In a round of skins – also referred as a skins game – golfers will compete against the other members of a foursome. The golfer who has won the highest number of holes – which are called skins – is declared the winner.
Each golfer hits his own ball throughout the round but after each hole scores are compared. If one of the scores is lower than all others then that player is awarded 1 skin and the golfers proceed likewise to the next hole until the end of the round. In case of a tie, no skin is awarded for that hole and again the players proceed to the next hole. The unclaimed skin however is carried over to the next hole, whose value rises by 1 to become worth 2 skins and so on.
How to win:
The golfer who has managed to accumulate the most skins during the round is declared the winner.
No Carry-Over: In cases where holes end in a tie, a version of the skins game calls for no carry overs, meaning that the skin is not moved to the next hole but instead will remain unclaimed.
Varying values for skins: In another variation of the basic skins game, values can be attributed to the skins of each individual holes. For instance, some games attribute more value to skins won on hole in the back-9. For example, holes #1 to #9 could be worth 10 points per skin whereas holes #10 to #18 could be worth 20 points each. The winner of that match will be the one who has accumulated the most points, and not necessarily the most holes. This can lead to particularly entertaining end of rounds as golfers who are trailing can still close the gap mathematically.
Skins are often used when golfers want to play their own balls but yet want to compete with the other members of the foursome. It provides a twist on the typical ‘lowest score’ wins format that is normally associated with a round in medal play.