. No reason to cheap out on a shirt and have it never be worn again . . . get some good ones that can be added to the everyday rotation.

Golf trip 1

Ok, now you have the teams, you have the uniforms, and you have a platform to communicate with the guys. The final step is the actual format. My goal is to have a format in which everyone can contribute. This is why you will not see any fourball since that would mean the best golfer gets too much control of the match.  I also wanted to weight the scoring near the end of the match so a team could come back on the last day.

Guys Golf Trip Ryder Cup Format

NOTE: All teams were chosen by the captains prior to each match. One captain would throw out at team and the other captain would match it. With that said, they tended to massage the matchups to make for interesting pairings. Basically, I let them do whatever they wanted which was great because it took the pressure to organize off of me.

Round 1 and Round 2: Two man teams (points). Each man plays his own ball. Teams get points for each man’s score: 5 pts eagle, 3 pts birdie, 2 pts par, 1 pt bogie. Team with most points wins the match (both balls count). 1 point for match win, 1/2 point for tie. EXAMPLE: Player one gets a par and player two gets a bogie. That is 4 points for that hole. At the end of 18 holes, the team with the most points wins the match.

Round 3: Individual match play (that means hole by hole). 1 pt for match win, 1/2 point for tie.
Round 4: Split between 1st and 2nd nine. Each nine is worth 1 point.
-First nine modified alternate shot. Each player tees off and chooses which ball to play. Use alternate shot from there on (the player whose drive was not used would take the next shot). Low score per hole wins. 1 pt for 9 hole win 1/2 pt tie.
-Second nine two man captains choice. Another 1 pt for that nine win 1/2 pt tie
Total point available: 3+3+6+3+3=18. 9 1/2 points with the Cup


Parting shots:

Believe it or not, at the end of the match we were all square. Despite what I thought was a lopsided team, things even out. Why? They just do. Which makes it that much more fun. Heck, you think Matt would try to pull this shot off if he did not know he needed to find a way to make par?


Ok, that’s it. If you have any suggestions or feedback let me know as I am always trying to tweak it to make it even better.
Written by Adam Staelin
Founder and Editor of Three Guys Golf. I am always on the lookout for new and innovative products for the discerning golfer. I play about a 100 rounds a year (but don't tell my boss).