Pingolf Finals Suggestion

I’d like to suggest this for Pingolf finals: players are compared on the same machine, with the best finisher taking 1st, second best taking 2nd, etc., similar to other pinball finals. The exception is that since golf scoring is used, there are more frequent ties, in which case the players split the points in those positions. For example, a group might go 7-4-4-1 on a game.

I think this deals well with two issues I currently see with Pingolf finals:

  • Sometimes, a game in Pingolf is too easy or too hard compared to others. The lower variance of this game makes it a common choice for a group leader who wants to stop anyone from being able to catch up. In general, players tend to pick the games with simpler goals and lower scores.
  • Sometimes, a player can be eliminated from a Pingolf final due to poor performance on one game. A player receiving a 9 or a 10 on a game has a pretty hopeless hill to climb, while it being made equal to a traditional last place makes it tough but not insurmountable.

Ties / extra holes would still be identical to how they are now (“match play” golf style) … basically every hole would be match play instead of medal play.



Seems like a pretty graceful solution to keep the spirit of the playoff format while correcting the current volatility. I’m into it

I feel like this is the design/charm of the format.

Super interesting. Essentially you’re suggesting that we do “Golf Match Play” style scoring (winner determined each hole) as opposed to “Golf Stroke Play” which is how it’s done now (winner determined on scoring aggregate).

I think you can take it one step further to eliminate ties on a specific hole if you assume you’re playing a four-way “Golf Match Play” style event.

In a head-to-head golf match play match, if you tie on a hole, you split the hole and each get 0.5. You can apply the same logic here.

Simple Example:

Person Strokes Result Points
Alice 2 Strokes Beat B(+1), C(+1), D(+1) 3 Points
Bob 3 Strokes Beat C(+1), D(+1) 2 Points
Chad 4 Strokes Beat D(+1) 1 Points
Dan 5 Strokes 0 Points

Example with Ties:

Person Strokes Result Points
Alice 2 Strokes Beat B(+1), C(+1), D(+1) 3 Points
Bob 3 Strokes Tie C(+0.5), Beat D(+1) 1.5 Points
Chad 3 Strokes Tie B(+0.5), Beat D(+1) 1.5 Points
Dan 5 Strokes 0 Points

Basically, ties on a game are OK and you only get a 0.5 point.

I’d be willing to try this for my next Pingolf event.

My guess is that you still need to keep track of Strokes because of the PGM stat. If the winner gets a bunch of 1s it still comes into effect to reduce the value of the round.


This would definitely make me want to play in pin golf more regularly! As it is now I consider it a novelty format, because of the crazy variance.

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I’ve been b*tching about the punitive nature of 9s and 10s for years to deaf ears. This also applies to how people place in playoff pre-final rounds. If one bus driver chooses high-strokes games for their group, the players who don’t advance to the next round almost always end up 15th and 16th vs the losers in a low-strokes games group who finish 9th and 10th. I used to enjoy pingolf when it was 1-5 with 6 for falling short or at worst 6 for 50%+, 7 for less than 50%. Since the switch, I’ve played far less pingolf. Even when it’s Classics.

Oh, that’s an interesting additional wrinkle I had not considered. This change would put all groups on an equal footing, score-wise.

When I run PinGolf events, 85% of the holes are strictly objective based with the other 15% being score based. All holes max out at 6 strokes.

After qualifying ends, top 8 make finals and scores do not carry over. I also don’t allow a bus driver to pick games. My course uses “banks” of 3 holes. The high seed can pick a bank and they will play all 3 holes in that “bank”. Banks can only be chosen once during all of finals.

How would it score if everyone tied?

I like this system too.

Just poking holes for the sake of conversation here…

While this system can keep the scoring gap from getting out of control, it can also create lockout situations that wouldn’t occur within the current system.

Example (7-5-3-1 scoring):

Game 1
P1: 2 strokes - 6pts
P2: 2 strokes - 6pts
P3: 3 strokes - 2pts
P4: 3 strokes - 2pts

Game 2
P1: 2 strokes - 6pts
P2: 2 strokes - 6pts
P3: 3 strokes - 2pts
P4: 3 strokes - 2pts

So after two games we have a 12-12-4-4 situation, which makes game three irrelevant to determine who advances. In current scoring it would be 4-4-6-6 which is a very close match, certainly not a lock in or out for anyone. With how closely all four players performed across in the first two games, I think the latter is a much more accurate measurement going into game three.

Whether or not this type of outcome is good/desirable is pretty subjective and I guess it’s not too different from the common lockouts in PAPA format finals (everyone loves 6-6-1-1, right?), but just feels a bit more unfair to those on the short end.

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Hypothetically, if 2 or more are tied after their 3 hole match, they play a sudden death tiebreaker to determine the winner(s) or to determine who advances out of the group.

No. I meant on each game.

Game one. Everyone gets it in 3 strokes. Under this system, how many points does each person get?

Would 4-2-1-0 scoring help this situation?
Ties would have to be broken each game though, perhaps via score ? So if you get it in 2 you’d still keep playing your ball till you drain for your tie breaker

Each stroke is one point. So after hole 1, everyone would be tied at 3 points.

Nope. If tied points are split like the initial proposal that would just end up as the classic 6-6-1-1 lockout.

Sounds like that could create a lot of extra play that would extend the length of playoffs, especially on modern games.

Seems like Chad was unclear on which system you were asking about…

With the proposed 7-5-3-1 system and point splitting for ties, I see a 4-way tie on a game as being scored 4-4-4-4.


Both of those points are true of regular finals as well, and pin golf you’re still not playing ball 3 if you get it in ball 2 so you’re still saving something

I see now. Thanks!



Infinite goodwill in the community for using a reference to Michael Mann’s 1995 crime epic Heat.

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