Activities Sports & Athletics How to Play a Flags Tournament in Golf This Format Is Also Called Last Man Standing or Tombstone Share PINTEREST Email Print Aksonov / Getty Images Sports & Athletics Golf Basics History Gear Golf Courses Famous Golfers Golf Tournaments Baseball Basketball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Brent Kelley Brent Kelley is an award-winning sports journalist and golf expert with over 30 years in print and online journalism. our editorial process Brent Kelley Updated July 04, 2019 A "flags tournament" — also commonly called a "flag competition" or known by the names Last Man Standing or Tombstone — is a competition format in which golfers begin the round of golf with an allotment of strokes, then play the golf course until those strokes run out. The game gets its name from the fact that little flags are usually given to competitors before the round. The golfers stick those flags in the ground at the point from which their final shot is played. How the Flags Tournament Winner is Selected The golfer who stakes his flag the farthest around the course is the winner. Here's an example: Let's say your allotment is 75 strokes. You play the golf course until you hit your 75th shot, which, let's say, comes on the 16th fairway. That's where you plant your flag, from the place you played your final stroke. If no other player's flag is planted beyond yours (say, on the 16th green or 17th tee box) you are the winner. Determining the Stroke Allotment in Flags Flags can be played using full handicaps or partial handicaps to determine the stroke allotment. In a tournament using full handicaps, a golfer playing a par-72 golf course and who has a course handicap of 14, for example, receives 86 strokes (72 for the course's par rating plus 14 for the golfer's handicap) as his tournament allotment. Using full handicaps often means that several golfers will reach the end of 18 holes with strokes left to use. In that event, those golfers would go back to the No. 1 hole and keep playing. Alternately, all players with strokes remaining can stop after the 18th hole and the golfer with the most strokes remaining is declared the winner. To avoid the circumstance of multiple golfers reaching the end of the golf course with strokes remaining, tournament organizers can consider using partial handicaps — three-fourths or two-thirds are the most common. What happens if, for example, three golfers all make it to the 17th fairway for the final stroke? In such a Flags Tournament "tie," closest to the hole wins. If those three final strokes from the 17th fairway were played from 145, 153 and 161 yards into the green, respectively, the golfer who played from 145 was closest.