Disc Golf Skins Match: What Is It, and How Do You Play?

I’ve commonly heard of a variation of disc golf called a skins match. If you search for disc golf skin matches you can find plenty of videos of pros playing for skins. But, how is a skins match played?

A skins match is disc golf played with a little twist and some added money too. But you’ll have to understand how a disc golf skins match is played and what the rules are before jumping in yourself.

What is Disc Golf Skins?

Disc golf skins is a variation of typical disc golf played with 4-6 players. Each player contributes money, then each hole is given a predetermined dollar value. The lowest score for each hole wins the “skin”. After the completion of all the holes, the money is then distributed to each player depending on the number of skins won.

In this article, I’ll explain the rules for a disc golf skins game and how to play skins for beginners.

Bags of money

Why Is It Called a Skins Match?

There is no definitive explanation or answer to the origin of the name “skins”. The game itself originated with ball golf and became popularized in the 1980s.

According to the USGA, skins probably originated as a shorthand name for a game called “syndicates” that was popular in the 1950s.

There are other variations of syndicates too, ‘scats’, ‘cats’, and ‘skats’ are all similar names for games that are very much like skins.

As with many things in disc golf, the game was borrowed from ball golf and adapted to be played on a disc golf course.

With disc golf being so similar in play to ball golf, it’s no surprise that the crossover to disc golf has taken place.

What Are the Rules For a Disc Skins Match?

  1. You can play a skins match with any number of players. Most groups range from 4 to 6 players.
  2. Each hole is assigned a dollar amount before the start of the match. This is called a skin.
  3. The lowest score for each hole wins the skins for that hole.
  4. If there is a tie, or a push, on a hole, those skins are carried over to the next hole.
  5. If there are multiple ties, those cumulative skins continue to carry to the next hole.
  6. If there is a tie on the final hole of the round. The tieing players will have a sudden-death playoff.
  7. The winner is the player with the most skins and not the player with the lowest overall score.

Here’s How to Play a Disc Golf Skins Match

1. Get Together a Group of Players

You can choose any size group to play skins with, but generally, a small to a medium-size group of 4 to 6 players is the best for playing a skins match.

If you’re participating in a skins match you’ll have to be willing to chip in something of value as a skin. Most commonly this is money.

2. Determine How Much Each Hole is Worth

Your group will need to chip in money to a purse, then divide that money between the number of holes on the course.

Each hole should be assigned a dollar amount. For example, if you have a group of 6 players and each player throws in $3 to a pot, then each hole will be worth $1 on an 18-hole course.

3. The Hole Following a Push is a Bonus

The most important part of a skins match is the rule that allows for the skins to be carried over to the next hole in the event of a tie.

This is important because, even though you might not have won many skins, winning a hole that has multiple skins carried over can get you right back in the game.

4. Focus On Winning the Hole, Not the Round

In a skins disc golf game, the focus should be on winning each hole, and not playing to win the round.

In a normal disc golf competition, players will sometimes try to make up lost strokes on future holes so they can still come out on top at the end of the round.

This isn’t always true for a skins game. You can win the most skins without having the lowest score for the round.

5. You Don’t Always Have to Finish the Hole

If a player throws a low score and you’re not going to get to the basket in the same amount of throws, there is no sense in finishing the hole. You’ve already lost the skins or the chance to tie.

Of course, you can always finish out the hole for extra practice, but it won’t matter in the final score.

This can make a game of skins move a round along much quicker than normal too.

6. Create an Ace Bonus

You can get creative in the way you divide up the pot for each hole. If someone in your group hits an ace on a hole, maybe you throw in a bonus amount for that accomplishment.

Adding little incentives or extra skins along the way can make the game even more exciting and fun.

How to Score a Disc Golf Skins Game

Below is a sample scorecard from a disc golf skins game. Each hole is assigned a dollar value of $1.

If the hole results in a push (a tie) the skins are carried over to the next hole. The skins will continue to be carried over until there is a winner.

The player that wins any hole following a push will collect all the skins.

Hole NumberDollar ValuePlayer 1Player 2Player 3Player 4Winner
1$12334Player 1
4$33442Player 4
5$14324Player 3
7$23332Player 4
8$13243Player 2
9$12345Player 1

As you can see from the sample scorecard above holes 2 and 3 were a push. This makes hole 4 a very important win for player 4. Winning hole 4 meant player 4 won 3 skins total because of the two ties before.

This is what can make skins an exciting way to play disc golf. Even if you’re not playing your best, winning a single hole can turn everything around.

So, how did the final score come out?

Who Wins the Skins Match?

  • Player 1: Winner of 2 skins
  • Player 2: Winner of 1 skin
  • Player 3: Winner of 1 skin
  • Player 4: Winner of 5 skins

Player 4 won the most skins and wins the match. But, if you add up the total scores for everyone, player 4 had the worst round of them all!

By winning holes 4 and 7, player 4 was able to win the most skins even though overall this person played the worst of all the players over the 9-hole course.

The point of this sample scorecard is to show that you don’t have to be the best player in the group, you just have to play well on certain holes to take home the most money.

Can a Skins Match Be Played Without Money?

If you’re not necessarily the gambling type or don’t like the idea of putting up money to play disc golf this way, there are other ways to create an incentive to play without the use of money.

Here are some other ideas to use:

  • Win Points Instead: Instead of assigning a dollar value to each hole, assign points as skins.
  • Play For Beers: Some people like to drink beers while they play disc golf. Use beers as a skin instead.
  • Throw in Discs: Try having each player throw a disc in for the winner of the skins match. The player with the most skins wins the bag of discs.

Summary | What is Disc Golf Skins

Disc golf skins are a great way to throw a fun curveball into your regular round play every now and then and make things interesting.

The best thing about disc golf skins is that the best overall player might not always end up as the winner. The focus is to win holes.

With how skins carry over with a tie, some holes are going to carry more weight than the rest. This is what can make disc golf skins very fun for everyone.


Hi, my name is Marty. Sporting Disc is dedicated to delivering actionable tips and information when it comes to enjoying any disc sport. Whether it's disc golf, ultimate frisbee, or any other disc sport, I want to help anyone get out there and take their game further.

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