What is Skins in Golf? (And How To Play It!)

By Chris Moore •  Updated on 05/13/22

If you’re new to the game of golf, you may have heard of a game called “skins.”

But what is skins in golf? And how do you play it?

In this blog post, we will answer all your questions about skins and teach you how to play this fun and exciting game!

Why Is This Format Called Skins?

Nobody knows the exact reason this format is called skins.

Some golfers believe it gets its name from the fact that each hole is worth a certain amount of money (or “skin”).

Others believe it’s because the winner received the money they won in a money bag made of animal skin.

Whatever the origins of its name, skins is a great game to play with friends and family. It can be enjoyed by golfers of all skill levels.

How To Play Skins in Golf

The rules of skins are relatively simple.

You can play with any number of golfers, but it is typically played between two to four people.

Each hole is worth a certain amount of money (or “skin”), and the winner receives the money for that specific hole. The amount is determined before the game begins.

For example, if you’re playing for $20 per hole, the winner of the first hole would receive $20.

If there is a tie on a hole, the money carries over to the next hole.

It allows golfers to play their own ball throughout each hole while maintaining a competition with the others in their group!

Example Round of Skins

Let’s go over a few holes as an example to help you better understand the skins format.

For this example, let’s say you’re playing in a foursome with a $10 skin wager per hole.

On the first hole, golfer A shoots a four, golfer B shoots a five, golfer C shoots a six, and golfer D shoots a seven.

Golfer A would win the skin on that hole since they had the lowest score, collecting $10 from each of the other golfers.

On the second hole, all four golfers shoot five.

This means that there is no winner on that hole and the money carries over to the third hole.

On the third hole, golfer A shoots a six, golfer B shoots a five, golfer C shoots a seven, and golfer D shoots an eight.

This means that golfer B would win two skins on that hole since they had the lowest score and carried over the previous hole’s skin, collecting $20 from each golfer.

And so on and so forth!

As you can see, skins is a great game to add a little extra competition (and fun!) to your round of golf.

Playing Skins with Handicaps

Skins can also incorporate handicaps if all golfers aren’t on an equal skill level, to keep things more fair and fun for everyone.

A basic example would be as follows:

Implementing this makes it completely fair for all golfers involved.

Final Thoughts

After reading this post, you should have a complete understanding of the skins format in golf.

We covered why it’s called skins, how to play it, an example round, the variations, and more!

So next time you’re out on the course with your buddies, give skins a try to keep things interesting and competitive!

You might just find that it’s your new favorite way to play golf.

Chris Moore

Hi, I'm Chris Moore and I'm the guy behind As an avid golfer since 2010, I decided to create this blog to share everything I've learned over the years. Whether it's golf equipment, swing tips, or anything in-between, I want to make sure you have everything you need to become a better golfer.