How to Play the Round Robin Golf Format

Group of four golfers at a charity tournament
A round robin is a golf format for groups of four golfers, who rotate partners in a series of 2-vs.-2 matches. Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty Images

Round Robin is the name of a golf format for a group of four golfers, who pair off for 2-vs.-2 matches in which partners change every six holes. That way, each member of the quartet partners each other golfer in the quartet for one of those matches. And an 18-hole round includes three different partnerships and three matches for each golfer.

Round Robin is known by several other names, among the most common being Sixes and Hollywood.

Note that there is another format called 3 In 1, in which the partners stay the same throughout but the format changes every six holes. In Round Robin, the format usually stays the same throughout while it is the partners who rotate.

How Partners Rotate in Round Robin

To re-state it, in Round Robin, three 6-hole matches are played, 2-vs.-2. The catch is that the players change partners after each 6-hole match so that each player in the group partners every other player in the group.

Let's label our four golfers A, B, C and D. Here's how Round Robin rotation works:

  • On Holes 1-6, A and B partner against C and D;
  • For holes 7-13, A and C partner against B and D;
  • On holes 13-18, A and D partner against B and C.

Selecting the first Round Robin Partnerships

How do members of your group of four golfers decide who partners whom for the first match? Do it by agreement, or do it completely at random. For random draws, you can mark four pieces of paper A, B, C and D and draw them from a cap, then start out A/B vs. C/D.

Or get a golf ball from each of the four golfers and toss them in the air; the two golfers whose balls stop closest to each other form one side for the first match.

Different Ways to Play/Bet Round Robin Format

Round Robins most commonly use variations on fourball as the method of play: Each golfer plays his or her own ball throughout.

Play it either as stroke play (one low ball per side, or combine both golfers' scores for a team score) or as match play (one low ball per side). But you can use any competitive format you like that works for a 2-vs.-2 match.

If your group wants to wager on a Round Robin, there are two ways to do that:

  • Each 6-hole match represents a separate wager, and your goal is to be on the winning side in at least two of those three matches.
  • Or, in match play, award one point to each golfer on the team that wins a hole, then pay out he difference in points at the end of the match.

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