As a first time golf tournament organizer (and perhaps even a first time golfer!) it can sometimes feel overwhelming trying to learn the ins-and-outs of the game, let alone a great golf event.

And when you’re dealing with terms you’ve never heard of before, from “Shotgun Start” to “Live Scoring” – it can be easy to feel lost in translation!

That's why we've collected and defined the top 27 terms every charity golf tournament organizer should know, and even take it one step further by telling you how they can apply to your upcoming tournament.

Our tip: print off this page to keep on-hand throughout your tournament endeavors, so you can feel confident at every stage of your planning process!

Operations & Planning Terms

Row of parked golf carts at golf course

Single, Twosome, and Foursome

What Single, Twosome, and Foursome means: Single, twosome and foursome are terms to define the most common team sizes in golf. Individual players are referred to as “single”, teams of two are called a “twosome” whereas a team of four is called a “foursome”.

Why they matter: As the charity golf tournament organizer, you will need to establish which team “types” you’ll want to offer your golfers upon registration.

Pairing + Start Lists

What Pairing and Start Lists means: Pairing & start lists organize all the tournament golfers according to hole number and start times.

Why Pairing and Start Lists matter: This list is helpful for you and your volunteers to direct golfers to their designated hole at registration for a smooth and organized start to your tournament. If you’re unsure how to go about pairing your players, visit our Complimentary Downloads page for more Important Pairing Tips.

Bag Drop List

What Bag Drop List means: The bag drop list is a record that helps ensure each golfer’s bag is put into the right cart.

Why Bag Drop List matters: This list will help keep your volunteers and/or caddies well coordinated as you move golfer’s bags from the bag drop area to their designated carts.

Payment Gateway

What Payment Gateway means: A payment gateway is a merchant service that processes credit card payments from your players.

Why Payment Gateway matters: From registration to your auction or online store, it’s important that you provide a quick, secure and affordable option for golfers who would like to use a credit card for their payments. For example, Event Caddy all-in-one tournament management software provides the best online credit card processing system available: Stripe. Stripe has lower fees than banks and accepts all major credit cards at the same rate. Click here and watch the video to see how it works.

Hole In One Insurance

What Hole In One Insurance means: Hole in one insurance is a type of prize compensation insurance that works just like any other kind of insurance policy, except instead of insuring property against damage, you pay a relatively small premium to eliminate the risk of having to pay out a prize if someone makes a hole in one during your golf event.

Why Hole In One Insurance matters: Always a popular sponsorship option, offering up an exciting hole in one prize like a new car or a major cash prize adds to the fun of a golf tournament and can even help you attract more golfers! Adding hole in one insurance at a small premium is a great way to mitigate any major risk to your fundraiser’s bottom line should someone win the prize.

Cart Sign

What Cart Sign means: Cart signs are a form of optional signage to place on your player’s golf carts for increased sponsorship opportunities.

Why Cart Sign matters: As a tournament organizer, this is simply another element that can be added to sponsorship packages for increased value.

Competition Terms

Group of male golfers standing taking a picture on the putting green

Shotgun Start

What Shotgun Start means: A shotgun start is when all players start at the exact same time, with one or more groups per hole at the golf course.

Why Shotgun Start matters: This style of tournament kick-off helps you use your golf course more efficiently, as golfers are competing on more of the course simultaneously than waiting to tee off designated holes. Choosing a shotgun start is a great way to ensure a fast-paced tournament in which all players can start and finish around the same time.

Timed Starts

What Timed Starts means: Timed starts are when players tee off in groups one after another from the first hole, similar to a regular round of golf.

Why Timed Starts matters: This style is helpful when planning a large golf tournament fundraiser with many participants because it allows for more flexibility. Golfers with hectic schedules will be more likely to register if they can choose a tee time that fits their agenda!

Split Tee Start

What Split Tee Start means: A Split Tee Start has golfers teeing off in intervals from the first and tenth tee block at the same time.

Why Split Tee Start matters: This tournament start style is a great way to enjoy some of the benefits of a shotgun start and a timed start simultaneously. While not as time-efficient as a shotgun start, dividing your golfers into two groups will make your tournament run more efficiently, while still offering them flexible start times.


What Scramble means: In a scramble tournament format, participants play in teams of two or more – with each player hitting a tee shot on each hole and selecting the best shot. All players then play from that spot and continue this until the hole is completed.

Why Scramble matters: The scramble is by far the most popular tournament format for charity fundraisers and corporate events. This format is a great choice because it relieves the pressure of individual scores and allows everyone to play and socialize while keeping a good pace to the round.

Best Ball

What Best Ball means: In a best ball tournament format, teams of two or more all play their own ball on each hole as they would traditionally. The catch here is that only one player's score (the one with the lowest number of strokes) counts for the entire team.

Why Best Ball matters: This format allows golfers to play their own game, while granting the ability to take advantage of the best player’s score on each round.

Alternate Shot

What Alternate Shot means: In an alternate shot tournament format, participants play in teams of two and alternate shots throughout the day.

Why Alternate Shot matters: Alternate shot is one of the only tournament formats where two golfers are playing as a true team.

