How to Play a 'Yellow Ball' Golf Tournament

Yellow golf ball teed up for golfer
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"Yellow Ball" is the name of a popular golf tournament format used by associations, charity and corporate tournaments, or just among several groups of friends. This format is popular enough that it goes by many different names, among them: Money Ball, Devil Ball, Pink Ball, Pink Lady and Lone Ranger. They are all the same game.

In Yellow Ball, golfers play in groups of four, and play a scramble. Of the four golf balls the team members are playing, one of them is yellow. That yellow ball rotates among the team members, changing after each hole. For example, on the first hole Player A hits the yellow ball; on the second hole, Player B plays the yellow ball, and so on, rotating throughout the round.

At the completion of each hole, the scores of two team members are added together to create one team score. One of those scores must be from the player who used the yellow ball. The other score is the low score among the other three team members.

Example: On the third hole, Player A scores 4, B scores 5, C scores 5 and D scores 6. Player C has the yellow ball, so his 5 counts. And Player A has the low score among the other three, so his 4 counts. Five plus four equals 9, so 9 is the team score.

Does the "yellow ball" actually have to be yellow? Of course not, but the ball should be marked in some way to designate it as "the" ball.

There are a couple variations that add to the tension of Yellow Ball. In one, if the player playing the yellow ball loses it, that player is eliminated from the game. The group would continue as a threesome with a new yellow ball. That's pretty harsh, and it can lead to teams dropping out, so we recommend against it (unless the golfers involved in the Yellow Ball tournament are all very good).

Another option is to use the yellow ball as a "bonus" competition. The 4-person teams compete using the two low scores on each hole; but the yellow ball score is kept separately. The team with the lowest yellow ball score wins a bonus prize, while the team's standard scramble score determines the tournament winner.

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Also Known As: Pink Ball, Money Ball, Pink Lady, Lone Ranger, Devil Ball