How to Handle Elimination Rounds

May 31, 2024
Posted by Megan Doherty

Whether you’re a seasoned golf tournament organizer or just starting out, the idea of a putting contest is likely on your mind.  Maybe you’re even planning on adding one to your hole-in-one policy for $75. These classic long putts, also known as single putts, are designed for a single participant. But how do you select that one lucky contestant?

There are endless ways to choose your putter. Some organizers choose to give the chance away as a door prize or raffle the opportunity. Still others use it as an award for closest-to-the-pin contests, longest-drive contests, or even best overall scorecard of the day. Many people choose to get everyone involved by having elimination or qualifying contests, but this method comes with some caveats. Here is how to host an elimination/qualifying round without breaking the rules.

Elimination/Qualifying Rounds

First, the qualifying rounds must be on a different hole. If you are using the practice green, you can aim for a different cup on the green in order to avoid any issues. The purpose of this rule is to prevent golfers from reading the green. 

*If you’re using multiple holes on the practice green and worried about people getting confused, I recommend covering the final prize hole with a towel.


Once you’ve established your elimination hole(s), and your final prize putt hole, it’s time to set the distances. The rules for the putting contest state that the elimination round putts “cannot exceed 50% of the length of the Prize Putt in length”. That means if your final prize putt is 60 feet, elimination rounds can be held from 30 feet or closer (29ft, 28ft, 27ft, etc.). I recommend leaving yourself some wiggle room for multiple rounds in case your golfers are better than you think.

Ex 1. Final Prize Putt =50ft. Elimination Rounds at 10ft, 20ft, and 25ft as your tie breaker.

Ex 2. Final Prize Putt = 60ft. Elimination Rounds at 15ft, 25ft, and 30ft as your tie breaker.

Lastly, don’t forget to film the final putt. Only the final putt needs to be measured and taken on film (a good camera phone will do). If none of your players make it through the elimination rounds (or too many), you can always do a drawing, use the person with the best scorecard, or even flip a coin. 

An Alternative Option

Still unsure? You can always switch to a progressive putting contest. Progressive Putting Contests (A hole-in-one from 10ft,30ft, & 50ft) are designed to have built in elimination rounds. That way there is no guesswork and you know all of your golfers are covered from start to finish!


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