Stroke Play

What Stroke Play means: The stroke play tournament format consists of golfers completing each hole of a designated round, and upon each round returning a scorecard on which there is a sum total score for each hole.

Why Stroke Play matters: This format makes it easy to play singles, doubles, and teams by adding the total of all team members, or possibly picking the best score, or a combination of scores.

Speed Golf

What Speed Golf means: Speed golf tournament format takes the leisurely stroll typically associated with golf and turns it into a race. Players sprint between shots and holes with the final score being the sum of strokes and time.

Why Speed Golf matters: A very unique and uncommon format, this style of play is niche to only certain players. Carefully consider your guests fitness level and personality type before choosing this style for your golf tournament fundraiser.

Still unsure which charity golf tournament format is right for your golf outing? See our detailed guide to the most common formats.

Long Drive Competition

What Long Drive Competition means: A long drive competition is an additional contest that can be added to the mix of your golf tournament in which the player with the longest drive will win a prize.

Why Long Drive Competition matters: Not only do extra competitions boost the excitement and desirability of your tournament, but this is also a great opportunity for a “long drive sponsor” integration for your sponsorship packages.

Closest To The Pin Competition

What Closest To The Pin Competition means: A closest to the pin competition is a type of game where golfers tee off towards the green and measure the distance of the ball to the flagstick. The closest measurement of the day wins!

Why Closest To The Pin Competition matters: Similar to above, this is another great opportunity to add more fun to your tournament and boost your potential sponsorship opportunities.

Scoring Terms

Live Scoring golf app for players to keep track of their scores digitallly

Live Scoring

What Live Scoring means: Live Scoring is a digital method of keeping score that allows you to get rid of paper scoring altogether.

Why Live Scoring matters: With Live Scoring, you can let your players input and track scores LIVE on their smartphones, so you can display a leaderboard on your tournament website and on the clubhouse video screens to track the excitement! Learn more about Event Caddy’s Live Scoring module .


What Handicap means: A golf handicap is a numerical measure of a golfer's potential that is used to enable players of varying abilities to compete against one another.

Why Handicap matters: By adding a handicap system to your event, you are essentially leveling the playing field and making your tournament more competitive for players of all abilities. Click here for our guide to handicapping your charity golf tournament.

Gross Score and Net Score

What Gross Score and Net Score means: A golfer’s net score is determined by subtracting the player's handicap from the gross score (the number of strokes actually played in a round).

Why Gross Score and Net Score matters: These terms will come in handy when it comes time to keep score and hand out awards at your tournament, especially if you are adding a handicap system.


What Mulligan means: In golf, a mulligan is a stroke that is replayed from the spot of the previous stroke without penalty.

Why Mulligan matters: The sale of mulligans are one of the most common fundraising tools used at charity golf tournaments in order to bring in some additional revenue!

Breakfast Ball

What Breakfast Ball means: Breakfast Ball is a Mulligan that is used on the first tee.

Why Breakfast Ball matters: Similar to above, Breakfast Balls can be offered for purchase to players as a “second chance” shot so you can bring in more revenue.

General Terms

Golfer putting ball into hole


What Gimme means: A gimme is a shot – typically a putt – that other golfers agree can count automatically without being played. A gimme is a time-saver under the assumption that the following putt would have been successful (e.g. if it’s only a couple of inches from the hole).

Why Gimme matters: Simply put, it’s always a good idea to lay out the rules of the tournament to your players, including how they should approach a gimme scenario. Will you allow gimmes in your tournament, or should they be avoided?


What Fore means: Fore is a word of warning yelled out by a golfer to anyone who is standing or moving in the direction of an incoming ball.

Why Fore matters: This is just a good golf term to keep in mind for your own safety as well as the safety of your players!


What Clubhouse means: The clubhouse is the main building at a golf course typically where your golfers will enter the premises.

Why Clubhouse matters: When organizing your tournament alongside your golf course, this word is sure to come up in conversation, and will likely be included in your arrival instructions with your golfers.

19th Hole

What 19th Hole means: The 19th hole is a slang term for a bar or restaurant on or near the golf course, very often located in the clubhouse itself.

Why 19th Hole matters: Oftentimes, post-tournament dinners and awards ceremonies are held at the 19th hole.

Half-Way House

What Half-Way House means: Found at many golf courses, the half-way house is a “pit-stop” giving golfers the chance to grab something to eat or drink and socialize before finishing their round.

Why Half-Way House matters: Some say that the half-way house can slow down the pace of play in a golf tournament fundraiser. Be sure to discuss with your host golf course what they have found to be the best approach to half-way house instructions for golfers.


What Stroke means: A stroke is the swing of a golf club by a player who is trying to hit the golf ball.

Why Stroke matters: Counting a player’s strokes serves as the score or contributes to the scoring, depending on what type of golf tournament format is being played.

There you have it! We hope these common charity golf tournament terms come in handy as you continue to plan your fundraiser.

Here at Event Caddy, we want to help ensure you are set up for a successful event, so you can give more to the charity that means so much to you!

Should you need any additional support, be sure to connect with one of our Tournament Specialists , or check out how our FREE tournament management software can help you save time, market your tournament and more.