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Chapman System: How to Play the Golf Format


Male golfer hitting ball
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"Chapman System" is the name of a 2-person team competition format named after Dick Chapman, a great amateur golfer who played The Masters 19 times, from the 1930s into the 1960s. He "invented" the game at Pinehurst Resort, hence it is alternately called Chapman or Pinehurst. And, for good measure, it is less frequently referred to as American Foursomes.

In the Chapman System, both players on a side tee off, then they switch balls. Player A plays Player B's drive, and vice-versa. Each player hits his or her second shot. They then select the best of the second shots, and from that point until the ball is holed they play only one ball in an alternate shot format. Got it?

Switch balls after the drive, select the one best ball after the second shot, play alternate shot until the ball is holed. The player whose second ball was not chosen gets to play the third shot (so teams might sometimes choose the best ball after two shots based on who will get to hit the third).

Chapman (or Pinehurst, or American Foursomes, or whatever you want to call it) can be played as stroke play or match play.

If playing your team against my team with all four players of equal abilities, play it at scratch. But it's a great game for twosomes of varying abilities, or husbands and wives.

Handicap allowances for Chapman System competitions can be found in the USGA Handicap Manual, Section 9-4 (www.usga.com).

Video: Watch a demonstration of Chapman System play

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What Is the Chapman System?
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