How to Play a Pink Lady Tournament in Golf

ADT Championship - Final Round
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"Pink Lady" is the name of a popular golf tournament format, although it's not necessarily the most common name for the format: This tournament goes by many other names, including Money Ball, Devil Ball, Lone Ranger, Pink Ball and Yellow Ball. No matter what you call it, it's a tournament played by teams of four golfers. On each hole, one designated player among those four must contribute to the team score.

Pink Lady Basics

In a Pink Lady tournament, teams are comprised of four golfers. On each hole, one of those four golfers plays a pink golf ball (hence the name Pink Lady). The golfers tee off and play best-ball format, and on each hole two of the golfers' scores are combined for the team score. One of the scores used is the low score among the three golfers using their regular golf balls; the other score used is the score of the golfer who played the pink golf ball on that hole.

So on each hole, the golfer with the pink ball — who is referred to as "the Pink Lady" — is under a lot of pressure to come through for the team.

(Must the golfers actually use a pink golf ball? No — the designated player whose score must count on each hole can use a golf ball designated in any way. Or just his or her regular ball, so long as the team abides by the rotation. But if the tournament is named a Pink Lady Tournament, it is likely that pink golf balls will actually be in use.)

As noted, that ball rotates among the four players in the group. For example, Player A uses it on the first hole, B on the second, C on the third, D on the fourth, then back to A on the fifth and so on.

Variations for a Pink Lady Tournament

There are a couple variations that add to the tension of the game. In one, if the player playing the pink ball loses it, that player is eliminated from the game. The group would continue as a threesome with a new Pink Lady ball (harsh, and not recommended for high-handicap teams).

More commonly, a Pink Lady Tournament serves as a "bonus" competition. The 4-person teams compete using the two low scores on each hole, or the Pink Lady is used only on designated holes (par 3s and par 5s, for example). The Pink Lady score is kept separately. The team with the lowest Pink Lady score wins a bonus prize.