What Is A Dog Fight In Golf?

Dog fights in golf are a little different than the ones you’ve heard about from world war two. That being said this golf game can result in some sweaty hands if money is on the line.

A dog fight in golf refers to a league or event that is typically played over nine holes. This game gives you a quota based on your handicap or previous scores. Golfers will then accumulate a score using Stableford scoring in order to reach their quota. The golfer that beats their quota by the largest margin wins the game.

This article is going to break down all the rules you need to know to play in a golf dog fight. I will also cover the Stableford scoring method and how this will be applied to this golf format.

Setting Up Your Quota For A Golf Dog Fight

In order to play a golf dog fight you are going to need to set up a quota. If you are playing in an event they will likely set up this quota for you once they have all the required information.

There are multiple ways in which you can set up a quota for a golf dogfight. The most common way to do this is based on your handicap. You can use your handicap to calculate your quota before the round.

Here is an example of how you could base your quota on a handicap

2 or less19
3 – 418
5 – 617
7 – 816
9 – 1015
11 – 1214
13 – 1413
15 – 1612
17 – 1811
19 – 2010
21 – 229
23 – 248
25 – 267
27 – 286
29 – 305
31 – 324
33 – 343
35 – 362
37 – 381
39 – 400

As you can see the lower your handicap the higher your quota is going to be. This allows you to even out the playing field effectively.

The other way to determine a quota is based on past performance. If you’re hosting a men’s night or are playing dogfight throughout the season it is common to use your scores from previous rounds to determine your quota.

This could be done by using your score from the last round or a rolling season average.

Scoring In A Golf Dog Fight

Us dollar banknotes and golf equipments lying  on a golf score card

Scoring a golf dogfight is typically the area that gives golfers the most trouble. This is because to win a golf dogfight you want to score the most points possible as opposed to the fewest.

This is the opposite of traditional golf scoring which is why many golfers find this scoring system a little unusual.

The score of a dog fight is most commonly calculated using the Stableford method. This method among others can be seen in the chart below.

Standard StablefordModified StablefordSchoolforsports.com scoring
Double Eagle5810
Double Bogey0-3-1
Triple Bogey0-3-2
Quadruple Bogey0-3-3

This table shows you standard stableford scoring as well as modified and a custom example in the third column.

The third column illustrates a custom scoring option that can be used if you choose. At the end of the day, dogfight is a game played for fun so if you have a specific scoring system you want to use then you can change it at will.

Whatever scoring system you choose you will receive points that get you closer to your quota throughout your round. Once the round is complete the golfer who scored the most points over their quota wins.

Or in some cases, if no one reached their quota it is the golfer who got the closest wins.


The payouts for a dogfight are usually spread amongst the top-performing golfers.

If you are only paying in a foursome you will likely give all the money to the winner. If it is a larger event like men’s night then the winnings will be spread out amongst several golfers.

For dog fights on men’s night it is also common to include side bets such as closest to the pin or longest drive.

Closing Thoughts

We hope this article has given you a full understanding of what a dogfight is in golf. If you have any questions regarding this golf game please reach out via our contact page or in the comments below.

Remember dog fights in golf require you to create a quota which is usually based on your handicap. You will then use the Stableford scoring to beat your quota by the largest number of points.

If you enjoyed learning about dog fight golf format see our guides to the waltz golf format or learn how to play the flags golf game.

Leave a Comment