ARE YOUR ATTENDEES bored with the ubiquitous scramble format for golf events? They might enjoy an alternative that was used with great success at a recent event in Puerto Rico.

The Meet the Greens Puerto Rico Invitational Golf Classic and Marketplace in May used the “low-net ball” format, which is rarely used in the United States.

Kathleen Strickland, president of PJ Advisors Inc., Marietta, Ga., says, “Most low-handicap golfers do not like the scramble format. Low-net-ball gives low handicappers the challenge they need, and gives us novice players a chance to win.”

The way it works is simple. Each player on a team plays his or her own ball through the hole, on every hole. Teams calculate which team member had the lowest score on each hole. That score becomes the team's score for that hole. The lowest total score wins the tournament.

Low-net ball works best for groups that include a high percentage of serious golfers. If your group includes mostly casual golfers, there's a variation on the low-net ball format called a “shamble” that you may want to consider. It's the same as low-net ball, except that on each hole, teams use the best drive from their group, then play their own ball through the hole from that point.

Both formats are handicap-based, so it's important for organizers to create teams that have a balance of low-, mid-, and high-handicap players. The Puerto Rico event planners apparently succeeded at that, too: The top nine teams finished within six strokes of each other — a remarkable result for a 36-hole event.

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