How To Play Alternate Shot

Ryan Rustand

Ryan Rustand

SwingU Instructor

Alternate shot is a format that perhaps you’ve seen played in the Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup or Presidents Cup, and if you’re active in events at your local golf course, perhaps you’ve even participated in the game.

If you haven’t, the format is a simple, yet strategic one that requires a two-person team to make their decision for playing order prior to teeing off. The first consideration is the tee shots. One player will be teeing off on all of the holes that are odd numbers (ie. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc.) while the other will be teeing off on the even numbered holes (2, 4, 6, 8, etc.).

Depending on skill level, driving distance, iron game strengths, you’ll want to play into your team’s hands as much as possible. For example, if one player is a stronger iron player and three of the four par-3s on the course are even numbered holes, you’d likely choose that player to tee off on those holes. Other considerations are drives on par-5s, tricky approach shots, etc.

As for the format, the name says it all. Once the designated player tees off on their hole, the next shot is hit by the partner, with the following shot hit by the player who teed off. This alternating order continues until the ball is holed. That order is then reset on the following tee when it goes back to the original decision about who tees off on even and odd numbered holes. 

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