How to Play the Arizona Shuffle Golf Format

4 golfers playing Arizona Shuffle tournament
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"Arizona Shuffle" is the name of a golf tournament format in which a different number of team members' scores are counted on each hole. An Arizona Shuffle tournament will feature:

  1. A team format, with 3- or 4-person teams;
  2. Each golfer plays his or her own ball throughout;
  3. Stroke play (often using Stableford system scoring);
  4. A different number of team members' scores are used on each hole.

No. 4 is where you'll find the most variance in the format depending on where Arizona Shuffle is being played.

Let's explain some of the different ways to score Arizona Shuffle and give some examples.

Different Versions of Arizona Shuffle

All Arizona Shuffle tournaments have three things in common: They are 3- or 4-person team events, golfers play their own balls throughout and the tournament is stroke play (often with Stableford scoring).

Each golfer on the team tees off and plays his or her ball into the hole. Team members then compare scores and - depending on the rules you've been given by the tournament director - decide which scores count. That might be the one best score among team members, or any other combination of two, three or even all four scores.

It's No. 4 above - the number of player scores counted on each hole - where there is variance depending on who is running the tournament. Here are three common ways to play Arizona Shuffle that we've come across:

Version 1

  • On par-3 holes, the one best score among team members counts as the team score;
  • on par-4 holes, the two best scores are combined for the team score;
  • on par-5 holes, the three best scores are combined for the team score.

Version 2
Basically the opposite of Version 1:

  • On par-3s, use three best scores
  • on par-4s, use two best scores
  • on par-5s, use the single best score as the team score.

    Version 3
    We've also seen Arizona Shuffle played with 4-person teams in which:

    • all four scores are counted on par-3 holes;
    • the three best scores are counted on par-4s;
    • and two best scores are counted on par-5s.

    So let's say you're playing Version 1 and come to a par-4 hole. The players on your team score 4, 6, 7 and 8, respectively. The two best scores are 4 and 6. Combine those two for a 10, and that's the team score for that hole.

    Note that "Arizona Shuffle" is sometimes shortened to just "Arizona." If you see an announcement for an "Arizona tournament," it is probably Arizona Shuffle that is being played.

    Arizona Shuffle Is Played By ...

    You're most likely to encounter the Arizona Shuffle format if you register to play in a company outing or charity tournament that randomly groups golfers together (or allows groups to register as complete teams). Club and association events and golf leagues also use this or similar formats. The basic element of Arizona Shuffle (multiple scores counted on each hole) is pretty common in such tournaments.

    Arizona Shuffle Is Similar To ...

    As noted, the same basic idea - using a different number of team member's scores on each hole - behind Arizona Shuffle is common in many other golf formats, too.

    Here are several similar formats:

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    Your Citation
    Kelley, Brent. "How to Play the Arizona Shuffle Golf Format." ThoughtCo, Oct. 2, 2015, Kelley, Brent. (2015, October 2). How to Play the Arizona Shuffle Golf Format. Retrieved from Kelley, Brent. "How to Play the Arizona Shuffle Golf Format." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 24, 2017).